cover image Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea

Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea

Seth Godin. Portfolio, $19.95 (239pp) ISBN 978-1-59184-041-1

A slapdash mix of insight, jargon, common sense, inspiration and hooey, Godin's follow up to last year's Purple Cow argues that the way to make any product a bestseller is to couple it with""a feature that the consumer might be attracted to"" whether or not she really needs it or wants it.""If it satisfies consumers and gets them to tell other people what you want them to tell other people, it's not a gimmick,"" he argues.""It's a soft innovation."" An entrepreneur, lecturer and monthly columnist for Fast Company, Godin knows his business history, and his book bursts with interesting case studies that define""free prize"" thinking: e.g. Apple's iPod, Chef Boyardee's prehistoric pasta, AOL's free installation CDs. One of the problems with the book, however, is that its insistent use of needless jargon (""free prize,""""purple cow,""""edgecraft"") clouds complicated issues and lumps dissimilar processes together.""Fix what's broken,"" Godin advocates on one page.""Inflame the passionate,"" he declares on another. Both of these ideas could certainly lead to business improvements, but they hardly use the same methods. Like Godin's last book, this volume reads like a sugar rush--fast and sweet--and this may propel the author back onto the bestseller lists. To help jumpstart his sales, Portfolio will be packaging the first few thousand copies of the book inside cereal boxes. Now that's quite a gimmick--er, soft innovation.