Greetings. "Buy One Get One Free" or "BOGO" is a popular marketing idea for many products and services. Buy one box of cereal and get a second free. Buy one can of tennis balls and get another at no additional cost. Buy one air conditioner unit tune-up and get a second one thrown in to the deal. In fact, BOGO offers are everywhere. In newspapers and internet ads, on infomercials and prominently displayed in the windows of dozens of our favorite stores. And if you listen to the right radio stations here in the Washington, DC area and many other cities you're likely to hear commercials for Jos. A Bank's clothing stores that make their almost unbelievable "BOGT" offers…"Buy one of our fabulous men's designer suits and get two more suits absolutely free." It's an ad so amusing that our son Noah and I can often be heard making our own even more remarkable version…"Buy one fabulous designer suit and get a hundred more suits absolutely free." So much for a bit of exaggeration.
But the idea of a BOGO offer took a new twist today on a drive from Bloomington, Indiana, to Indianapolis International Airport. Passing St. Francis Hospital in Mooresville, Indiana, I was struck by their large electronic sign and interesting offer:
BUY ONE HEART SCAN AND GET A SECOND ONE FREE.
Now that's quite a deal. Especially for people who have two hearts. Though it quickly dawned on me that that's a relatively small market and that it was an even better deal for someone with one heart who is concerned about a spouse, partner, parent, sibling or friend. After all, wouldn't a heart scan be an awesome gift for that special and unsuspecting person in your life.
Which got me thinking that maybe BOGO's weren't such a lame idea after all. And maybe they had even more compelling value in inspiring sound consumer behavior tied to services and solutions that really matter.
We win in business and in life when we offer life-saving value. And when we are willing to test the power of ideas in new settings.