Get Motivated (to Buy)!

I had the opportunity to attend the Get Motivated! event in Raleigh on September 8.  How could I resist?

Here it is about 10 minutes from my office, and they made it so cheap to attend I almost didn’t even notice I was handing the guy a $10 bill just to park (why didn’t I get motivated and hitch a ride with one of the other 18,000 people in attendance)?

How often to you get to hear the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes and Colin Powell, among many others, all speak at the same event?  Something happened along the way.  About two hours into the event, I realized I was actually experiencing a sales pitch from a group of high power personalities looking to secure the numbers off my credit card.

The event ended up being a perfect refresher for me in the middle of my first MBA experience of the long break between Summer II and Fall.  During a course I took over the summer that focused on innovation, we talked about the basic idea of moving from selling a product, to selling a service, and ultimately selling an experience.

We studied how you can drive an innovative business product or process by creating a culture.  That culture, in many cases, is based in the virtual world of social networking and powerful internet tools and smart phone apps.

In this case, they used the Get Motivated! event to give customers the experience (much better than a free lunch seminar won through a business card fish bowl drop) and culture (selling a web-based program for people looking to take control of their own investments – including chat rooms on the site through which you can share ideas and knowledge about stocks and investing tips).

I was almost sold on the infomercial.

As the high energy finance expert was talking us through the tips and tricks, and showing off what I thought was a free website, I had visions of myself at home that night spending hours on the site trying to understand the value of the resources, and then debating whether or not I should risk some cash and get in the game.  I was hooked right up until the cost flashed on the brilliant video board overhead.

For the record, and only based on what I saw, the site does look very cool, and I believe the right person could use it as a tool to boost the performance of their investment dollars.  I was more interested in taking it all in, and I found myself studying on the fly the business model that was playing out on the crowded floor.

Innovative product, innovative process.

At the same time, it was well worth dealing with the sales pitch presentations to see such a great mix of political perspectives, business model analysis, personal stories, and casual recollections on past experiences.  I enjoyed how Colin Powell reflects on his career and speaks with a casual honesty.  It’s always good to hear some lessons learned from some of the greatest leaders in the world.  Not so sure if I left the arena feeling more motivated.  It was a nice break from the norm.

I’m looking forward to the fall, new courses, and meeting more of the Elon MBA students and staff.  I hope everyone is getting motivated to return.

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