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Ultimate Marketing Plan: The Power Of Jelly Donuts

Ultimate Marketing Plan: The Power Of Jelly Donuts

This article could be about how to write a winning headline since we all know how important headlines are in the journey of an entrepreneur, salesman, and marketers, right? And the formula-free one I’m going to share with you here today absolutely smashed it.

Or, it could be about the ninja targeting method I used to make a few dozen sales letters do the work of several thousand sales letters (You’ll want to put this concept in your idea swipe file!).

Or it could be about the amazing power of jelly donuts, which I’ve used in dozens of marketing campaigns over the last 30 years to practically force people to pay attention and/or take action – in this case generating a 42% response rate. Turns out it’s not just Homer Simpson that loves donuts!

Anyway, I couldn’t decide, so I’ll let you choose what you take from this article.

In this case study we’re going to be selling sandwiches, but no matter what kind of business you’re in, pay attention because I’ve used the EXACT same combination of psychological principles here to sell almost everything you can think of over the last 30 years including wholesale diamonds, dog kennels and info-products online.

So I’m figuring that marketing magpies like you lot can figure out how these concepts can be applied elsewhere too.

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secret method: cup shaker

Okay, so the business was selling sandwiches one at a time over the counter to hungry pedestrians and local businesses within walking distance at lunchtime.

My big idea was to set up a delivery service to feed the thousands of hungry employees at the biggest businesses in town just a few miles away. “We’ll 10X the business’, I declared.

It has been tried before I was told. They all have cafeterias. Security doesn’t allow cold calling. They are already serviced by local takeaway businesses including all the famous name franchises – and they’re all at war with each other on price.

But these naysayers didn’t know about my secret weapon. The ‘cup shaker’ (oh yeah and jelly donuts).

Every business has a ‘cup shaker’ – this is the person that, whenever someone gets married, retires, has a baby, a birthday, or some other reason to celebrate. They grab a cup and start extorting money from everyone to buy the present. You know the person I’m talking about here, right?

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The ‘cup shaker’ loves their role, they love being the center of attention, they’re extroverts, they crave significance, and they are usually female. These are just my observations over the years. And their self-appointed role has absolutely nothing to do with their paid position in the business.

They could be the lowest rung on the ladder, but still, be the ‘cup shaker’ in the business. And for what we want to achieve in this instance, have more influence than the CEO.

‘Recruit’ the ‘cup shaker’ to your cause and they’ll go to work for you like a 3-year-old pitching mamma for ice cream. This is where my favorite marketing tool comes in – them jelly donuts.

By the way, I’ve been using jelly donuts in my marketing ever since I read an article in a science journal where researchers had discovered that images of jelly donuts lit up the brain more than pictures of naked ladies for men and designers purses for women. Once again, my marketing OCD kicked in and this time I became obsessed with donuts!

In this instance, we used the jelly donuts to find the ‘cup shaker’ in each business by hand-delivering a letter to reception desks with a request to pass it on to the relevant person in the business.

The receptionist usually knows who the ‘cup shaker’ is and the letter is written to appeal to that person with the following irresistible headline

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When Your FREE Box Of Jelly Donuts Arrives, Will You Share Them … Or … Eat … Every … Last … One … Yourself?

The rest of the letter cleverly sold our new delivery service.

BOOM! We’d deliver this letter and sometimes within minutes it had found its target amongst hundreds of employees and our soon-to-be-new-marketing-assistant was requesting the donuts.

The promised box of half a dozen donuts would immediately be dispatched, along with our marketing material for the ‘cup shaker’ to distribute to their colleagues and a helium balloon and streamers attached to the box!

Because when our cup-shaking friend collects the box of donuts from reception, we want her to be the center of attention as she makes her way back to her desk on the third floor.

This ‘lead gen’ campaign was so successful we ran out of jelly donuts and had to race around all of our new competitors to buy up every last one of their donuts.

Much to their amusement. But they soon stopped laughing when we were deluged with orders from their once loyal customers. And yes, we did 10X the business. In just 30 days.

That weird headline, examine it closely to see if you can see what we did there. The jelly donut ‘lead magnet’.

The ninja targeting technique (as we described in the previous post on EGOIC LABELS, people can’t help themselves when you appeal to their inner identity. Blew up a business, by solving a seemingly unsolvable problem, and all that with a tiny marketing budget.

One of the most surreal experiences of my life was being asked to sit in with an audience of international MBA students from some of the biggest brands in the world, while the marketing professor taught a class using this as the best examples of ‘guerrilla marketing’ he’d ever seen and people feverishly took notes.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you dropped off the letter, who was it addressed to? Or how was it communicated to the receptionist who to give it to?

If you have someone with a personality you can train them to have a bit of chat with the receptionist to try and identify who the ‘cup-shaker’ is and then write that name on the envelope there and then. If getting someone with personality is difficult for some reason or it’s a particularly busy reception, then the fallback is to just write “LUNCH TOMORROW?” on the envelope, hand it over and see what happens.

Now, that’s when you are dealing with larger businesses. I’ve used this exact same technique [HEADLINE: “When Your FREE Bottle Of ‘Bubbly’ Arrives Will You Share It … Or … Drink … Every … Last … Drop … Yourself?”] to fill restaurants to the bursting point but in this instance aiming it at several hundred smaller local businesses (say less than 50 employees) and then we just mailed it to the business, no name.

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