This is something I’ve thought for many years: If you were a retailer, why wouldn’t you have something completely unusual to lure people in?
Restaurants have it easy (never thought you’d hear that, right?).
Just create a menu item so outrageous that people simply have to come in to try it. Or at least see it.
Entire TV shows are built around this!
Stick with me. You don’t have to be a restaurant to use this content marketing concept, but lemme take you there with a few more examples.
That’s my son up above. And a 28″ pizza from Benny Marconi’s in Roanoke. If he had eaten it in 28 minutes, without throwing up, he’d have won $280. Naturally, being a 15 year old, he had to try. And then five more of us ate the remaining 3/4 he couldn’t finish.
Roanoke, VA, has no shortage of amazing restaurants. Probably 50 of them in the greater downtown area, and it’s not that big of a downtown.
I’m betting you have a lot of competition in your industry, too. Do you have a metaphorical 28″ pizza on your menu?
What about a Pie Stuffed Donut?
Maybe you don’t need a single-item schtick.
Maybe you can keep people coming back by offering something unique on a regular basis. Wake ‘n’ Bake Donuts keeps it fresh with ridiculous limited-time donuts. Like a stuffing a Pop Tart in one. Or an entire piece of pie.
Would I normally pay $3+ for a single donut? No.
Did my receipt say $32 that morning? Yes. Yes it did.
For your brand, that’s a fun way to generate repeat business, word of mouth, social shares, and ongoing interest.
But beware of disappointing people.
Now, here’s the big, fat, super-important caveat. DON’T trick people.
Ever driven through Texas and seen miles of billboards for The Big Texan’s 72oz Steak Challenge? It’s $72, but eat it in an hour and it’s free. You get into their hall of fame, and they livestream your attempt.
I’d been wanting to go here for more than a decade (they’ve been doing this since 1960). Driven past it countless times. Finally, on a road trip with two friends, we decided to stop. Buuuuut….
Once you get there, if you want to share that 72oz steak and skip the promotion, it costs $216.77. They don’t mention that on the billboards. They only reveal the regular price when you try to order.
I was crushed. I hate being duped. It gives me a vomitous feeling deep in my stomach. We got up, left, and went for burritos. I’ll never go back there.
Whatever unique, special, fun item or gimmick you’re promoting, make it legit. Don’t bait and switch. Don’t trick people. You’ll lose them for good, and they’ll tell their friends that you suck.
Just to wrap this up in a tidy to-go box, here’s the
takeout takeaway: Think about how you can add something unique and special to your product or service mix. Consider:
- Limited edition colors, patterns or flavors
- Premium versions
- Over-the-top services that are really only there to get attention
- Ridiculous (but legit!!!) contests and promotions
- VIP treatments
It’s OK to get outlandish. If you’re selling an umbrella, why not offer a VIP exclusive experience where the customer is flown to the factory, selects the fabrics, helps assemble it, chooses the wood grain for the handle, then tries it in your test lab? What if you priced that at $8,499?
Would it even matter if someone took you up on that? No. In fact you’d make a killing if they did. But more realistically you’d get a lot of people talking about it, gain media coverage, position yourself as unique and premium, and probably sell more of your regular umbrellas as a result.
Maybe even a little crazy.