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A couple of months back, we saw a Groupon for a local frozen yogurt place that had recently opened.  We looked into it and found that the prices were about the same as a couple of other places we'd recently visited and enjoyed.  They operate under the ‘new' model where you pay by the ounce, so you get as much yogurt as you want, put as many toppings on as you want, and pay at the register based on the weight.

The Groupon was for a $40 gift card that you would pay $20 for, effectively giving you a 50% discount.  Even though we hadn't been to this particular establishment, we took a chance.

When we went in for the first time, it wasn't awful but it wasn't spectacular.  The first thing that I noticed was that it was very small.  They basically sublet a small space within a grocery store, so this was by far the smallest frozen yogurt place I'd been into.  They had three machines, each that dispensed two flavors, or that you could swirl together by dispensing from the middle lever.

The yogurt was good.  The limited selection bugged me a little bit (as did the fact that they didn't have crushed peanut butter cups as a topping that first time) but for the price, I was happy.

Both my wife and I became fans of them on Facebook, and a few days after we first went in, we saw a post that basically said that they were now serving nine flavors.  I didn't think anything about this until the next time we were about to go in, when I wondered, just how did they offer nine flavors.  This didn't make sense for two reasons:

  1. Most yogurt machines at these places have two bins per machine.
  2. This place was so limited on space I couldn't see where they'd put another machine in without either re-configuring the space or having yogurt machines all over the store.

My question was answered when I went in and saw that things were just as they were.  They didn't add any machines at all.  So how did they go from six flavors to nine?

mb-lightbulb201308They simply provided a ‘name' to each of the ‘blended' flavors on each machine, and I've noticed that they slightly modified what flavors go into each machine.

The first time we were there, they had chocolate and vanilla in the same machine.  The second time we went they had vanilla and blueberry in one machine, and the third flavor, which was just blending these together, was ‘Blueberry a la mode'.  They moved the chocolate over to a different machine, and when they added White Chocolate Mouse, they were able to combine these into ‘Chocolate Snow Storm' as the third flavor.

I loved it.

They weren't lying and they never actually presented it as we're serving more flavors.  But, since they were using social media as an outlet, it allowed them to list nine flavors instead of six all while serving the same stuff they were before.

Think outside the box

How many of us are in the business of marketing ourselves?  The answer is that we all are.  Every time you apply for a job, or even go to your current one, you're marketing yourself in a way.

Every time you meet someone new, whether it be a blind date, a new co-worker, a new boss, or anyone that you may interact with again in the future, you're marketing yourself in some way.

This can be applied anywhere

Keep this in mind, and also think about the frozen yogurt place when you try to differentiate yourself in some way.  You don't have to re-invent yourself. You don't have to change everything.  Heck, as they showed, you may not need to really change anything except how you present yourself.

Think about this from a clothing perspective.  Do you need a brand new outfit, top to bottom, to stand out?  It would probably work, but maybe you just need one thing to make yourself different.  A new shirt.  A new tie.  A new scarf.  It can be simple yet it can add that extra ‘flavor'.

The yogurt place didn't jump to the top of my favorites list as a result of their clever marketing shift, but they did win a little more appreciation on that second visit.

Oh, and the fact that they had crumbled peanut butter cups on that visit certainly helped, too!