Monday, May 13, 2013

It's all in the marketing

Just like every business owner, I am constantly trying to think up the service or product that will launch the cafe to a whole other level; that one thing that will result in lines around the block and my bank account to slide into the black.

I'm not even picky -- it doesn't have to be cafe-related.

The thing is, it's those kind of ideas that make news: the guy who made a mint off of Post-Its; Famous Amos and his meh chocolate chip cookies. For most of us, though, it's a crap shoot whether the idea will take off or not...and usually not.

I'm beginning to think that I'm using the wrong sort of logic in anticipating what the public wants.

This was my thought as I smeared my cheap drugstore-bought moisturizer on my face this morning. I've read article after article revealing that this stuff works just as good, if not better, than the concoctions sold for hundreds of dollars at cosmetic counters in high end department stores. It's not like this is a big secret.

What I want to know is who are these women who are buying the expensive stuff and how do you market to them...with a straight face. You would think that someone who has over $500 to purchase a face cream that doesn't especially work has a lot of money, right? And you would think that someone who has that much money has a certain amount of smarts, wouldn't you? Just to be able to hold on to that kind of wealth, you would have to at least be smart enough to know that paying for nothing is...well...stupid.

Okay, what I really want to know is how do I come up with a useless product to sell to people with more money than brains. Which is my problem. Common sense always takes over and I know I could never sell  people on the idea that smearing gold or orchid dust on your face makes you prettier than what we poor slobs smear on our faces. At some point I'd just look at them incredulously and say, "You idiot. Are you really going to fall for this?"

In order to put this over, I imagine you would have to buy into it just a little to be able to deliver your spiel with a modicum of sincerity. It would require something organic happening to your brain cells making you believe enough in bee excrement to not to allow a snort of laughter to escape as you're convincing someone to slap it on their face.

On the other hand, you're selling to people who never have to choose between going on vacation and replacing their 20-year-old car and probably never give a second thought about how many day's float you can get if you mail the electric bill payment instead of paying on line. Meanwhile I'm living in van down by the river. So who, exactly, is the idiot?

Deep down I think that if I can figure out this particular conundrum, I will have discovered all the secrets of the universe and, perhaps, even cured cancer. Maybe that's when your brain undergoes the physical transformation that causes you to be convinced that a diamond studded USB drive is a worthwhile reason to dispose of $6,000.

I believe the clinical term for such a "transformation" is lobotomy.

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