Provide your customers with the value of one cup of coffee at a time.
There are two cups of coffee that I will remember for long before dawn. While both of them generate word of mouth in a sense, the word of mouth I attribute to one of them could be certainly termed bad press.
But before telling you the story of two vastly different cups of coffee, let me ask you this. Did you feel refreshed after purchasing a double-shot icepresso on a sunny day from your favourite barista?
Or rather, did you regret your purchase because the coffee beans were utterly fried?
Your customers, and especially you (because we all, in a sense, are customers), should never walk away from a transaction feeling like they got screwed over. Rather, you should strive to provide the exact opposite feeling — to leave the person buying feeling like they got a wonder of a deal.
There’s a quote I like. “Money doesn’t talk anymore. People do. That’s why you need to rethink your marketing strategy.” Shame on me but I don't know whose tongue these words belong to. Yet, there’s still a lesson to learn from whoever voiced it.
Customers talk (positively) about your product only if you provide value.
And if customers talk about your product, that's cash flow positive.
Take it from the Italians
Me, you, and everyone else in the room have at least once in our lives paid 5, 6, or even a damn 7$ for a cup of coffee.
How did that make you feel?
While I can’t speak on your behalf, I can tell you how I paid 7.59$ for an almond milk vente cappuccino. I dared not even think that the coffee wasn't good. (Disclaimer: the coffee was horrible).
And I never spoke of it again.
But there is one Italian story I will always be glad to share.
In Italy, there's an unspoken rule for ordering coffee at a base price. Wherever it is that you’re wondering out and about in Italy, just say al banco at the bar. Literally translating to at the bar, the phrase will set you off to any coffee of choice for not 5, not 6, not 7, but for 1$. If you’ve never been there, what are you waiting for?
Purchasing a cup of coffee for 1$ is value. You can bet that I wouldn't leave the café unsatisfied after consuming a 1$ caffeine-infused beverage once we compare it to a 7.59$ Starbucks’ almond milk vente cappuccino. That’s where the word of mouth starts going.
Ask yourself, what are you providing to your customers that would make them go out of their way to tell their relatives, friends, neighbours, and readers about your product?
What could you do to make any customer go out of his way? What could you do to make a customer value his cup of coffee so much that he would tell a story on Medium, writing about how it was so good and well-priced?
Then ask yourself this question, “How can I make sure they’ll go out of their way?” For marketing to be truly effective, it can’t emphasise selling. Contrary, it must emphasise the value your product provides to your customers.
In this specific case, the value provided is a saved 5$ bill each morning. In other cases, you can use your marketing to emphasise the emotions your customers will receive after their purchase, the time they will save by using the product, or, again, the money they will keep in their pockets. In essence, utilise your marketing to convince customers of an added value to your product.
You must emphasise value in your marketing.
Back to the 7.59$ Starbucks’ almond milk vente cappuccino I purchased in Helsinki. This pricing strategy may work for a week, a month, a year or maybe even two. Eventually, however, this business will go out of business.
Because sooner or later, an Italian café will open up somewhere in the city and boom, Starbucks’ pricing strategy is a bust.
One customer after another will make their morning coffee stop at this petite café that waves an Italian flag at the door. They will learn about the “unspoken rule” of al banco and each morning they will save a whopping 5$ bill on a cup of coffee by purchasing theirs from the Italians.
So, when that Italian café does open up, it is going to be the hottest coffee retailer Helsinki has ever seen. Not because they are selling coffee, but because they are selling 5$ bills all day long to caffeine-deprived customers.
If you want the spotlight, you must sell money.
Unless you’re selling real life unicorns of sorts, your product is not likely to be much different from your competition. Hence, in a sense, you're selling money (read: 5$ bills) to the customers who choose you over your competition. In this case, it is only wise to stop asking how you can shake up the last pennies your customers’ pockets may hold and instead start asking how you can provide them with value that your competition couldn’t match.
You're in the business of providing the highest value for the money your customer is paying you. The customer will talk about the product or service that he or she receives the most value from.
Capitalise on it.