Results for tag "marketing"

Using Psychology To Make the Best Fantasy Baseball Trades

I’ve been reading a lot lately about psychology and the way people respond to things. Anyone who knows me will tell you I spend wayyyyyy too much time figuring out why people do the things they do…and way too much time over analyzing things I should probably just leave alone. For example, I talked to a hibachi chef Friday night for an hour about how Lancaster Countians act differently then people anywhere else in the country (We both agreed to this point, and I’ve heard it from others). This kind of thinking has its pros and its cons – but it does provide a framework for describing why things go down the way they do most of the time.

Of course I’m rocking several fantasy baseball leagues – The big, longterm 16-team, 8×8 Roto Inglorious Bastardos, The 12 Team TFP Just for Fun 8×8 Roto You Dickey!, the a Weekly head to head 12 team full of people I don’t know, who don’t trade, and who I beat every year…not gonna’ lie. I’ve been playing in leagues for over 6 years now and I dig it..I think it actually makes me a bigger baseball fan and, believe or not, better at my real world job.

Trading, in my opinion, is the most important thing you can do to improve your team, and the single most enjoyable part of fantasy sports. Everything, from the offer created, to the evaluation, to the veto process is a lesson in psychology. Some of them are logical, some are them are completely irrational, but, just knowing a little basic psychology can help you pull off the ultimate value adds for your team. The info below is based on actual experience as well as some real research – not done for simply the purposes of fantasy of course…:O. The idea for the post comes from an ongoing text discussion with my buddy Matt Horn on how individual fantasy owners act the same way, year over year.  Leads to articles like this.

I just got done reading the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by David Kahneman. He started the field of Behavioral Economics and shared a Nobel Prize for his work. One of his primary theories is that decision making takes place in two distinct ways. System 1 decisions are sometimes referred to as ‘spur of the moment’, and many of them happen automatically, quickly and subconsciously. This part of the decision making process is biased by information readily on hand – and, surprisingly enough gets used over 90% of the time when people make decisions. The other side of this is System 2 thought which is slower, analytical and more logical (maybe I need to trust System 1 more?). So, you ask yourself – how do I make the acceptance of this trade happen on a System 1 decision? How do I make accepting my trade more of an impulse, than something calculated and analyzed up one side and down the other? Here is the secret –

Play to Irrational Biases of Other Owners

You know you’ve done it – you just never knew the fact that it works is based in science. Irrational biases show up in tons of places, but every league can rely on at least a few constants, and I would argue that even the most ‘advanced’ fantasy owner will succumb to overvaluing guys for one reason or another. Here are a quick 20 trading strategies that play off the irrational biases of others. Most of these I’ve encountered and used over the years, and all of them are based on some sort of psychological logic. The greatest moves come when you combine more than one in a single trade.

1. Trading Partner’s Favorite Real Life Team’s Players. Easiest one in the book. Kahneman suggests a concept called What You See Is All There Is (WYSIATI)..which basically states that people have an irrational bias towards the things they see themselves. Makes pretty good sense.

2. Team that has games on owner’s local cable station. Again, WYSIATI. If they see Rollins go 5-5, that increases the odds that they’ll trade for him…before they realize that it’s Rollins and he stinks now..

3. Highly publicized player – Good or bad (even the bad ones will be fresh in their mind). Works great with prospects, another example of WYSIATI

4. Cool name Literally. Giancarlo Stanton just increased his changes of being irrationally traded for by simply changing his name from Mike. I think this is totally just because everyone has considered at one point or another, changing or improving there name. I am irrational about the name Clint (which actually happens to be my Pap’s name). I’ve never met an uncool Clint.

5. Guy who’s great in some obscure stat someone is pumped they look at and you don’t. Don’t have to be a rocket scientist here. Fantasy is all about maximizing value – based on the way I look at a player,if I think he’s better than the player I’m offering you, I’m all about it. It’s just up to you to know what your opponent likes to use. Plus every fantasy owner likes to think they got one up on another.

6. Aces. Chicks dig the long ball – but fantasy owners dig the pitching strikeout. Seriously. I’m convinced that it’s just because ‘Slugger’ doesn’t sound as cool as ‘Ace’..but aces are always overvalued.Ace

7. Urgency – Works mainly for roto leagues..but I’ve made some ridiculous trades because someone’s 2B just went on the 15 day. This speaks to a psychological concept called loss aversion – people tend to fear loss more than they appreciate gain.

