What motivates people...

In the world of marketing, we spend a LOT of time trying to figure out what motivates people to do some task or engage in some activity.

You want people to come to the event you are hosting? What's the hot button that will get them there? What incentive will get the job done to make people change their routines to attend?

For the past month (and next two), Microsoft is aggressively promoting the Launch (register here) of the new versions of Office (2007), Windows (Vista) and Exchange (2007). We are trying to figure out: what will it take to get people to take a day out of their schedule to find out about the new products.

Was talking to an acquaintance of mine this weekend. He's the CFO of a relatively large mid-size company. He tells me that he is going to the event.

"What is motivating you to go?" I ask.

"I read a website called Slick Deals and someone posted that if you attend these events, Microsoft frequently gives away a free, licensed version of the software. (approx. $300 value for business customers)."

I was a bit shocked...here's a top-level executive who is willing to spend an entire day (or half-day) of his time for the possibility of getting 1 copy of software which is worth less than the time he is investing.

On top of that, it made me realize just how people find out about events (or are encouraged to go.)

If we had called this guy or emailed him or mailed him, he probably would have ignored us.

Another tribute to the power of word of mouth marketing