The Invisible Flaw: Setting Up for a Perceived Win

The sad part about a flaw is that it is visibly invisible – meaning you should have seen it but you don’t. In other words, a flaw typically does not hide itself from you. It’s just that you don’t see it.

Let me take an example.

This was a recent advertisement from Westin.

If you stay twice at a Westin Hotel, you will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Note: The advertisement didn’t say if you stay two nights.

Chances are that there will be many requests for the $100 Amazon gift certificates making it look like the campaign was successful.

What the redemptions won’t say is:

  • How many of those people would have stayed at Westin twice even when they didn’t see this offer (regulars at Westin)
  • How many of those really changed their mind because of this offer (real converts)
  • How many of these would have stayed only once at Westin but decided to stay twice because of this offer (partial converts)

An offer like this is asking for a lot from “real converts” – those that are loyal to another brand but will switch because of a $100 Amazon certificate. But those won’t have the time to come and give you the feedback. So in other words, you don’t know how in what ways this offer failed.

Since there will be redemptions of the $100 certificate there is a “perceived win” and that is the invisible flaw.

Unfortunately this happens all the time – in marketing and in other parts of life.

Something to think about…