8. Compliments – Every owner is an egomaniac when it comes to his team and his strategy. Tell them they’re doing good in the comments section of the trade, tell them you thought grabbing Bryce Harper and stashing him was a sweet move. Just like with anybody, they’ll be pumped someone is actually paying attention and that someone finally recognizes their genius. That’s relationships 101 baby!

9. Have a Trade Pending With Somebody Else – One of the quickest things people ask themselves when they receive a trade is ‘is this guy trying to screw me with some junk offer?’ By already having a trade going with someone else, they know you’re at least capable of executing a fair trade and that alleviates this fear a little, and plays into everybody’s irrational need to do what everyone else is doing. Use it!

10. Have a Good Reputation – Kinda plays into the one above, as well as every relationship you’ve ever tried to make in your life. Bottomline – if you were a scumbag to somebody else – calling them out, offering them crap deals, saying dumb stuff on the message board – it lowers your credibility as well as your chances of making deals/relationships in the future. People talk.

11. Trade for the extra player or provide a replacement – This is the one that happens to me all the time. I play in a 16 team league. Why am I going to trade you Troy Tulowitski for Robinson Cano? I have no backup SS, and none are available? It would also leave me with an extra 2B. I’m human; I fear loss more than I support gain. Instead, try to grab my 4th outfielder for an upgrade or add on pitcher. You’re not leaving me holes and I considered that guy trade bait anyway. Loss Aversion.

12. Don’t make them drop guys to make it happen – Remember, I’m an egomaniac and I think my team is great and my strategy is better than yours. Even though I like your deal, why would I want to dump a guy I like so someone else can pick him up later basically for free? Instead, offer me an even up deal personnel-wise..I’m much more likely to include a guy in a trade for slightly less value, then to dump him and lose the ability to gain something. More Loss Aversion. Fear Loss more than like gain!

13. Be Visible – Related to reputation, but it’s another play off of WYSIATI. Look visible, look interested. Make add drops, post on message boards. Text people about trades. If you have a good reputation, let people experience it..don’t keep it quiet…and the trades get easier.

14. Trade Them the Guys They Had Last Year – A bunch of things going on here. They’re familiar with the guys’ stats, they were into them enough to keep them last season, AND, you recognized that so that plays to the whole ego trip thing. I’ve seen this happen MANY, MANY times.

15. Hometown Favorite – Just like 14, jump on board the big name who reluctantly got traded to some other real-life team. They’re definitely going to be more educated about the guy than most people. How many times has a baseball fan told you…we loved (insert name) when he played here..but he went where the money is. Cater to that bummed-outed-ness…

16. Encourage Someone Else To Ride the Hot Streak – There are a ton of reasons why this works. WYSIATI is definitely in play. Kahneman also believes people generally underestimate chance, instead preferring to assume what they see will continue to happen in the future. Plays great to the owner who just watched the breakout game the night before too. Works great when an interleague matchup is dominated by a mediocre American league pitcher against a pidly National League one….for example…

17. Trade With the Guy Who Got the Better Side of an Earlier Deal – Cockiness plays hard and any male-dominated competition is overflowing with it. If the owner is on cloud 9 over the Clayton Kershaw for Rafael Betencourt deal they just made – hit them up with a deal you like ASAP. Risk aversion will be overcome with the feeling of the surplus they just hauled in. Make it happen now!

18. Trade the Guy Who Got the Worse Part of an Earlier Deal – Kahneman calls it Sunk-Cost…or the tendency of someone who has made a bad move to continue making them to try and outweigh a sense of regret. So go for it – target the owner who traded Josh Hamilton for Albert Pujols…he’ll be looking for an upswing.

19. Explain Yourself – Literally..the only true enabler of System 1 thought. If the owner knows your intentions right from the get-go..on how you value the guys you’re offering and asking for…that’s one step closer to making a snap judgement on the trade. Tell them – “I really need steals and you’re down holds, so  I think Balfour for Bonifacio works for both of us.” helps him better understand how you think for future deals. Excellent!

20. Frame Your Words Carefully – Kahneman discusses a concept called Framing whereby people respond differently to the same concepts depending on how they’re presented. His example is, are you more likely to have a surgery where you have a 90% survival rate…or one with a 10% mortality rate? Most people say the prior. When you’re explaining your trade offer…use the most positively correlated messaging you can to explain the trade…it may affect the outcome.

Remember when Nintendo was relevant?

Matt Riggleman 5 Comments

Recently,Nintendo has been in the news, first, for their latest foray into the gaming arena, the Wii U .. and 2nd because they posted their first loss. I want to be excited. I grew up with Nintendo. I feel like I knew who  Mario was before I could walk. I’ve been playing video games since I was 3, and I played Nintendo first. Now at 29, (sigh…) I want to get excited about the new P.U…I mean..Wii U…but I can’t…and though I’m quick to say it’s because I’m getting older..I just don’t think that’s what it is.

