Summary of The Irresistible Offer

I just re-read The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner, this time taking notes. It’s one of the most practical books on marketing I’ve come across. Highly recommended.

The basic (simple) idea: quid pro quo – Make an Offer – You give me X, I’ll give you Y

The Big Four Questions people have when they’re considering purchasing something:
1. What are you trying to sell me? (Logic)
2. How much? (Logic)
3. Why should I believe you? (Logic)
4. What’s in it for me? (WIIFM) (Emotion)

Marketing axiom: People make their decisions based on emotion and justify them with logic.

The Definition of the Irresistible Offer
The Irresistible Offer is an identity-building offer central to a product, service or company where the believable return on investment is communicated so clearly and efficiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up.
People remember you. People can’t move quickly enough to give you their money.

What it’s NOT:
Not a special offer, not a statement of fact, not bragging rights, not a benefit, not a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Benefits only address one of the big four questions (what’s in it for me). Leading wit a benefit will capture interest, but will temper it w/ skepticism. “What’s the catch.”

Example of a USP that is not the irresistible offer:
“Anacin: The Pain Reliever Doctors Prescribe Most.” – It makes you wonder what IS the best possible aspirin. The irresistible offer is useful not only when you’re in the store, it would motivate you to drive out to the store and buy your brand.

It’s not enough to just be unique.

What it IS:
1. A High ROI Offer
2. A Touchstone
3. Believability

Cheesy mnemonic device: HTB High ROI / Touchstone / Believability – How to Be Rich

1. ROI – If the ROI is clear, no sales trickery is needed. “A lie will travel half-way around the world before the truth even has a chance to put its pants on.” – Churchhill. Don’t just satisfy customers. Utterly delight them.

2. Touchstone – You have 3 seconds. Address as many of the Big Four Questions as possible:
– What we’re selling
– The cost
– What’s in it for you
– Why should you trust us
No matter what, your touchstone must say: Here’s a great offer. Here’s a deal for you so great that you’d be a fool to pass it up.

Stylistic elements of a great touchstone:
– Clarity: Be crisp
– Simplicity
– Brevity – Keep it really short. A single crisp eyeful
– Immediacy – cut to the chase. They either want it or they don’t. The offer in the touchstone is usually separate from your Core High ROI offer.

Examples of great Touchstones:
Dominos – Pizza hot and fresh to your door in 30 mins or less or it’s free.
– Worked even though the pizza was bad (at first).
– No high ROI offer in the touchstone, though the high ROI offer (better pizza, good price) was still necessary for long-term business.

Columbia House Records – 10 CDs for 1 Cent
– Having a high ROI offer allows a company to use a certain degree of gimmickry and still stand up to scrutiny.

Federal Express – When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

Other examples:
The Army – Be All You Can Be
WINS Radio – You Give Us 22 Minutes. We’ll Give You The World
FOX News – We report. You Decide.
Rackspace – Fanatical Support
Circuit City – We’ll Honor the Lowest Price You Can Find for 60 Days After Your Purchase (stronger than their “Just What I Needed” slogan)
Caterpillar – 48 Hour parts service anywhere in the world–Or Caterpillar pays
Nordstrom’s – If you’re not satisfied for any reason we’ll take it back without a receipt, no questions asked.
REMAX – The 100 Percent Solution (target to agents, they keep all their commission)
Merle Normal Cosmetics – “Before and After”
Mrs. Fields Cookies – Free Samples

3. Believability – can’t be too good to be true.
– Proof
– Social proof: Testimonials – use a name, photo, email address, web address, whatever to prove it’s real.
– Technical proof: scientific validation. Believable evidence.
– Factual proof: Research that shows the product is a good investment
– Credibility
– Endorsements: Authorities, celebrities
– High profile customers
– Qualifications certifications, degrees, credits etc.
– Awards and recognition
– Logic – appeal to their logical thinking. How can you afford to make such a great offer?

What the customer should see in chronological order:
Touchstone, Believability, High ROI Offer


The Great Formula: Create the Irresistible Offer, present it to a thirsty crowd, sell them a second glass.
– Be bold, aggressive. Experiment like crazy. Jettison what’s not working.

Loss leaders – be upfront about them. Have a second offer ready immediately. “Video professor” Free CD. I can give this away because I know you’ll be so happy you’ll come back w/ all your computer learning needs.

Up sell, cross sell, continuity (products consumers buy repeatedly)

Second glass opportunities – education, consulting & service, package deals, insurance & warranties, logical additions, referrals.

Keep the door open – thank you, birthday cards. Service due reminders, newsletters, special events,

Offer intensifiers – Urgency (contrived and genuine), added (genuine) value, risk reversal (guarantee your product, payment plans, loss leaders, warranties, pay only for results, free support, try before you buy), scarcity, pricing tricks (law of 7 and 9’s), price increase for perceived value, contrast (compare your product to a higher priced or the “actual value”, priming), discounts, rebates and coupons, uniqueness (real and perceived), brand value & propositioning (who is at the top of mind when looking for a product? recency-coke still advertises), recommendations (most powerful intensifier).

The Offer Continuum – The art and magic of marketing
How Obvious is the need? – Obscure <—-> Totally obvious
How Genuine is the need? – Doesn’t need it at all <—–> It’s life or death
How Common is a solution for the problem? – Can get it anywhere <—–> We’re the only one
Hoe Emotional is your offer? – Coma inducing <—–> Strong men weep
How Timely is your offer? – Don’t need it anytime soon <—–> Need it NOW
How does it stack up against competition? – They’re great, we suck <—–> We’re clearly the best
How do you compare on price? – Tiffany prices <—–> Bargain rack

Word of Mouth / Viral Marketing – Language is a virus – William S. Burroughs. “Copulation rate.” Meh.
Monetarily incentivizing people to spread the word about your service can backfire, people don’t like to feel bribed. Think about other incentives; the best is genuine enthusiasm.
People talk about things that are noteworthy

Touchstones should be words. Images are hard to spread verbally. Brands. Brands take a lot of time, you have little control over the association (ugly guy wearing Gucci), message is ambiguous, some businesses don’t take to branding well.

Persistent marketing is good marketing. If you see an ad over and over it’s most likely good: must be working.
Points of Contact – every time you have the eyeballs of customers, present them with an offer.
Freebie marketing tips – Never give away something you couldn’t sell. Target, tie-in, collect info.

Relentless Focused Action. Three words that he thinks represent one of the most important keys to success.