Look around any Starbucks, Paradise Bakery/Café and even some remodeled McDonald’s and it doesn’t take long to spot the entrepreneur or the budding business consultancy owner. Guilty as charged. An associate once said to me “I know the coffee is expensive – but, it’s whole lot cheaper than paying office rent somewhere.”
Lots of small businesses must agree. This is the new small-business paradigm and apparently some B2B marketers have become very savvy to it. Case in point: Lake City Bank not only bought my coffee this morning at the North Meridian Paradise – but, the barista behind the counter handed me a free sample: an actual dollar bill with promo message attached.
He actually did a great job communicating with me with a :10-:15 second greeting that was sincere and felt spontaneous – although I am sure he was reciting it for the 300th time. “Today is your lucky day. Lake City Bank is treating you to coffee this morning and I have a free sample for you as well courtesy of Lake City Bank,” he said.
Having deftly delivered his message, he handed me my cup, a flyer with business cards attached and what looked like an amazingly accurate facsimile of a US One Dollar bill with a “coupon” attached. It was an actual freshly pressed dollar. He assured me the money was real and mine to keep – or, I can return to the bank for an incentive aimed specifically at small businesses – like me.
Free Coffee. Free Cash.
It was a simple and affordable impression that probably cost the bank $3-4 for a very TARGETED introduction. Free money and free coffee in a target-rich business environment will likely be an effective promotional strategy. While I have seen their signs and have a vague idea of who they are, I am now more aware of their business and even feel a little indebted to them as well.
It reminded of key questions I should be continually asking for my clients:
- Where do their best customers spend their time?
- How do we speak to them and relate to them “where they live”?
- What are unconventional ways in which we can connect with them?
- How do we break thru the clutter and make a unique and lasting impression?
Thanks for the coffee and thanks for the free money. And, thanks for reminding me what a nice, simple promotional effort looks like. The whole exchange reminds me of how important is to create a relationship and possibly even make friends before you ask someone to be a customer.