Big opportunities in thinking small

Have you ever heard of Snapple?

It’s an iced tea beverage company here in the US.

Here’s something fascinating about them…

When Snapple launched their new mango flavoured ice tea, they contracted the mango growers association to put stickers on millions of mangoes that said…

“Now available in Snapple.”

How brilliant is that?

Think about it. Somebody who is buying a mango is by definition someone who could be a mango lover, right?

So who better than an actual mango lover as the market for a mango flavored beverage! :)

That’s gotta be one of the greatest examples of message to market match… and a lesson in how to get in front of the right people at the right time.

But here’s the thing… To arrive at these type of “out of the box” ideas, you need to start from where that ONE ideal customer actually is… then, trace backwards from there.

For example.

Say, you have a product that gets featured in a number of stores across the country.

The tendency is now to go on this huge macro-level thinking spree — how to get all the people run into all the stores and buy all of your stuff.

But that’s not where your biggest opportunity lies.

It’s like trying to convince 100% of people 10% of the way… instead of convincing 10% of people 100% of the way.

The reality is, you will much more likely have an impact and dominate that one store in one town, than trying to think of all the stores together as a whole. That’s too overwhelming and too big of a nut to crack.

Zipcar is a good example of that.

When they first started, they were struggling with raising capital to expand quickly.

This forced them to narrow their focus… and instead of trying to be present all over the country, they targeted Boston area only.

They went even narrower than that: They targeted just ONE quadrant in Boston.

Another problem they initially had was… people were concerned about joining Zipcar fearing there wouldn’t be enough cars available when they wanted one.

But because Zipcar was now targeting only that one quadrant, they could easily afford to invest in enough cars to make people confident to become members.

And people started signing up…

Soon enough, Zipcar was dominating that one small part of the city, and was ready to expand to the next quadrant, and then the next one… and so on.

They took over all Boston this way… and then expanded to other cities across the country.

Moral of the story?

It’s easier to “crack the code” when you narrow your focus down to a very granular level. Your ONE unit.

So take stock of your limited resources and time and pick a scale where you can actually make an impact.

The big opportunity? Is just a multiplier of your one unit. Once you have that figured out, it’s easy to scale.

One quadrant becomes the whole city, becomes every city in the country. One store becomes 144 stores… one mango becomes every mango in every supermarket in US.

Once you have the algorithm… the sky’s the limit :)

Check out the Jamie Smart episode of MoreCheeseLessWhiskers and see how we applied this thinking to a best selling book campaign…


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