Smart Pricing Lessons from a Nine Year Old – Caine’s Arcade

With all of the high IQs running around the Conversion Sciences lab, it’s easy to overlook simple sources of genius. Caine Munroy is one.

Caine built an arcade in his father’s auto parts store out of cardboard and odds and ends. And this arcade was not unsophisticated, employing ticket dispensers (manual), a PIN verification system (calculators taped to the sides of the games) and an intuitive pricing scheme.

The pricing system was so smart that it made filmmaker Nirvan Mullick to create a short called Caine’s Arcade.

Caine’s Pricing Model

For the price of dollar, you get 5 plays at any of the cardboard games. However, for the price of just one dollar more you get 500 plays.

Five plays for one dollar or five hundred plays for two. Would he ever sell anything other than the two-dollar ticket?

Caine was even smart enough to give the high-end ticket a cool name. He called it the “Fun Pass.”

What businesses can learn from Caine

What Caine did naturally is what Dan Ariely teaches us in his book Predictably Irrational. When offering options, you want to make your most expensive or most profitable selection the most desirable. Otherwise, buyers are likely to choose the cheapest selection.

You can achieve this by anchoring. Here, Caine clustered a five-plays-for-one-dollar option with a 500-plays-for-two-dollars “Fun Pass.” Offering five plays for one dollar sets the value of a play at $0.20, so the Fun Pass looks like an absolute steal.

Had he only offered the Fun Pass, buyers would have set  the value of a play at $0.004, and could easily have said, “I don’t have time to get my money’s worth.” By using anchoring the value of a play at $0.20, the one-dollar option makes the buyer say, “Wow. Even if I only play 20 times, I’ve made out like a bandit!”

For more on the psychology of pricing, we strongly recommend that you read Dan’s book and also check out Roger Dooley’s excellent book Brainfluence (That’s “Brianfluence” if you’re dyslexic like me).

Charging Your Marketing Batteries with Video


The folks at video hosting company Wistia have made it easier to charge our marketing batteries using video.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with marketing batteries, here’s a quick explanation.

You spend time and money getting people to visit your site.

  • You invest in content that draws search traffic
  • You pay for advertising to get new visitors to your site
  • You share with social networks to get attention

Most of this traffic will bounce away or leak out of your site without taking action. Now, imagine that you can save up some of that hard-won and expensive traffic so that you could try again later to turn them into a customer. This is the job of the marketing battery.

One way to store marketing “juice” is the Subscriber Battery. It is charged by asking for – at a minimum – an email address, usually in exchange for some interesting time of content.

This is where we get back to Wistia’s new offering Turnstile.

Turnstile is a feature of the Wistia video player that requires a visitor to enter their email address before viewing your video. This is great news for businesses that are comfortable creating video, but get bogged down in creating landing pages, registration forms and logins.

Right now, Turnstile only allows you to collect email address; no names, phone numbers or qualifying information. Nonetheless, this is a nicely integrated way to use videos to charge a subscriber battery.

Now, what will you send these new subsribers?


Would you buy a book with this cover?

Think about the last business book you bought. What was it about the cover that you liked?

Book Cover Concept #2
Concept A: The Conversion Equation

Book Cover Concept #1
Concept B: Me, of course

Book Cover Concept #3
Concept C: Whimsical Drawings

Having finally settled on a name for the book, it is time to decide on a cover design strategy.

As always, you get a vote.

Help me out and get a free copy of the book

Every contributor gets a free copy of the book when it is published (soon!). Just let us know in the comments which concept you think you would most likely buy. You can even propose your own cover concepts, or include links to covers you think are particularly effective.

For curious marketers

My readers are curious marketers. They get tons of advice from marketing professionals day after day. They are wary of more of the same. I want the cover of my book to convey a bit of fun with the learning. Thus each of these concepts is a bit… off.

A marketing equation? Is that scary?

A guy in a lab coat.

A cartoon drawing of the typical shopping cart.

Should I be more serious and conventional? I look forward to reading your comment on the issue.

Thanks in advance for your sage guidance.