Are you paying attention to your competition?

Earlier this week, the long-awaited Firefox 3 web browser shipped. Last Wednesday, a cake from their competitor – the Microsoft Internet Explorer team – arrived at the headquarters of the Firefox development team to congratulate them for releasing their new version. Obviously, someone at Microsoft is paying attention to their competition. Do you? I don’t […]

How to serve mail order coffee while wearing your e-commerce marketing hat

I ordered some coffee beans online the other day and received the box on Saturday. Or maybe Friday – dunno since I didn’t check the mail on Friday. The box arrived in good condition and the beans were packed in their airtight bag with a nice spring-y colored tissue paper. So much nicer than those […]

MyStarbucksIdea.com – A gift to every independent coffee shop and cafe owner

Regular readers of this blog have probably figured out that I’m not all that impressed with Starbucks, especially when compared to local coffee shops that get it (much less the ones that don’t burn their beans). This time, I actually have a kind word for the corporate coffee monolith. photo credit: Al- Fassam [ Online! […]

Marketing opportunities: As perishable as lettuce.

I’ve always admired how Stew Leonard promoted and ran his grocery store, but this morning, I’m given another reason to give him the nod. He is clearly paying attention. Starbucks is going to be re-training their baristas next week. You know, teaching them how to do little things like how to make coffee, a skill […]

A free extra shot for every neighborhood coffee shop in the U.S.

A free extra shot at Starbucks’ expense, that is. This week and last, the news feeds and blogs are abuzz (sorry…) with stories about the defective Chinese-made mugs that Starbucks (SBUX) is selling in their stores (I wonder if the ones I saw in the Staples gift packs last Monday are on the list…) Eventually, […]

Business owners can’t get a hit unless they swing the bat.

A few weeks ago, I decided to celebrate winning a Glazer-Kennedy (GKIC) contest by having a contest of my own. To enter, you needed to send me the best testimonial you have. It could be about you, about me, or anyone else. The best testimonial would do what we talk about here when discussing what […]

Competing with Walmart – this guy gets it.

Last week, a story in the Flathead Beacon (a weekly print/internet paper that carries my business column) discussed a Whitefish MT store called Main Street Art and Crafts Supplies. Main Street offers arts and crafts, but takes things to the next level, by offering classes in cake decorating, stained glass, etc. One quote leaped out […]

Cross-branding. Good enough for Starbucks and Hershey. How ’bout you?

A recent article in the Seattle Business Journal discusses a new deal between Starbucks and Hershey that will result in an upscale chocolate product. Once again, we see cross-branding between two industry giants. What could they possibly gain – and what can the small business owner learn from it?

How are your beans ground?

A couple of months ago (yeah, I know, Im behind), there was a mass of hand-wringing in the press about a corporate memo Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote, saying he is worried about the experience that people have at Starbucks these days. He should be. Fortunately for them, he figured it out. He mentioned the […]