As a marketer, I look for ways to spin things in a way that presents them in a unique fashion, to the audience I’m trying to impress. Nintendo was the master of this. Beginning in 1985, they offered the first video game system to truly become ubiquitous. There were literally 1000s of titles (Check this out..and they don’t even claim to have the entire list). Every kid that was born in the 80s has at least one original theory on how to get their NES to play. Personally I preferred hitting the cartridge on the floor a few times, then hitting the reset button 3 times. Mario, and Link to an extent became cultural icons. Then came the Gameboy and SNES..further spreading Nintendo’s brand and carving (the first) niche into portable gaming. Nintendo then reached a point where their brand was so strong, people like me bought their latest systems just because they were available. But what did they do that was so special?

Nintendo understood before anyone else the value of gameplay and game mechanics 

Nintendo got this. Immediately. And it worked for a very long time. They knew that if they could reward you…and this is the key part…quickly….and would enjoy the game and continue to play it. More importantly, this worked for EVERYONE…not just hardcore gamers. Think about it. It felt great to jump the flag pole in Mario 1…and you got to do that in EVERY level. Everything action created a reaction and a reward – the sound that was produced when you crushed a goomba…the sound when you grabbed a fire flower…and that just made you strive for more. Actually beating the game was just icing on the cake. Now, compare this to Sonic the Hedgehog..which represented the first challenge to Nintendo’s dominance. You collected rings..freed small animals, and spun a sign at the end of each board. The small rewards just aren’t there. It’s just not the same…and Sega eventually sold to Nintendo.

Each action was its own reward..and like rats..we continued to hit the feeder button.

Eventually the Xbox and Playstation came along to challenge Nintendo’s dominance. The Xbox has traditionally been niche marketed to the more advanced gamer. Their games require a greater amount of control, feature greater graphics, a higher price tag, and a general perception that they’re just a little too involved for the casual gamer. The Playstation was a great system but suffers the same fault…they just weathered it for awhile because they attracted a lot of great games because it was so cheap to produce a CD rather than a cartridge. Both great systems, but they never (and won’t ever) mobilize the world.

Nintendo launched the original Wii in 2006 and they sold a buttload. The unique motion controller gave the casual gamer a new, original way to play games..and living rooms around the world welcomed a Wii console. Moms became energized to get them..they were popping up in old folks homes..and this was unique even for Nintendo. They had truly created a system that EVERYONE could enjoy..and this  was the pinnacle of over 20 years of work.

But then something happened.

Like cheap Chinese knockoffs, companies began to understand that it wasn’t about the graphics..or content…it was only about the reward..and…to a lesser extent…the ability to rub that reward in your friends’ faces. And, as Nintendo understood, this combo works for EVERYONE, not just already established gamers. Just check out this story on the now-famous cow-clicker game on Facebook.

This theivery of Nintendo’s “secret sauce”… coincidentally coincided with the Wi-fi boom and the launch of those little Gameboy killers – Smartphones.

Companies like Apple & Facebook began to make it simple for game designers to crank out quick, low cost games that could be distributed fast & cheaply to a growing market of smartphone (and now tablet) owners & social networks.

To add insult to injury..all of those kids that grew up with the “hit the feeder button” mentality that Nintendo bred into us..were now old enough to buy these devices..and we are because the quick reward mentality is bred into us.

Why the Wii U Will Be the First Nintendo System since Virtual Boy to Flop

Because it’s going to target a niche market with features that don’t matter or already exist and are too advanced for the casual owner. Just take a look at the features –

1080P – It’s totally cool if your TV has it..but the masses don’t care. Facebook & Smartphones have proven this. And, Nintendo agreed, until now (no system has gone over 720P res).

TouchScreen Controller – I already have an Ipad2 and touchscreen is awesome..but how does this spell unique gaming experience?

You Can Write on it – Nice, but why would my Mom buy this?

Different information on the controller than the TV – Again, sounds kinda cool, but it’s a little too much going on for the casual gamer.

It doesn’t appear to be tied to social networks – Maybe it is and I haven’t seen it yet..but EVERYBODY wants to share EVERYTHING now. A lot of the preview videos discuss how this  system will offer a “new unique” experience. Yeah..pretty sure people like to share those these days.

Where does Nintendo go from here?

