beansinscoop I have a friend who owns a local coffee shop and on Monday he began a promotion to give a free cup of coffee to anyone who walked through the door between the hours of 7AM to 10 AM. 

I liked the promotion from the beginning, but that’s because I’m a caffeine junkie and free is always a good price.

I did not work with him on the planning or promotion of the event but I was very happy to see him investing in activity to grow his consumer base and I got a good Cup O’ Joe in the process.

Like any effort I come across in marketing, I was very interested in seeing the results of the activity.  The best result in this effort would be an up-tick in new customers coming through the door, indicating that the visibility of the organization was improved, at least for the period of time the promotion was running.  The long term objective is that these new consumers would find that the product was tasty, well produced and served in a way that made it worth stopping here for coffee instead of a nearby ‘char-bucks’ – there are three within a 2 mile radius – all with drive-thru access.

I’ve had quite a few conversation with my friend about the company, his background, and the product.  I know he’s very proud of the product he offers the market – he buys his own beans from the importers, roasts them in a commercial roaster, intimately understanding the process and how it creates flavor in the product.  He then grinds them particular to the brewing method and finally brews them in whatever drink you’re wanting just as they come out of the grinder fresh and with a delicious aroma – I love walking into his shop.

Today was the first day of the special promotion to drop in and get the free cup of coffee.  I showed up near the end of the event at around 9:40A.  I looked around and saw that there were two other free coffee drinkers in the shop (could tell by the cup they serve the free drink in), a customer drinking an iced drink and the Barista.  I made it five when I came in with my copy of ‘Advertising Age’ under my arm.

Maybe I am expecting too much, but free coffee of the quality this guy produces is like manna from heaven – you just have to have some and once you do, you would make it high on your list of preferred coffee vendors.  I expected a much larger crowd.  Maybe the flow of customers was larger earlier – I’m waiting to discuss the event, it’s promotion and the results.

Here is what I know of the events promotion so far – they printed several yard signs and posted them on the street around the intersection near the shop.  It’s how I found out about it actually.

I do think this is a good way to get the casual drive-by customer, but consider for a moment that he does not have a drive-thru.  A consumer will have to park their car, and go inside to get the free coffee. 

Hmm… I began to see a few wrinkles in the plan emerging, so I thought I’d take a look at what he was doing in online promotion / marketing.

  • Main Website – Their main website does not mention the promotion. 
    • It does offer a different promotion however – mention that you saw the website when you go in and you get a different promotion; a two-for-one offer.
  • Twitter – The last tweet from the shop was June 24th – almost a month ago.  The tag on their Twitter pages says “Support local coffee! Roasted fresh on site! Follow us for daily drink specials and get the inside scoop. :D”  They have 36 followers on Twitter.
  • Facebook Fan Page – The last post on their Facebook page was July 11 and that was a pitch to buy their newly designed T-shirts.  The Barista was NOT wearing when I went in today.   They have 139 fans of their page too, but no announcement of the free coffee promotion.
  • Yelp – Yelp also has a listing for them, but the address is wrong and it has too few reviews to be a good representation of them.
  • Phone – Their voice message that comes up when you phone in and they do not answer does not mention it.

Summary – On the face of it I’d suggest that my friend has a disjointed sense of what he want to accomplish with his marketing and is investing meager resources on a hit-miss approach.  I see this regularly, in one-on-one conversations with prospects for in our consulting practice at TSMB media, at social events and industry gatherings.

My friend, like sooo many other people, are doing one thing, or another, but I’ve not seen yet where he is connecting them to maximum effect. 

My recommendation is to get the disconnected parts of his online presence and off line marketing working for him in a single effort to drive visibility of the company and customers to his location.   Use his online presence to listen to the market and find more ways to push more java bean juice into peoples hands.

I love this guy, I like his product and will sitting with him a bit to cover what my research has come up with, get more input from him and come up with an affordable strategy that he himself can pursue to  improve results.  Look for an update on the ‘Coffee Shop Case Study’ in a few weeks.