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February 20, 2004

Street Corner Selling - Lesson #2

Today’s lesson is the TEN MINUTE RULE.

Like many customer-service focused retailers, Starbucks has a standing policy that instructs their stores to open ten minutes before they are supposed to open and to stay open ten minutes after they are supposed to close. Implementing the Ten Minute Rule is a relatively easy way for retailers to surpass customer expectations and to get an edge against their competition.

Some drug dealers take a similar approach. Dealing Crack (Bruce A. Jacobs) tells us how street corner sellers apply the Ten Minute Rule to their business.

Sellers used a number of tactics to achieve “separation from the crowd.” The simplest method was to be out early and stay out late, monopolizing sales during inconvenient time slots. “Best time to sell in the mornin’. Six, seven a.m. Ain’t got to worry about nuthin’ for real. No cats [rivals], no police trippin’ on you. They [police] think you are on your way to school.” Skates - street corner seller

I like sellin’ late at night – three a.m. – ain’t nobidy out. The few car that do come through, they fixin’ to spend some money. When you see a car hit the corner, you already know who it is. Only a buyer … come through that late.
Fade – street corner seller

Late night, off-time sales also tend to attract the truly desperate crack fiend – one who probably is not able to spend a good deal of money or one who may ask for credit or try to pull a scam. Yet, given the fierce competition an stagnating demand, stray sales become more important than ever.

Street Corner Selling Curriculum:
Lesson #1: Customer Acquisition
Lesson #2: Ten Minute Rule
Lesson #3: Procurement
Lesson #4: Merchandising
Lesson #5: Angel Customers and Demon Customers
Lesson #6: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 1)
Lesson #7: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 2)


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» Exceeding Expectations from Branding Blog
John Moore, in Brand Autopsy has a great lesson for exceeding your customer's expectations. From his days at Starbucks, Moore passes along the 10-minute rule. He then uses it to lead into the second part in a series on Street [Read More]


Media Tour: Free Press Makes Cents!
By: Bill Nissim, 2005 ©

What is a Media Tour and how can it positively impact my bottom line? Many years ago, I was asking myself the same question. When our Public Relations (PR) agency first mentioned this concept, I immediately assumed it is something that authors and actors do when promoting their latest, creative endeavourer! Whatever the term “media tour” might mean to you, in the PR business – it’s free money!

Media Tour Defined:
A media tour is simply a method for taking your message to a variety of communication outlets with the end result of free placement. For example, if your organization is hosting a food drive in the near future, your best bet for free media coverage might include “pitching” the local city paper to run a story on your event. In this manner, your assured a certain percent of readership will not only read the piece, but will attend in support of the food drive. This process works well for both a single or yearly events. The use of a media tour for developing and promoting a brand, however, is quite another process.

Integrated Public Relations (IPR):
Whether you employ the services of an outside PR agency or utilize internal talent, the question of how you plan and implement a media tour can vary considerably. Most PR activities operate as a separate entity (in most organizations) or under the umbrella of marketing. By virtue of this separation, the PR department may be in pursuit of unrelated goals. Whatever the functional composition, the question of how PR operates to achieve strategic objectives and provides a measurable return on investment lies in its organization and execution. For these reasons, “integrating” PR into the overall business strategy is crucial.

Media Kit:
Most organizations possess a “press kit” or a variation that resembles one. In essence, a media kit contains the following essentials: company binder or folder, biographies of key personnel, an overview of the organization (single sheet), and a primary document or brochure that contains your core intent. When visiting with editors, keep the message your promoting and contents of your kit simple and clear. Your PR representative will guide you through the presentation of materials, responses to common questions, and how to obtain media placement commitments.

How does it work?
The process of developing a media tour can be reduced to four constituents: Strategic Intent, IPR Design, Execution, and ROI. Every organization has some message, event, or offering they wish to promote. In addition to other marketing activities, utilizing the “free press” as a means to reach your end goal makes good business sense.

Strategic Intent: From your vision and mission statements, draw out your core intent for the year. Next, distill a single message you want to propagate throughout the organization and to your targeted audiences (donors). In short, your rallying cry should be reduced to a few key words.

IPR Design: Your strategic marketing plan details the promotional components (advertising, billboards, radio, PR) you will employ for the year and their specific roles. These “components” should be harmoniously integrated and support the strategic intent noted above. Your PR initiatives for the year, including a media tour, will be “designed” into the overall fabric of your plan. The next step includes how you will integrate free press into your business strategy.

Execution: The components of a media tour include a press kit, presentation material, and a representative (internal or external) schooled in interfacing with the press. The representative will set appointments with key editors of select media vehicles (TV, radio, trade magazines, newspapers, etc.) in advance and typically will schedule this tour over several consecutive days. The goal for every appointment is to reach an agreement on the free placement (editorial, radio spot, etc.), when it will run, and the desired venue.

ROI: The return on investment for this undertaking lies in media placements achieved minus your total expenses. After the tour concludes, your PR representative must maintain contact with editors to determine when the editorial will run and the equivalent cost for each venue achieved. In the subsequent weeks or months that follow, a tally of free placements and their associated costs constitute the variables needed to calculate your ROI . The economic outcome should exceed two to five times the initial investment. For example, I undertook a media tour that cost $15,000 over a two week period, but the return in free placement equated to over $200,000!

A Media Tour is an effective tool under certain circumstances. A business leader must weigh the financial benefit perceived by this endeavor versus all associated costs. Once an assessment confirms this approach makes good business sense, the next step includes defining your strategic intent followed by an intelligent IPR design. Paramount to achieving your objectives lies in the organization and execution of the tour. If properly developed, the benefits of achieving your strategic PR goals with minimal investment should yield a ROI that would make most analysts on Wall Street blush!

Hey Bill ... wrong message at the wrong time to the wrong audience. And you want people to hire you to take them on a media tour? (Oh my.) Re-shuffle your marketing deck of cards my brother.

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