License their content to smartphones, streaming services etc. en masse – For the masses, it’s no longer about the’s about the message (Thank you Marshall Mccluhen). They want their games wherever they are first and foremost..even if that means sacrificing graphics. Plus, all of we Nintendo fanboys are older now…we’d love to play our favorite games on the devices we already have (can I get a Bubble Bobble app?!)..not just on the newer Nintendo consoles. Quit forcing us to illegally download emulators..charge us a small price for  our favorites..optimized for phones and tablets. Set me up a Netflix-like feed to a low-cost box that lets me access EVERYTHING from EVERY prior console…and I will subscribe. And those in my generation will subscribe too.  Anybody remember Sega Channel? Let’s get on this Nintendo! I pose this question – would you pay $10 a month to stream any Nintendo or super Nintendo game on your Ipad or WiiU? Yup…I think I would.

Socialize EVERYTHING – This is where everything is going. Nintendo needs to provide the tools for game players to A. Play their entire catalog easily from anywhere..and B. Share these experiences with friends. It is no longer about the console is about the games..and nobody has EVER done games better than Nintendo. When’s the last time you’ve seen a game update, other than a Facebook app…on your wall? I would have told the world when I beat Mike Tyson…..[youtube]

Suck the price out so much, that even casual gamers may try – They did a great job doing this with the Wii in comparison to the options available at the time. Unfortunately, now it’s tougher. How do you compete with smartphone apps..or even smartphones for that matter. The simple fact that people NEED a phone..puts it ahead of a game system even without price concerns. And this economic recession isn’t going anywhere…

Nintendo’s been around a long time so there’s no reason to panic just yet. But the storm clouds are gathering – don’t let this be their flagpole moment.

Until next time  –


1 Thing Local Businesses Can Do To Keep More Customers – Why no Wi-Fi?

Matt Riggleman 1 Comment

Zach Morris PhoneI think I mentioned this before, so bear with me if it’s redundant info, but despite avoiding complex, non-Zach Morrisian mobile phones for the majority of my adult life, over the last year, I’ve succumbed. I’d like to think it’s for the better. I feel more organized. I can play games at will. My time at unorthodox places like dentist offices and roadside fruit stands is full of the things I used to only enjoy from the comfort of my office chair. I’m constantly connected, for better or worse, to everyone I know – in whatever manner they propose to contact me. So in the end, the phone helps indulge my obsessiveness (and helps others as well).

Which brings me to this post.

Being a marketer, I am bombarded with posts, feeds, tweets, @rants, etc., about the ubiquity of cell phones – and how you’re a freakin’ imbecile if you don’t go full-throttle into some sort of all-encompassing, data-driven, ROI-generating, mobilic, Googilic, juggernaut advertising campaign. Most educated marketers will access their audience (and hopefully their common sense) before engaging in such a campaign, but ALL businesses can and should start small.

Have you seen this sign?I’ve read entire posts about how businesses should add Wi-Fi so customers can access locally targeted offers, do some on the spot price comparing, and generally facilitate the process of making the sale, and I agree with that logic. Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, and similar establishments give you Wi-Fi because then you’ll sit there, read more..and generally raise the percentage a bit that you’ll walk out of there with something. It’s as old as peanuts in bars.

But, let’s take a step back and look at it from a more basic level. I don’t care what the business is. I like businesses that have Wi-Fi because –

1. You’re saving me money by NOT using my data plan

2. I don’t have to think twice about using UP my data plan

3. I feel sweet because I can check out what I want, when i want.for FREE..and you helped me do that, so I’m loving you for it and feel a little reciprocity effect when it comes to buying from you.

With the Iphone, the thing actually pops up when it detects local networks (which is why we should all name our networks something cool like “Your Mom”). Which brings me to my@Fail list regarding Wi-Fi:

1. Networks that are locked out entirely at a business. Seriously?! Why tempt me?

2. Networks that aren’t locked out, but take you to a login page that requires a password. I’ve literally walked out of places where this is the case.

3. Places that directly benefit from Wi-Fi and don’t have it..hello..Best Buy?!

4. Places that confine HotSpots to sitting areas. I’ve got a phone that is mobile and a home that isn’t…I don’t have to be sitting to want to know EVERYTHING NOW.

If I went all Old Glory Insurance on you and said that you could improve your business’s relationship with your youngest, most tech-savy, socially-engaged customers for pennies a day, wouldn’t you do it?

robotIn this age of penny-pinching, I’m surprised I haven’t read more about this. I suspect data usage will become more of a topic as more and more folks feel the pinch of non-unlimited data plans. At this point, it seems the cell phone companies have done a pretty good job conditioning people to absorb the cost of data. Me, I don’t like the thought of absorbing the cost of anything.

