Actually, I'm simply telling you about a free cup of Starbucks, which I found out about when I clicked a simple banner ad for the company on a newspaper web site. It's so simple, "purple" ("hey, free coffee, and I don't have to do anything"), simple (a cup of coffee), and buzzworthy (I'm telling you, you'll very likely tell others). Stay away from the marble cake, however - loads of fat grams.
Oh yeah, if you are part of the Starbucks "Customer Connections" email program, you got an extra unadvertised day (yesterday) to get free coffee as well. Nice.
Here's what happened this morning when we checked out a few Starbucks to get caffeinated as well as to see how the promotion is going. We've applauded Starbucks for a variety of their marketing tactics, their ability to promote core values that attach themselves to their products, and their overall brilliance.
Today, however is a different story. I went to my usual Starbucks on the way to the airport this morning and ordered my Grande coffee and paid for it. After doing so, I asked the guy behind the counter about the promotion, and he told me that I should have ordered a Tall and would have gotten it for free. My loss. Conversely, Paul went to his local Starbucks, and the staff was offering free coffees to everyone before they ordered. The guy in front of him ordered a Grande coffee (just like I did), and they convinced him to take a Tall for free. And they gave him a scone.
When I got to the airport, I figured I could use another jolt, and went to the Starbucks at the terminal to get a free Tall. When I asked for it, they told me the promotion didn't begin until 9am. Huh?
Three Starbucks. Three different experiences. This says a lot about how the greatest marketing plan can go awry. And there's a lesson here for radio stations. We conduct dozens of promotions each year, many in conjunction with large, important clients. Yet, how much attention is paid to the people on the front lines, where the marketing plan can easily fall apart? Are your promotions staffed by interns, or by station ambassadors? Do they know what the promotion is about, are armed with "talking points," and actively engaged in insuring that it's a positive experience for everyone involved? If you are doing a promotion where you're dependent on a retailer's execution, have you made sure they understand all aspects of the promotion and are representing your station well? These are basic, yet important elements of any promotion, and too often, more time is spent on developing the promotion plan and not enough is invested in good, basic execution.
There's a lot of positive lessons all of us can learn from Starbucks. And today, the lesson was on what not to do.