I Met the World’s Smallest Woman (4 Lessons in Marketing)

World's Smallest Woman

A few months ago, I met the world’s smallest woman at a carnival in Florida.

I also learned some very powerful marketing lessons.

Here’s what happened.

During this past Christmas vacation, my wife and I took our daughter to Santa’s Enchanted Forest, a dazzling Christmas theme park in Miami.

It was a lot of fun for my daughter: she loved the lights, the animal shows and the music.

As we walked around, we came across one attraction that intrigued us more than it intrigued her.

The sign read “World’s Smallest Woman,” and showed a picture of a tiny woman in a person’s hand. Underneath that, another sign read “50 cents – Special Today.”

The man in front of the attraction was yelling out: “Ladies and gentlemen, come see the world’s smallest woman! She is ALIVE right here behind me! You talk to her and she talks back to you!”

Behind the man was a little elevated wooden box, which had an open side on the far end of it. (If you look at the picture, it’s the box which has as sign that reads “$10,000.00 Reward … if not ALIVE and in Person.”)

I stood there for around 3 minutes, and during that time, nearly 8 people happily paid the man, walked in from one side, looked at the box, paused in amazement (a few giggled and some just stood there, shocked) and then walked out the other side with a smile on their face.

My wife and I looked at each other and wondered whether they’re really seeing an actual person or just a gimmick.

I thought maybe there was some sophisticated technology of a small hologram that they’re projecting in 3D, but there were no electric wires dangling anywhere.

I had to do this.

I walked up to the man and said “That’ll be 50 cents, correct?”

He pointed at the sign and said “50 cents if you’re under 10 years old, 1 dollar if you’re an adult” (of course, there’s fine print in everything.)

I took out a dollar and gave it to him.

I then asked: “May I take a picture of her?”

He said yes, but that I have to pay her another dollar for that.

I said OK and started walking.

The anticipation was killing me, but the funny thing was that I was actually walking slower than my usual pace.

As I came close to the corner, I turned my head around slowly for the big reveal.

And there she was… just sitting there… comfortably on a nice pink mini-couch.

I smiled at her.

She smiled back.

I politely asked if I could take her picture.

She said yes and raised her tiny index finger so I remember to leave her a dollar in the tip jar.

I paid, took her picture and then walked out smiling.

Click to reveal World's Smallest Woman

Quick side note: the woman was actually really nice and had a great smile. She looks kind of sad in the picture but I guess that’s because she was looking down & counting her tips :)

 

A few takeaways

First, yes, she’s a little person, but she’s obviously not the World’s Smallest Woman – I’ve seen smaller people before :)

Second, that didn’t matter because the fun factor, the anticipation, and the experience were well worth the $2 I paid.

Third, I did a quick calculation and I think they make around $45 per hour (i.e., $22.50 per hour for each the promoter and the woman), which is not bad considering that the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Fourth, they used some very powerful marketing lessons that persuaded me to pay for the experience, even though I was a bit skeptical about it.

 

4 Powerful Marketing Lessons

  1. Social Proof: The box was strategically placed in such a way that anyone who was undecided about paying could see everyone else’s reactions as they looked at what was behind the box. Those facial expressions were excellent social proof that this was not a gimmick.
  2. The Crazy Guarantee: $10,000 if not alive and in person! Who can beat that?
  3. The Price Point: The choice of the price point was not only reasonable, but it was also very simple. 50 cents to see the woman if you’re under 10 years old, and one dollar if you’re older. That’s it. No buy-one-get-one-free or 2-for-1 packages. No weird nickel and diming. Just straightforward round numbers.
  4. The Upsell: I once read that upselling (the act of enticing a customer to pay for an upgrade)  is the closest thing to printing money. Charging me an extra $1 to take a picture of the woman was brilliant – they literally doubled their revenue with almost no extra effort or cost on their end.

What other marketing techniques do you think they used ?

Comments

  1. Hey Hassan,

    Enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Well done Hassan.

    How could they make this an ‘Evergreen’ product?

    How about 25 cents a day for a viewing after you have seen her once…and maybe you will bring back a friend who will pay full fare?
    .
    But if you brought two friends would they pay you an affiliate fee and if so…what percentage.

    I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 100% commissions myself these day. :-)

    Thanks for the fun post Hassan.

    • Thanks Ed – you can certainly get creative with making this a permanent show, but I think the reason why it’s so successful is because of the scarcity factor (it’s a temporary theme park). If I knew I could have seen this anytime later on, I might not have actually paid for it right then and there!