Marketing Starbucks

The business lesson in Britney and Anna Nicole

This morning on the way to work, for the umpteenth day in a row, the TOP STORY on the radio news is not Iran, Iraq, the economy or anything remotely important…. its Britney.

Next, Iraq, then Hillary v. Obama, then Anna Nicole.

2 of the top four stories at the top of the hour news (this is not the E! station) are about stupid celebrity issues that are about as important as what color socks I’m wearing today (gray, if you’re taking notes).

The lesson is that the news media has figured out some subset of these things:

  • The majority of the American people think celebrity news is more important than anything
  • The majority of the American people don’t care about “hard” news.
  • The media feels its job is to entertain us, not to inform us (Fox’s Colbert has that part down pat).

Your lesson is this: You need to be using this ridiculous, silly, unimportant news in your marketing, because its what people hear in the news, its what they talk about, its what entertains them. It may annoy the crud out of you, but you are not your customer. If its on the front page of USA Today, find a way to use it. Be creative about it, not boring.

Just as an example, say you own a coffee shop in downtown Billings MT, where the clientele is largely business people from 7-5. How difficult would it be to have stickers for your togo cups that allow your clients to “vote” for the day’s contentious (but silly and inane) issue?

Who will win the Super Bowl? Who likes bald Britney? Who gets Anna Nicole? Who do you think will win the Daytona 500?

The possibilities are limitless. You could even make a contest out of it, drop your biz card in the Chicago Bears bowl, or in the Indy bowl. After the game, draw a card from the winning team’s bowl, award them a cup of coffee – but dont stop there. Get one of those life size cardboard cutouts of the winning QB and take a picture of you (the owner), the person who won, and the cardboard cut out. Blow it up, put it in the store. Use it in your ads.

Just one possibility…

Taking this further, you can make yourself into a local celebrity. “Be somewhere, Be Someone, Do Something”, as Dan says. Write a column for the local paper, do a radio or tv spot, take on a local cause PUBLICLY. Watch what celebrities do to bring attention to themselves. You can do similar things, just dont be a bozo.

Another option: use a celebrity. A mortgage guy in Chicago got the use of “The Fridge” Perry (huge Chicago Bear lineman) for a year for 5k. There are agents you can call and “rent” the use of a celebrity and you’ll find it far less expensive than you think, unless of course you want Paris Hilton at your tool rental shop. A commonly overlooked option is to rent the “most popular” local sportscaster or weather person as your spokesperson. Even these folks are treated as celebrities on a local basis.

Starbucks Wal-Mart

Hamilton MT v. WalMart, step 2 (continued)

Last time, we talked about your USP. I’ll assume you’ve gotten that worked out and that you have already fine tuned it, or will soon. Still, I want to talk about that topic a bit more, because its important.
I’d like to hear a few, and would be happy to comment on them. I should have mentioned my company’s USP yesterday, during the examples – not because it’s as good as the Domino’s or Fedex USP, but because it makes silent suggestions to the prospective client – something your USP should do as well.

My company‘s USP is “More clients. More productivity. More profit. GUARANTEED.”

I worked on it for a good while, because I wanted something short, memorable, believable and achievable.

Let’s dissect it.

“More clients.” – Almost every business wants more clients. Some may not be able to handle them as well as they think, but they still want them. Youll notice that I didnt say “More sales and bigger sales from your clients”. There’s a reason for this. While I believe it is far easier to raise profits by selling more to your existing clients (and increasing the transaction size), that is not typically on the radar of most small businesses. I have to put it on the radar once I start working for them. “More clients” speaks to the prospect about the marketing aspect of what we do for businesses. The Trusted Advisor program, “Ready4You” products like printed newsletters, Royalty Rewards and so on.

“More productivity.” – Every business wants to waste less time and produce its products or deliver its services more efficiently. This piece of our USP takes a complex mix of services and boils them down to 2 words. The mix includes technology, workflow, paper shuffling and for the lack of a better word – the integration of information technology (ie: computers) and industrial engineering (making processes more efficient and more consistent). Try getting that last sentence into a USP:)

“More profit.” – Every business wants to become more profitable. More clients and more productivity CAN be instrumental to that, but they are not an assurance of it. This speaks to the devil’s advocate in all of us. “Yeah, he may be able to do a bunch of geek stuff, or market us and so on, but if we dont make more money, who cares”. Well, I do. And the next portion of the USP is why I have to care.

“GUARANTEED.” – One thing Dan Kennedy pounds into us is that if we cant guarantee our work, we need to be doing something else, because our work isn’t good enough. I really cant agree with that more. If I dont know enough about what I’m doing to feel that I can guarantee my work, then you should probably find someone else to do it, don’t you think? One of the tasks your marketing message must convey is that you have eliminated the risk of trying your products or services. A “no weasel clause” guarantee is a great way to differentiate your business from everyone else. The no weasel part is critical. Asking for an explanation in order to get a refund is fine – but you must accept ANY explanation. The explanation is the value that you get for the refund – it tells you what you screwed up (hopefully).

What’s your USP?