Let’s start here, with Groupon.com. From obscurity to the front page of Forbes, Groupon poses to become the fastest company to be earn $1 billion. They are already valued at over a billion and have close $500 million in revenue in less than 17 months. Their model is brilliant, and as anyone would explain, its a win-win-win for everyone involved. Yes, businesses must offer exceptional discounts on their products and services, but in exchange, they garner new and unexpected customers, while only paying when they actually make a sale. The consumers benefit for lower prices on items they already purchase, as well as inexpensive introductions to companies and products they may have been interested in buying, all without the hassle, hustle and head spin of most modern marketing. An email arrived each day offering a new and different deal. They just need to decide if they want to buy or not. And finally, Groupon has managed to make out extrodinarily well. They sell other peoples products for them, thus getting a cut of the revenue for acting as the marketing department. They acquire hundreds of thousands of leads for free or extremely cheap because they are offering an unlimited number of products at discounted rates. They even have divided they reach into cities communities to squeeze not just large corporations into the game, but to help small businesses shake the local community for potential customers.
4. Generic food in improved packaging
This one might be debated by some, but my stance is firm. Generic food in grocery stores around the country was (and in some cases, still is) horendous looking. So while some may argue that you are what you eat, package designers will argue your food will taste like the wrappers they came in. Poor product packaging has been the leading cause of lost sales, while other products have risen from bottom shelf dwellers to end-cap displays just because of excellent package designs. There was even the recent Tropicana redesign revolt that prompted the company to revert to it’s original design.
Safeway, for example has done an excellent job in designing their generic food line. I believe this effort is quite profitable. First, the only requirement of the generic food is that their price remain cheaper. Second, if the consumer is unfamiliar with any of the brands, the generic appears on equal playing fields without have spent a dime of advertising. Third, while coupons and sales will occasionally reduce popular brands to lower than generic prices, as long as the generic foods are cheaper, they will be viable alternatives. All the businesses have to determine, is how close they can get to the signature brands prices before their demand drops, an easy calculation given that they are the ones selling all the products. Sure makes it easy to determine price points and which foods should be next in line for a generic offering.
3. Sex in the City
Countless episodes and two movies later, Sex in the City is still selling. And not cheap kids toys like Disney movies or Homer Simpson posters. They created a show that not only offered product placement, it revolved around it. Shoes, dresses, bags, bars, restaurants, even the latest vodkas have been featured endlessly on the show. Most product placements in TV and movies are annoying, awkward and down right obvious, but Sex in the City offered a unique spin on the concept. Overkill? Offend? Nope. Often. They regularly showcased new shoes and dining hot spots that became ubiquitous with the show that the viewers didn’t mind at all, they loved it. From an outsider’s perspective, the show could look just like a giant commercial with four uniquely attractive and distinct female models pitching product after product loosely spun around attracting men and having fun in the city. Classic consumerism in high heels.
2. Radio Hosts as product pitchmen
I never understood while this didn’t happen sooner. Talk radio is apart of the radio sphere. Some listen to radio less and less with the ease of mp3s, but commutes aren’t getting shorter for everyone. Radio DJ’s have long been apart of the rush hour or just the general relaying of news that matters to people with your taste in music. However, only recently have these same voices now been hired by companies to vocalize their wares. I’ve heard Djs hammer on about Five Hour Energy drinks, Subway sandwiches and even Stamps.com. The genius is that to the lazy ear, you only wait for the commercials to flip flop through the channels, and if the voice over the air doesn’t change, you might just listen straight through a block of radio host product pitches. It’s easy enough to get these folks to do a radio commercial, they’re already at a studio regularly, they have the voice for it, obviously, and need little extra incentive besides financial compensation for reading your 30-second ad.
1. Google Adwords
“THE game changing” as quoted recently on CNBC’s “Inside the Mind of Google”, Google Adwords has placed the power of customer acquisition in the hands of anyone with a computer and internet access. Use it to sell your company’s products or services, to run an affiliate network, to evaluated effective landing page designs to determining just the right headlines for a full-scale marketing campaign. Adwords allows the unknown to become a link right alongside the most relevant. Once only high price budgets could play in the space for certain markets, Google has leveled the field to endless keyword combinations, allows users to determine their budgets and bids and they have raked in ridiculous profits while customers learn the ropes of the program, improve the sales funnels and eventually cash in or crumble to the increasing competition. Google makes 98% of their profit from Adwords alone. 98%. This is their only business.