A Marketing Paradox

A paradox is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd, but in reality expresses a possible truth. Paradoxes often go against what we believe or have been taught.

In his book Unleashing the Ideavirus, author and marketing guru Seth Godin outlines some interesting paradoxes. Two of these paradoxes are:

  1. The more you give away, the more it’s worth.
  2. The sooner you ask for money, the less you get.

I think that Seth’s first paradox — the more you give away, the more it’s worth — is hard for most people to wrap their heads around.

Most publishers and authors say, “If I give my books away, then I won’t make any money.”

Good marketers know that giving something away hooks people.

Ocean Spray knows this. Last spring, the company was giving out free samples of their latest juice, Blueberry, at a street fair I attended. I had no intention of buying Blueberry juice. I do not like blueberries and since I do the shopping for my family, I would normally have just passed this new flavor by.

However, Ocean Spray gave free samples to my children, who loved the juice, and begged me to buy some. I have since bought more Ocean Spray Blueberry juice than I ever imagined I would; all because Ocean Spray gave some away for free.

Jesus understood this paradox of giving. In Luke 6:38, he says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

So, while it seems counter intuitive to give away your books, I encourage you to try it.

I’m not saying give every book you have away, but give some away. Give them to people who are influencers: pastors, bloggers, and other leaders. Give them to people who are interested but can’t afford your books. Give them as gifts and to say “thank you.” Give them to non-Christians as a witness and a testimony.

Then stand back and watch what God will do. You may be blessed with book sales. You may be blessed with winning souls for Christ.