Nothing a Milk-Shake Can’t Fix

Chocolate Milk Shake

Dawn was late on that cold winter morning. The smell of coffee and freshly prepared toast. They marked the beginning of a new routine for Eduardo. As a director of his company, he had an important meeting scheduled very early.

His wife was a lawyer but not practicing. They lived in a comfortable home in an upper class neighborhood and they had 3 children. The oldest was a psychologist, the middle one was about to be a graduate Engineer and the third had started working in the father’s company. They had 3 cars and they were traveling out of the country at least 2 times a year. However, none of that determined that Eduardo would go to buy a certain international health insurance. Surely there was a strong correlation between the buyers of that insurance and Eduardo’s profile, but none of his characteristics determined that he was a possible buyer of it. This annoyed the local insurance management who did not manage to increase its sales.

Where is the problem? To explain this much easier we can see what happened a few years ago when the greatest fast food companies (yes, that one you are thinking) considered that they should increase sales of milk-shakes that lagged behind the rest of the menu items. This company, as well we can imagine, is very sophisticated in terms of marketing, and they obviously had the profile complete demographic of the buyers of each of your products, including milk-shakes. As usual, many consumers who bought milk-shakes were invited to participate in various focus groups.

They asked them everything they could think of to determine how these should be for people to buy more. Bigger or smaller? More liquid or thicker? More or less sweets? Cheaper? More variety of flavors? And so countless more questions. After the study was completed, the company adopted most of the recommendations and after a while prudential of waiting they verified the evolution of the sales and… nothing happened. Sales were still at the same discouraging level.

Frustrated with the results, they decided to change the strategy. This is how the next day a team of people settled in one of the restaurants all day, writing down all the characteristics around the purchase of each milk-shake. What hours did customers buy? How were they dressed? Were they alone or accompanied? What else did they buy besides milkshakes? Did they buy it to consume it there or to take it?

Analyzing the data, one piece of information immediately caught the attention of analysts. Almost half of the Milk-shakes sales were between 6:30 and 8:00 in the morning and those who bought them were alone, they did not buy any other product and took it with them to consume it in the car on the way to their respective jobs. It did not make sense! Because those people, who presumably had already had breakfast, would want to buy a milk-shake at that time in the morning?

Curious, the analysts were planted the next day in the restaurant and every time they saw a person buy a milk-shake at that time they chased him to the parking lot to politely ask them because they did that. The responses were surprising. People began to explain that they did it because they could manage the milk-shake with one hand and because consuming it took approximately twenty minutes and that kept them entertained on the boring and routine commute to work.

Finally, because despite the fact that They had had breakfast, they knew that around 10:00 in the morning they would be hungry and taking the milk-shake now ran smoothly until noon. Curiously, no one showed concern due to the fact that milk-shake is not considered a healthy meal. Analysts were surprised by the responses. Then they began to ask them what other things they had tried to accompany them on the trip until they found that milk-shake was the best of options.

The stories continued to surprise. Some had tried bananas, but They consumed them in 2-3 minutes and likewise at 10:00 they had an appetite again. Others had tried with bagels, but as this bread was very dry they had to add some jam or cream cheese. That it was very uncomfortable to do in the car while driving and if an unexpected traffic situation arose their hands were lacking to take care of everything. Others had tried donuts, but these make fingers and hands end up sticky making the experience not so pleasant. And so others with coffee, cereal bars, etc. All of them had concluded that the milk-shake was the one who performed the best work to entertain them with ease, suppressing their mid-morning appetite on the drive from home to job.

That information was invaluable. First, because the company understood that the competitor was not the milk- shake of the other fast food network (that other one you are thinking about), but the real competitors were bananas, donuts, bagels, coffees, and cereal bars that are still they were still being consumed by thousands of people on their way to work.

Knowing all this, the solutions were very easy. The company removed milk-shake machines from behind the counters and put them in a place up front where people could buy them quickly without queuing and without delays, as is seen today also with ice cream. To some flavours added bits of fruit to them so that the straws were covered on purpose, thus adding, subliminally, an unexpected entertainment to experience. Finally, and most importantly, directed all communication towards those people who went alone and bored with their routine work offering you a new easy, succulent, tasty and fun option for that moment.

Final result, the sales of the milk-shakes were multiplied by seven!!!

The lesson learned is that the attributes of our products or services are important relatives. The relevant thing is to understand what work they are executing based on the true needs of our clients. Needs that are sometimes unthinkable as in this case.

Returning to Eduardo’s case, the insurance that offers medical solutions against unforeseen events and emergencies, you should have a good understanding of what your true needs are by then offer you a product adapted to them, which may not currently go through the services offered.

What is happening in your company? You continue to rely on your nose, intuition, and luck to determine what Are the products and services you offer what your customers really need? Or your clients are consuming them because no one has offered them an even better option more aligned with your needs? How many potential customers do you have who are currently eating bananas and bars? of cereals?

An excuse never won a match. But if we are going to play it, let’s do it with the best players and best strategy!!

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