A blog is like a box of chocolates – Lessons from the marketing challenge

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When we came up with the idea of blogging our attempts to raise some money for my boy’s childcare centre playground refurb, we thought it would be a laugh to see if we could come up with some unconventional marketing campaigns to flog what is well-worn fundraising stock (ie. the humble Freddo and his mate the koala).

Here is a quick summary of the ideas we tried:
- selling with humour
- selling with threats (albeit in good humour)
- selling via perceived shortages
- selling via lifestyle outcome (ie. “I want to get out of this place!” – see above image)

Here are some ideas which we didn’t get to try:
- selling via recommendation/sponsorship (“The Boss says ‘buy a Freddo!’ “)
- anti-selling (“Say no to smartarse marketing slogans – buy a Freddo $1″)
- Office lookalike competitions
- ‘Diet starts tomorrow’
- ’0.00003% fat-free’
- locating Freddos in the Ladies toilets

The final wash-up:
- nearly four boxes of 48 Freddos/Caramellos sold @$1 (still finishing up this final box)
- near-zero theft rate

Analysis:
- People chose our chocs over others because we gave them interesting content (that made them laugh…or in one case – tear it up in disgust)
- People were less likely to steal because they knew who was behind the Freddos (we had a substantially-lower level of theft compared to other choc fundraisers)
- The initial gimmicks got some great laughs
- People made up their mind about your offering pretty quickly
- People who bought at the start will more like continue to buy from you (and vice versa)
- We identified our customer-evangelists who were our highest spenders as well as spread ‘the word’
- Customers expected a new and funnier campaign daily. When they didn’t get one, they still bought (although they would give you a good-humoured serve)

How does this little exercise relate to blogging?

Is your blog like a box of Freddos? Is it a commodity or is there a high degree of differentiation compared to other blogs (or even other media?) Do you know if your readers are coming just for the content or the interaction? Do they see your blog as a means to pass the day or something they draw information for practical application? Based on this, how do you package your product? Do you dress it up with witty commentary, or do you focus on newsreader-like dissemination of the facts?

Answer these questions (as a start) and you will find that you’re on your way to building a group of sticky clientele that will keep on buying your virtual Freddos.

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