The Art of Seduction, i-marketing Style

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Michael Landau is a retail visionary, an i-marketer who also used to run an insanely successful string of boutiques in the real world. He has developed a breakthrough concept called "seducible moments."

The idea is pretty extraordinary and very simple. It occurs when you're likely to pull out your wallet and buy something.

Your birthday is a seducible moment. So is a vacation stop in a gift shop. And, of course, Christmas is the king of all seducible moments.

Why is this so important? Money.

Take a look at the Sharper Image. It has built a worldwide chain of retail stores around this idea. You'll find its stores in places where people who would never dream of buying a $3,000 vibrating chair or a $500 replica of Yoda will gladly take out their wallets and spend, spend, spend.

Admit it: You're guilty of buying something on vacation you'd never buy at home. And you're certainly guilty of buying insanely stupid Christmas presents that wouldn't see the light of day in February.

For this reason, Landau invented the Yahoo Birthday Club. We send an electronic birthday card to thousands of people every single day. In some cases, Yahoo is the only entity to remember the birthday of the person getting the card from us.

Now imagine you get an electronic birthday card on your birthday. Are you going to open it? And what if it contains discounts, gift certificates and coupons worth more than $50. Think you might check them out?

The Yahoo Birthday Club is a classic example of creating a seducible moment and then finding media and messages to take advantage of it.

The challenge as an i-marketer is discovering the seducible moment most appropriate for your product and your audience, and then taking advantage of it. And delivering it with permission.

Christmas is just around the corner. Marketers are going to have to make some important decisions about how to spend their holiday money to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.

Here are four tips you can take to the bank:

• Don't be chintzy. A $4 coupon is fine, but a free product is a lot more effective at beginning a dialogue.

• Be sure you've got permission before you go running about making offers to people. Doing so without permission is a sure route to failure.

• Test, test, test.

• Be creative about the moments you focus on.

Choosing the right occasion and making your offer match the moment goes a long way toward making your offer successful.

On a personal note, my birthday is July 10 and that's a very seducible moment for me. Go ahead and send your coupons, offers, gifts and bribes to

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