I don’t know how many of you were watching the federal budget drill on television, but I watched a lot of it (I’m now retired, I think).
I caught a number of segments on Fox News, and one of the commercials featured a young girl named “Susie.”
Susie started out selling lemonade in her front yard and because of her ability to use current technology, she grew her business into a large corporation to include a swing set in her new corporate office (all of this in 30 seconds).
As I watched this commercial, I thought of the two little girls in our neighborhood who set up a lemonade stand in one of our local parks most Saturdays during the summer. They have a shady location near the play area and the water pool area.
Their location is a favorite place for young parents to take their children in the play area or to run through the water sprinklers. The park is also a popular route for local bikers and runners.
I don’t know whether they are making any money, but they are serious about what they are doing. What I found interesting was the marketing. It all started with a hand made sign advertising “Cool, Really good Lemonade.”
I start thinking about their approach, and I am reminded how many billboards and road signs I have seen over the years. But I must admit the kids’ sign focused my attention. These girls had created almost a textbook marketing approach: An appealing product, placed in a prime location, and a tantalizing slogan.
These kids had a product with a strong identity. They might have diversified to include juices or tea or perhaps some home-baked cookies, but they were clear on their concept. Their business enterprise illustrated one of the basic rules of marketing, “determine what you do best; then set out to do it.”
These pigtailed marketing gurus had targeted a specific audience. I doubt their elementary school curriculum included market research, but their strategy was textbook perfection.
All of us who live in Savannah know that our summers are hot and humid. The positioning of the lemonade stand at a physical exercise area is another example of another marketing principle: “Find your niche and exploit it.”
The kids also employed another important marketing principle “keep it simple”. It is easy to read a sign containing only two or three well-chosen words. It is like writing an introduction for the subject line in an email. “Cool, Really Good Lemonade” tells the potential buyer what they will get.
The girls also employed yet another principle, “Sell the benefits.” Their handmade sign “Cool, Really Good,”…what more needs to be said or what more does the potential customer need to know?
I’ll wager few people are questioning sugar content or price when they are hot and sweaty or just need a break from chasing the little ones around the playground. The kids sold the benefit.
Great marketers — from our little girls to the giants of industry — share one important marketing skill; the ability to boil down the complexities of their product to its core.
Examples include IBM “We make it happen;” Burger King “Get it your Way;” and USO “Until Everyone comes home.”
The next time you are driving on a major highway check out some of the billboards — ”Eat more Chicken” (famous ad by Chick-Fil-A.)
I recognize that your business is probably a lot more complicated than a lemonade stand, but I think we all can learn a lesson from the two young ladies who captured my attention. I hope they set up again this year. I’ll make sure I stop by for a $1.00 lemonade one hot summer afternoon.
Kids are smart.
Chuck St. Arnaud is the chairman emeritus of Sysconn New Media. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 912-224-2017. Go to his blog website at chuckstarnaud.com.