Yesterday, after a busy day packed with engaging meetings, torrential brainstorming and long term planning, I was pretty exhausted so I went out with my beautiful wife for dinner.
While sipping on some wine, she started telling me about her day, and how she had brought the kids to the local indoor playground. While there, the business had a little station set up where the kids can write a letter to Santa and they would mail it to him, and he’d send a letter back.
The moment she told me that, a light bulb went off in my head…
What an EXCELLENT way to gather data with a very non-invasive approach.
Now, for the record, I have no clue if that’s what they were doing – so I don’t want you to assume that they are, or that anyone else that does that is.
But regardless, what a great way!
I mean, every major city has a “letter to Santa” system. Some allow you to drop your letters into any mail slot and they’ll take care of it for you. Some have special collection boxes just for those letters. And I’ve seen some offer to do it all through email.
We all know that in business, data is the name of the game. The more you know, the more you can do with what you know. And like anything, the DOING is what matters.
We all have tons of data that sits around untouched…
Imagine if a major city collected all these letters and organized them all… They may potentially know…
- parents names
- kids names
And I’m sure they can get creative and know a whole lot more and the list can go on.
Now what if a major city gathered 500K letters, and realized that 25K of them had boys aged 12 that wanted a specific toy sold at Walmart. Do you not think Walmart would PAY for that information? Can you think of ANYTHING that can be done with data and leveraged into fortunes?
I mean, you see it all the time in the mobile app business. A new app comes out, it’s completely free, brings on 20 million users, and gets bought out for 500 million despite the balance sheet being in the negative since day one with absolutely ZERO revenue generated. Are these buyouts crazy? No. They’re buying the data, and the potential power behind that data.
Let’s bring it back to a smaller scale, the mom-and-pop shop that decides to put this into play themselves and offer a “letter to Santa” and collect that data.
Well, for starters they can mail a generic return letter from Santa, but they can also mail a letter from the business saying something like “Santa has received your letter and has his elves working hard, and in the meantime he’s asked us (the company) to send you this little gift certificate as a thank you for taking the time to send him a letter”.
And what if that certificate needed to be used by a certain date.
And what if that letter also invited you to a special lunch with Santa.
And what if that letter also invited the parents to send a gift to their friends all from Santa?
And what if…
That’s just “off the cuff” and I’m sure with a bit of time and strategic planning it can be improved significantly, but I think you get the point.
Remember a while back I said “marketing is everything, but not everything is marketing”? Well, this can either be a one-off thing that a business does, and never puts it into a system that serves a purpose, or it can be turned into a lucrative marketing piece.
At the end of the day, that’s what running a good business and being “on the ball” is all about: being aware of everything around you, and seeing the opportunities.
What other things are happening all around you that with a bit of thinking can be turned into excellent opportunities?
Take a look, I think you’d be surprised.
To your success,