While making lunch today at home, I happened to catch a re-run of some “news” by CNBC. The story, titled “Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing,” originally aired, as far as I can tell, November 2009.
Feel free to check out the video of the machine at the link above. For the quick Reader’s Digest version:
“CNBC also looks at the company’s latest hi-tech contribution to beverage technology: the Freestyle Jet Machine-a next generation “soda fountain on steroids” that puts buyers in the driver’s seat. With a sleek design and touch screen technology, consumers can custom-make drinks to satisfy their own taste buds by blending up to 104 variations of Coca-Cola’s sodas, juices, teas and flavored water. And, while buyers are filling their cups, the Freestyle is funneling priceless data to Coca-Cola headquarters about how much and even when each drink combination is being poured. It’s marketing treasure for Coke.”
This was the first I’d heard of the “Jet,” as it’s called. My first thought was how customized the soda machine was for the consumer. It provided exactly what each person was looking for, without having to look anywhere else, which is just brilliant. That got me to wondering where the word “customized” came from. I have a thing about understanding words, and a side hobby is checking out the etymology of words we all use every day.
“to modify or build according to individual or personal specifications or preference: to customize an automobile. “
Curious as to how that related to “customers,” I looked that up and found a passage of interest from Wikipedia:
“The word derives from “custom,” meaning “habit”; a customer was someone who frequented a particular shop, who made it a habit to purchase goods of the sort the shop sold there rather than elsewhere, and with whom the shopkeeper had to maintain a relationship to keep his or her “custom,” meaning expected purchases in the future.”
Obviously the whole goal of marketing and advertising is to acquire customers who continue to come back, i.e, to create ongoing relationships with customers. Coca Cola has done a great job of making it easy for the customers to participate with their product by creating the Jet, which also reports back excellent marketing data (what sodas customers are requesting from the machine). This kind of consumer analysis helps dial Coke right in to the minds of their best customers.
The question is, is there a way other companies can create similar relationships without spending millions of dollars? Why yes, there is.
It’s no secret that The Internet has connected the world. And a lot of us get our information from searching online. This has resulted in consumers educating themselves right up to the point of purchase, before a call is made or before a visit to a brick and mortar, credit card in hand.
Here’s the key word: Search.
Help a consumer out. Create content your consumer wants (the drink). Organize your content so it’s easy to find and access (bright colored soda machine with a display of everything that’s available). Luckily we already have Search Engines like Google to help consumers find the content. Whether or not they find your content depends on a lot of factors, not all of which I will try to cover here.
Suffice to say, organize your content in such a way that the Search Engines can easily serve it up (make it easy for Google, in other words), as well as match what the consumer is looking for (match their search phrases), and you’ll give yourself a leg up over the competition. And no, I’m not referring to expensive Pay-Per-Click campaigns. I’m talking about something we call “Topic-Optimized Marketing” that utilizes long tail keyword research.
For more information on this market development strategy, click on the button above to join The Association’s mailing list, or request a free consultation with me (or both, hey, I’m easy). We can help you come up with a custom and an effective marketing plan to fit your company’s budget.