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A Message Do-Over for a Persuasive Message to a Colleague
Samantha Parkinson works as a marketing intern for a start-up software company. She is working on an account for a new social networking platform for professionals. The platform, called LinkedB2B, allows professionals to connect in many ways similar to LinkedIn. However, it also sets up in-person networking events in several major cities and focuses on geographic proximity to connect professionals. The platform also emphasizes business-to-business (B2B) relationships rather than recruiting and consulting.
Currently, LinkedB2B charges a rate of $19 per month to all professionals on the network. It charges businesses $149 to have up to ten users on the network. So far, the network has nearly 9,000 members, most of which are in three major cities: Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Typically, LinkedB2B hosts networking events three times per year in these cities. To attend the events, attendees must be LinkedB2B members. Generally, admission prices for the networking events are around $30.
Samantha believes the network should offer free accounts, like LinkedIn, so that LinkedB2B can grow its membership base. She thinks that members should pay for only premium services. Samantha decided to share her conclusions with her boss, Bianca Genova. Bianca originally created LinkedB2B and considers it her greatest professional achievement. Samantha sent the following message:
SUBJECT: Changing our Pricing Model
Unfortunately, our current pricing model simply doesn’t bring in enough members for us to be lucrative. 9,000 members really is next to nothing in our business. To survive, we will need to get far more paying members. Ironically, we can get more paying members only by offering our membership for free. LinkedIn is the model we must follow in order to do this. It makes so much money because it gets professionals hooked to free memberships, then professionals see the added value of premium services and can’t resist paying. If we changed to a free model up front, we could get hundreds of thousands or even millions of members. I estimate that within one year, we could get at least 500,000 members if we opened up LinkedB2B for free. If we could get just 10 percent of these members to purchase premium services, we would have roughly 50,000 paying members, which is a fivefold increase over where we are now. The way to make this happen involves focusing on the following cities: Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. We will offer free memberships to all professionals. At the free membership level, professionals can display their profiles. Our pricing for premium services would remain the same at the individual and organization levels. At the premium level, members would be able to do the following: attend networking events at discounted rates (generally 30 to 50 percent less), send ten free messages per month to non-contacts, use the blogging platform, and organize groups. I know you want this platform to succeed, so let’s plan on meeting this Friday and I can give a more specific plan for making this happen.
Complete the following tasks:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of Samantha’s message.
- Rewrite the message to improve it. Feel free to reasonably embellish the message using the FAIR model.