How ABC Capitalized on 95/5 to Create Repeat Customers with Lost Finale.

ABC has convinced its customers to repurchase product they already own just to get their hands on the coveted 5%.

On May 23, 2010 the Lost series finale aired. It was watched by 13.5 million viewers and became a trending topic across social media networks immediately. Dedicated fans argued the effectiveness of the final episode and how it left story elements unexplained. According to Michael Emerson, Benjamin Linus on Lost, there will be a never before seen epilogue showing “a rich period in the show’s mythology that has never been explored.” How do you see this? By purchasing the complete Lost series on DVD. This is where the 95/5 business model kicks in.

What is the 95/5 business model?

I’m not clear where the concept came from but it has been thrown around for quite a long time. Giving away a majority of your product or services at no cost in hopes of proving the worth of what you have to offer. If they like the first 95% chances are they will want to see the final 5% you are keeping behind locked door.

I’ve heard Jim Raffel discuss it on his blog. 37 Signals wrote about it in ReWork. We utilize it daily at Walkout Video™ by giving away all of our marketing materials free to media partners to help them sell the product from day one.

How ABC turned viewers into repeat customers.

All it took was a company that cared about the quality of the product it released.

For five years viewers were courted by ABC and given 95% of the product for free. To form a bond with its brand and characters. Episode after episode they were left with unanswered questions creating widespread communication in-person and throughout the internet. Without realizing it, the general public became part of the marketing team. All it took was a company that cared about the quality of the product it released. Not only during its initial launch, season 1, but throughout the tenure of the show’s six seasons.

Now the show is over. The finale’s 13.5 million viewers was the most a Lost finale has garnered in 3 years. The viewers were witness to a fear of loss campaign that clearly established this episode being the last. With Michael Emerson’s well timed leak of information, regarding a new 12-14 minute scene, ABC is now asking the viewers to purchase the series compilation set to view it. The customers that are interested in purchasing this set, in all likelihood, own other Lost DVD sets.

ABC has convinced its customers to repurchase product they already own just to get their hands on the coveted 5%. Season 6 and 12-14 minutes of new content. Think about that.

How can I use 95/5 with my business?

Everyone can implement it. How you do it just depends on your company and what you offer. To put it into perspective – remember the last time you visited an ice cream parlor like Chocolate Shoppe? They offer you free samples to try the different flavors they offer. They know you want to buy something but simply haven’t figured out what you want yet. They give you the 95% knowing you will buy the one you want and walk away happy.

The key to making 95/5 work is customer satisfaction. Don’t make them pay for something on your terms. Let them warm up to you first. Feel you out. If you are as good as you claim to be the rest will come to you.

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