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Showing posts from March, 2009

A Sweet Surprise

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Satisfying A Sweet Tooth
Brio Tuscan Grille is doing amazing things with desserts: The restaurant will serve a very small portion of any dessert on the menu for only $2.25. (I’m holding a small serving of their cheesecake on the right.)

The size of the dessert is perfect – it’s about five or six bites. That’s all I really ever want for dessert anyway – just a few bites.

On the day that I went into Brio, I was full after eating my meal. I didn’t even want dessert. But after I saw that I could order just a small sample, I jumped at the chance, and so did everybody I was with.

No Thanks, I’m Full
Most restaurants sell enormous chocolate-on-top-of-chocolate fudge brownie concoctions for $11 that are too big for anyone person to eat. A table of four might order one of these desserts if they can agree that they’ll all eat four bites. But, if two people don’t want any part of it, then nobody orders anything.

That’s why Brio’s mini-desserts are brilliant. Nobody needs to agree on one dessert. Those…

For Those About to Rock

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Continuous Revenue Streams
Video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band are extremely profitable because their manufacturers are constantly producing new songs for download that weren’t included on the game disc. New songs come out all of the time. As long as the game stays fun and exciting, Activision (Guitar Hero) and Harmonix (Rock Band) will stay profitable because there is a limitless amount of songs that they could produce and sell.

But are Activision and Harmonix doing all they can to make sure that they produce the most popular – and therefore the most profitable – songs?

I don’t think they are.

Leverage Your Customers
Guitar Hero and Rock Band need to post onto their website a list of the top 500 songs that they’re considering for release. Then, ask the fans to vote for their favorites. Give fans the option to suggest additional songs. It’s free market research and it gets the fans involved in the games that much more. Fans will feel like part of the process, and they’ll tell their frien…

Vitaminwater Relinquishes Control

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Breaking Ground
Vitaminwater is no longer in control of its marketing message and I think that’s brilliant.

For the first time that I’ve ever seen in a tv commercial, Vitaminwater is running ads that end by displaying its Faceboook fan page URL instead of a traditional website address.

The Future of Advertising?
Vitaminwater is combining elements of a variety of different types of marketing – social media, word of mouth, viral, etc. But there are two keys to this campaign:The brand is supporting these types of advertising with nation-wide tv spots being shown during CBS March Madness broadcasts.

Vitaminwater is leveraging the genuineness of Facebook instead of using its own website. As consumers have grown more and more wary and immune to advertising messages, they have increasingly been turning to unbiased sources of information for product reviews. Vitaminwater could have opened up its own site to unfiltered user reviews, but that wouldn’t appear nearly as pure as it does when using Fac…

How 3 Yards of Fabric Makes a Sale

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The Typical Sofa-Buying Process
Every furniture store sells sofas in essentially the same way: Each sofa model comes in a few standard colors or patterns, but a customer can usually choose any fabric that they want from a selection of hundreds if they’re willing to pay an up charge. Nearly every store allows customers to peruse the additional fabric choices by looking at swatches that measure approximately three inches square. How is someone supposed to get a good idea about what a sofa will look like from three square inches of fabric?

I wouldn’t buy a shirt if I just saw the collar. Would you?

Three Yards and a Happy Customer
Room & Board has a three-yard (yes… YARD!) sample of every single fabric that they offer - look at me holding the sample to the right. If you don’t like the color of a chair, you just grab the huge sample of fabric and drape them over the chair. You can immediately tell if you like the chair in that fabric.

It’s one thing to look at sofa fabrics online or in sma…

Know When to Lower ‘Em

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High Rollers? No.
Online poker site FullTiltPoker.net just announced that they’re opening up real-money poker tables in which people can play for “micro-stakes.” That means that people can play for as little as $.02 per hand. With small blinds at $.01, this is the lowest price the site could possibly charge to play cash games on their site (without splicing pennies into fractions, of course).

The Smaller, the Better
Micro-stake online poker is a fantastic idea. Why? Because it all but eliminates the barriers to entry that potential customers feel when considering playing online poker.

Consider the reasons why a poker player might be hesitant to play online poker for real money:He doesn’t want to lose money / he’s afraid to take too big of a risk.He is afraid that he won’t be good enough against players who play for real money.He doesn’t trust that the poker site offers a fair game.Offering games for players at the lowest possible price eliminates the first reason. It doesn’t get cheaper…

34 Fliers in a Sales Kit? Maybe That’s One Too Many

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Three Hours and A Basket of Fliers
I’m organizing the production of a new photo directory for my church. We’ve contracted with a company to help us out.

My initial consultation with the company lasted three hours. The sales representative gave me a packet of information that included 34 fliers (look at the photo I took!), and he insisted on talking about every single one. I tried to cut the meeting off – several times, actually. I was sold after the first 30 minutes, but the sales rep. insisted on continuing.

The sales rep. was so concerned about telling me what he had to offer that he didn’t take time to listen to what I needed. I didn’t need any more convincing after 30 minutes, but he just kept on going.

Been There, Done That
I know exactly how this company ended up with 34 fliers. Every time something new comes out, the owner says to the marketing department, “we need a flier for this!” Then the folks in marketing create a flier because the boss said so. That’s how it starts. Five year…

The Train Has Left the Station – Without Ads

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Out of Money
Metra is the public transportation train system that connects Chicago with its suburbs. For the last five years, Metra has been in desperate need of a capital bill funded by the state of Illinois. Because of this, Metra needs money – a lot of money – and they need it sooner rather than later.

Advertise – It’s SimpleMetra does not advertise on the inside of its train cars right now. It advertises on train platforms and in between train cars, but not inside of the train cars. CTA and Pace, the other public transportation providers in Chicago, advertise inside their trains and buses. Why doesn’t Metra?

Look at the photo I’ve posted here. There is plenty of space in the train car to advertise, and I’ll bet that there are plenty of advertisers who would be very interested in advertising to the market that Metra serves.

Advertising on Metra trains could generate millions of dollars in additional revenue for Metra. I’m guessing that the average Metra rider spends 40 minutes on the t…

Christian Louboutin: Seeing Pink?

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Meet Mr. Louboutin
Christian Louboutin is one of the hottest shoe designers out there right now. Celebrities love his shoes. Most importantly, Oprah loves his shoes. She frequently wears his shoes during the taping of her shows and she talks about him on the show once and a while.

All Christian Louboutin shoes have solid red soles – that’s his trademark. It’s what he’s known for. People pay big bucks for those red soles. They’re easy to recognize once you know what to look for, and they make quite a statement among people who care about fashion.

Pink is the New Red
But Christian, why stop at the red bottoms? Why not try different colors? Sure, I know red is your thing and it would probably be very difficult for someone to successfully convince you to change it up. But that’s what I’m going to try to do. My idea is simple: I want you to change it up for a great cause.

I want you to come out with a pink-soled shoe in order to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Pink is the color worn by…