Even though I’m a web marketing consultant and strategist, I always try to pay attention to what “brick and mortar” businesses are doing. As Chris Brogan said in a recent Third Tribe broadcast, you should always look for the “Starbucks oatmeal strategy” you could implement in your online business. Meaning, think outside your current set of offerings (coffee in this case) and see what complimentary offerings you could create that your customers want. I’m a firm believer most all tactics and strategies can be implemented online in some fashion, and I like to keep a list of them to discuss with clients.
So I’m downtown at a new hot restaurant in Raleigh on Glenwood Ave called simply The Diner, trying to decide what I want for lunch when BAM! this ad jumps out at me:
Now, I’ve seen ads in menus for quite some time – Cheesecake Factory is the most obvious example that comes to mind – but a product offering ad-sponsored by another company? This is a small business marketing tactic worth some analysis. My impressions:
- It isn’t excessive – Sponsoring every single menu item would be really cheesy and dilute The Diner’s brand. I would wonder where exactly I was eating. (It would end up looking like an Auto Trader magazine.)
- The products are complimentary – Customers can feel good about eating a light-styled club sandwich with turkey and avocado on wheat that is “endorsed” by Rapid Fitness Club gym, whether they are a member or not. They also feel good that The Diner cares enough to offer something “gym-friendly”, again another jewel in the branding crown.
- The businesses are complimentary – This is a win-win promotion for all parties. Eating affects workouts and vice -versa, right?
- Location Location Location – I know that’s a real estate mantra, but it applies here because – surprise! Rapid Fitness has a location within walking distance of The Diner. Easy to imagine the word of mouth lift this gives this tactic right? “Rapid Fitness, where’s that Mrs. or Ms Server?” Oh just walk x blocks down etc etc
CUSTOMER: “Rapid Fitness, where’s that Mrs. or Ms Server?”
SERVER: “Oh its close by. Just walk down X blocks etc etc”
Is this a tactic you could employ successfully? Would you be comfortable with it? How could you make it work for your very-small business? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.