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Marketing Ass Pennies?

Marketing Ass Pennies?

First, if you haven’t watched the Upright Citizens Brigade video titled “Ass Pennies” video, go watch it now.


Okay, now that you’re back, you’re welcome, or I’m sorry, whichever.

The concept is simple: in ass pennies, a technique is given for slowly seeding something terrible into the world for your advantage (or own sick gratification). Reverse ass pennies uses the same principals, but for good.  Not good like saving the world good (you can do that as well if you want), this is about business. Think increasing sales, or leads, or furthering your career, etc.  

Reverse ass pennies is about slowly seeding something great into those around you and how that pays off.  What can you easily give or do that plants seeds for your business or career?
Yes, we could have called this post “Planting Marketing Seeds” but then there would be no reason to watch the video and this is marketing, who would bother to read a post called Planting Marketing Seeds, Yawn. 

Here’s the main points:

  • Limited Effort
  • Regularity
  • Stickativity
  • Reasonable Chance
  • Spread

Limited Effort: There’s a lot you can achieve with great effort; the point of reverse ass pennies is that it takes such little effort as to seem pointless.  Both pointless to do as well as pointlessly easy to do. Pick up a piece of trash every day on the way into the office, that’s about 240 pieces of trash per year, which equals a trash free building for most of us. 

Regularity: Obviously handling 5 emails from the bottom of your inbox once won’t do much of anything.  But if you do it every Monday morning that’s 250 emails cleaned from your inbox per year. 

Stickativity: This is all about the build up. The act needs to be something you either can or have to spread out over time, but its impact must have enough staying power that it has the ability to build up over time.  Think of it like snow: an individual snowflake will hit the ground and melt, but if enough land before they can melt they will start to stick. Once an ass penny always an ass penny. 

Reasonable Chance: Whatever you do, it needs to add up to a near certainty that your goal is achieved within a useful timeframe. For example, there’s a great chapter titled “Random Sneeze Call” in the book “What If”, it’s summarized online here.  The premise is: If you call a random phone number and say “God bless you”, what are the chances that the person who answers just sneezed? They give the odds at 1 in 40,000, so if you make 1 call per day it would take 109 years, not a reasonable chance of success.  You’d need to make 109 calls per day to assure you get one sneezer in a year, so 75 should give you a reasonable chance of success. This is way too much effort, making this not a reverse ass pennies activity. Not to mention the pointlessness of it, you get to totally freak someone out, but other than that? 

Spread: It’s best if it’s more impactful when spread over time.  You could spend a week volunteering at a soup kitchen, but if you’re looking for recognition, one hour a weekend over the whole year has more impact. 

I realize this example makes this seem inauthentic and manipulative, using charity as an example does that, but the goal here is to get a return on your investment. You don’t do ass pennies for fun! 

You want some examples of reverse ass pennies?  If I tell you you have to promise not to tell anyone else, it’s sort of a long term strategy.  

Okay, here’s a couple examples. What works for your company depends on the type of business you’re in.  

  • Find 12 companies you’d like to work for and every month send one a customized letter telling them why you’d like to work there.  
  • Have everyone in your company volunteer 1 day a month in your community. 
  • Write a niche blog. 
  • Write one highly personalized email or LinkedIn request a day
  • Set up a phone interview once a month
  • Find several companies with products that pair well with what you offer and introduce your clients to one of them every time you close a deal. 

If none of that works you can always revert to ass pennies.  

What activities can you think of?  Don’t just think about direct revenue benefit, there are things that can be done for sales and lead generation, but this may be more effective for employee morale, hiring, career advancement, etc.  Please share your most creative reverse ass pennies strategies with me on LinkedIn.


By: Sky Cassidy