To hammer home this point, I was at a Harrisburg Senators game the other night. I took a sweet picture of the fireworks that occurred after the game, and tried to Facebook it. The Iphone4 has a sweet high-res camera, but that camera comes with a price if you want to share: to upload in full glory, I had to chop it smaller, or use 1/4 of my 200MB data plan?! Are you freaking kidding me?

Ok, the next big thing alert..are you ready for this? A site that socializes this – I accessed (insert wild/disgusting/raunchy website) on (Insert Business)’s Wi-Fi. You can’t tell me someone won’t think that’s at least deserving of a hash tag…#MyWiFI #MiFI  ….ha. It’s kind of like a much, much, dorkier version of the Mile High Club.

So the final takeaway here is, 1. I’m cheap, and 2. I’m obsessive. Goodbye and Goodnight! Hit me up @mattriggleman if you have anything to share.


Marshmallows and Whipped Cream Coffee Marketing

Matt Riggleman 5 Comments

Wow, did I really not write on this thing for a year and a half? Geez. I guess life kind of got in the way. In a nutshell, life has basically flowed slightly in the direction of a routine now including bill paying. My job is now at least above average serious and I spend the majority of my week pondering marketing, writing and search engine optimization and mix in a little COD Black Ops. But, at the end of the day, I’m still pretty much the same. But, since I call myself a writer, I guess I had better start writing on my own again, hence, the entry below.

StayPuft Marshmallow ManYou like marshmallows. And, you like Whipped Cream. As far as products go, these sell themselves. There’s no convincing. For the most part, there’s no strange allergies involved. There’s no age limit. If you’re concerned with weight, marshmallows are fat-free. You can stack marshmallows, and they formed the internal structure and general awesomeness of the Staypuft Marshmallow Man which quite frankly puts the Pillsbury DoughBoy to shame. And, you can put them in stuff. Which, brings me to this post.

I live on caffeine now. At least a little. Anyone who is in this boat inadvertently becomes familiar with Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or the local coffee equivalent.  But, there’s something missing here. Something that these large, overly expensive, coffee monopolies should have exploited a long time ago.


Just look inside your cup the next time you get one. The barista, who I will refer to here as “Hot Coffee Chick” after the girl who works at my nearby shop, puts in the drink, realizes that in order to cram the whipped cream and marshmallows under the tight sealing, do-everything-we-can-to-not-get-sued-for-you-spilling-this lid, she’s got to hold off on filling the thing..essentially jipping you out of a few ounces of java or hot chocolate. I don’t want to have to choose between the MarshMallow Whipped Cream Experience, or getting my just deserved full cup of java. The crazy part is, it’s not that hard to fix…and none of these billion dollar companies seem to care. Possible solutions:

1. Let the customer control Marshmallow and/or Whipped Cream Distribution.

Ever notice that these are the only condiments you REALLY want to add to coffee or hot chocolate and they’re not available? It’s like quasi coffee shop Communism. They control the means of distribution. By allowing me to put the marshmallow or whipped cream on as I see fit, I don’t care that I have to sac a little java…I just don’t want the company screwing me. Especially when I just dropped 4 bucks on this junk.

2. Design a Domed Lid Capable of Sealing Tight Enough To Prevent Spillage

Dart Container RCL LidI’ve worked in the Largest Lid Plant in the World at the time they built the RCL lid that goes on Dunkin Donuts coffee. Trust me, it’s a relatively complex process. These guys can surely come up with a domed lid that can allow for mallows and whipped cream without sacrificing spillage OR volume.

3. Market a new “Marshmallow-Safe” Cup

Let’s face it, Marshmallows and Whipped Cream are here to say, shouldn’t a coffee company take advantage of the natural relationship these lifesavers have? Wouldn’t you rather buy your coffee or hot chocolate from a company that fully supported the mallow and whipped cream without “secretly” screwing you out of a few ounces? I propose cups that add an extra ounce or two on top known as the “Marshmallow zone” or the “Creme of the Cup” or something. Market the new 18 oz. cup specifically to marshmallow lovers (AKA everybody), and continue to charge the same exorbitant price you already do. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

Big Green EggIn other news, I now have my own house, a fish tank, A Big Green Egg and a 7:1 Channel surround sound system. Not in that order. I hope to write again within the next year and a half, stay tuned. I leave you with a clip from Last Saturday’s SNL featuring the greatest Will Smith impersonation ever from Jay Pharaoh.