How To Spot Marketing Brilliance Anywhere (Damn You, Best Buy Express!)

Well, well, well. Look who decided to come back around.Yes, ’tis me, Daniel DiPiazza. #15768 in your inbox, but #1 in your heart.

Apologies for the delay in the 5-Day Master Class. I took a trip to New Orleans to hang with my best friend, Mark, at his bachelor party and as you can imagine, well…I’VE BEEN IN NO CONDITION TO TEACH A MASTER CLASS.



And apparently, neither is Mark…



We asked him to do his Michael Phelps impression. Srs.


Today is Day 3 of our Master Class on streamlining your life — and while it doesn’t apply directly to the digital space, knowing how to spot brilliant marketing is a skill that you MUST have as you develop your own ideas. Read carefully.


As I was leaving the wedding to head back home (read: stumbling), I actually found something pretty interesting that I wanted to draw your attention to. Has anybody ever seen one of these?





Best Buy has these new automated kiosks called “Best Buy Express” that sell a variety of high-end electronic goods with a few clicks. Literally, the same technology we’re accustomed to using for a $1.75 Snickers bar (the ultimate impulse purchase), you can now use to spend almost $1,000 on everything from headphones to iPads!


I’d seen these kiosks before, but I was always in a hurry. On my way back to Los Angeles, however, I had a little time to kill. So I took a second to investigate.

I went in there thinking I wasn’t going to buy anything. But once I started interacting with the device, I was surprised at how compelling (and sophisticated) the point of sale was.

It hit all the right “psychological triggers” — and I ended up spending $150. How did this happen???

Check it out. (Hint: Pay close attention to the user experience presented by the kiosk):



Look at all the sophisticated sales mechanisms going on within that single machine. (If you don’t think it looks that sophisticated…Best Buy is doing their job right.)

  • Bright colors
  • Visually appealing, interactive menus
  • Prominently displayed, instantly recognizable products (Apple, Beats by Dre, etc)
  • Carefully curated collection of the most frequently used travel items that everyone needs (music, headphones, chargers, etc)
  • Sales page format with direct response button (“BUY NOW”) and benefit-driven copy (see the bulleted lists)
  • Easy payment
  • UPSELLS (kiosk actually suggested items to accompany my purchase at the point of sale)

Combine all these factors with the probability that a potential customer:

  1. Is most likely in a hurry (these are RIGHT in the terminal)
  2. Has no other options (“I need headphones. My plane is leaving in 12 minutes.”)
  3. Is probably already “primed” to buy — we spend a lot at the airport and don’t think about it

This machine literally has all the elements it needs to sell high ticket items — and it mimics the experience of the Best Buy website, which does billions in revenue per year.

In contrast, think back to the traditional vending machines we grew up with as kids. You know, Sun Chips, Gatorade and Chips Ahoy. There were no unique sales techniques, interactivity or psychological positioning. Sure, if you were really hungry, that was enough to sell you a $1 bag of Fritos. But getting someone to spend $150 at an automated kiosk is a whole ‘nother ball game.

I ended up getting some Beats headphones — which I’d been wanting for over 2 years, so don’t even start lecturing me on the dumb price. Yes, I know it’s dumb.

The key here is to be AWARE of what’s going on around you. What’s influencing your thoughts, and ultimately, your buying decisions? The more subtle is it, usually the more effective it is.

Can you think of some other examples of brilliant marketing in an UNEXPECTED location that compelled you to buy?

Leave a comment and share your story.


PS – Imagine how well something like this might do at the gym. I’m just sayin’.



Love the gym idea. Even better then headphones, how about a disposable towel for $1?! Boom. Were rich!