Is it really special if anyone can get in? “No” is the emphatic answer from the authors of Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements. And it goes against today’s marketing grain which says to “let everybody in who wants in.” But when everyone gets in, do you really have a passionate movement? Having a barrier to entry creates an air of exclusivity.
|“Having a movement that has that barrier as opposed to one that doesn’t is the difference between the secret clubhouse and the mall.”|
When you’re a member of an exclusive club, you want to tell others about it, but only selectively, to those you think deserve to know. Do you know about an exclusive underground restaurant? You’re likely to tell only those that would appreciate the concept. Members of exclusive clubs are envied. At my alma mater, Baylor University, there is a secret fraternity called the NoZe Brotherhood. You have to be secretly invited to get in and nobody knows how that happens, but everybody wishes they would get an invitation.
How important do you want your cause to be? If you let everyone in, you communicate that your cause is not that important because anyone with a casual interest can participate.
|“When you throw open your organization’s doors and do the cattle call, you devalue everything you worked so hard for.”|
Free is for everyone, and is an open-door invitation to a lack of passion. Passionate causes require time and effort. A time and effort requirement ensures that soldiers who do join your cause will do so for the right reasons.
How passionate do you want your soldiers? A barrier to entry is a narrow gate that lets in only those that care about the success of the cause.
|“By laying the foundation with those who choose to put some skin in the game, you’re building sustainability.”|
Open doors invite people who are simply interested in your cause. Barriers to entry recruit soldiers who take personal ownership. And personal ownership ignites passion.
Barriers to Entry is one of 10 lessons for igniting sustainable word-of-mouth movements in Brains on Fire, written by Robbin Philips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones.