Mysterious connection between marketing and success

as you know I have something of a deep-seated aversion to bonuses (and to some extent scarcity).


Because in almost all cases they’re used to exploit human psychology to persuade someone to buy something they may or may not need (the latter is far more likely).

Now, had another good look at the whole bonus situation, and here’s how I see it now:

People who are in Q1 of my 4Q model are far less likely to respond to bonuses.

And people are also far more likely to succeed in life.

They know exactly what they want & need to tackle and solve the next problem.

Those in Q2, or even Q3 on the other hand are not sure what they want, confused by options, and unsure what to do next.

And as a result are much more open to ‘persuasion’ tactics such as bonuses and scarcity.

I’ll give you a perhaps somewhat extreme example to illustrate:

let’s say you have cancer.

The moment you find out, you pretty much make it your mission to beat this thing.

Nothing else matters, you are entirely focused on beating it.

You are squarely in Q1 – you know exactly what the problem is, now it’s time to overcome it.

And it doesn’t really matter what kind of bonuses are on offer, you’re going to go with the treatment that gives you the highest chance of success.

(well, I’m making that assumption, having worked in lung-cancer staging at Siemens I am pretty certain we didn’t have many patients who told us “nah, it’s ok, we’ll go to that other clinic … they may have less favourable outcomes, but boy, they serve beautiful sandwiches…”)

Now, don’t get me wrong:

even successful people find themselves in Q3 (confusion & overwhelm) and Q2 (the “Q&A” stage – did I really make the right choice) from time to time …

… but then they do everything they can to get to Q1 (clarity on what needs to be done, and then taking action) as quickly as possible.

I’ve just gone through such a cycle:

upgrade from very good espresso maker to awesome espresso maker.

I now know what I want DESPITE knowing that I don’t have all the data, and there’s still uncertainty.

My choice is (plenty) good enough, but probably not perfect.

And I can live with that.

(and yes, to some extent that’s influenced by your personality, but that’s a topic for another day)

And that “living with uncertainty” is (IMO) what separates those who ultimately succeed from those who don’t.

If you can’t let go and live with the fact that whatever choice you’re making is likely not going to be perfect, then you’re forever stuck in Q3 … the quadrant of overwhelm and confusion.

And that’s where you’re suddenly very susceptible to statements like:

it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you can still live the life of your dreams” …

… and bonuses …

… and scarcity.

Right then, what’s upshot of all of this:

  • the real secret of the ‘successful’ is that they spend more time in Q1 (clarity on what needs to be done, and then taking action) than the unsuccessful
  • when they find themselves in Q2 and Q3, they do everything they can to get into Q1 as quickly as possible.
  • they do that by making conscious decisions about the things they can “live with” … even when they’re not perfect (and unlikely to ever be)


now, here’s something to ponder:

what type of clients would you prefer?

Those who linger in Q3 … confused and overwhelmed?

or those who are in Q1 … clear on what needs to be done, ready to take action?

The answer should be obvious … and yet there are plenty of marketers who do everything they can to pummel those who are well and truly not ready to take action into submission with bonuses and scarcity … and then complain about the complaints, refunds and chargebacks.

ah well





  1. Matthew Newnham says:

    Perfect. Well, it would be if your 4 Quadrant model graphic were included in your post, haha. And you being such a visual person 😉

  2. Hi Veit –

    “and yet there are plenty of marketers who do everything they can to pummel those who are well and truly not ready to take action into submission with bonuses and scarcity”

    Would that be because in their heads the only see the BIGGER pool of potential buyers.. and greed then takes over 🙂 ?


    • well, that’s one group of people (and I’d say about 90% of ‘players’ in the JVZoo/MMO/WF cesspit fall into that category)

      the other one is those who simply do as they’re told, in the sense: that’s the only thing they’ve ever seen/learned. In their minds: marketing equals hard-core sales-psychology, power-word copywriting and so on.


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