Last week I wrote about the importance of brainstorming sessions in developing your marketing and business strategy in Got Marketing? Part I, so this week I’m going to provide you with a glimpse into the possibilities with brainstorming. Although the following is completely a figment of my imagination, it is a representation of what I’ve experienced in how great ideas take shape. For readers who have never stopped to think about the impact marketing has on your own consumer consumption, my hope is you will start to look at things in a new light and find a way to apply sound marketing principles to your own business.

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There’s a reason we pay an insane premium for convenience coffee, and no it has nothing to do with inflation or scarcity – it’s all marketing. You are about to become a fly on the wall in an imaginary conference room so you can witness for yourself just how trends, and good marketing transpires.

Conference room; 8:00 am on any given Monday at We Make Coffee Corp.

Vice-President of We Make Coffee Corp.: “Ok, team, corporate expects us to step it up next year. How are we going to increase our profit margins? What can we do; what’s going on in the market; what do our customer’s need next?”

Silence. Marketing team blankly looks at each other.

Marketing Genius #1: (hesitantly) “Well, I’m not really sure where to go with this, but one of my own pet peeves has always been brewing half pots of coffee between my husband and me. He drinks regular and I drink decaf and it’s always a fight for who makes it to the coffee maker first. We actually had two coffee makers before we broke a carafe. I’m not sure what the answer is but there’s got to be some type of two-carafe system or something where we could streamline our mornings.”

Marketing Genius #2: “Yes! My wife likes decaf and it drives me crazy because I have to wait for her to have her coffee so she can get the kids out the door – those extra moments in the morning kill me, but stopping for coffee on my way to work takes even more time, and getting up any earlier is out of the question, so don’t even suggest it #3!”

Marketing Genius #3: (Chuckles) “Well, you could always drink the sludge here . . .”

Marketing Genius #2: “Yeah, not really an option either, when was the last time anyone cleaned that thing?”

Vice-President of We Make Coffee Corp.: “Ok, people let’s not get too side-tracked here. Let’s keep talking about this caf/decaf dilemma, do you think that’s common?

Marketing Genius #2: “Absolutely, I think there’s something here, somehow be able to brew both at the same time, different ports going to different carafes maybe?”

Marketing Genius #1: “I wish I didn’t even have to deal with carafes, when the last one broke it made a mess!”

Marketing Genius #3: “Maybe there’s a solution in packaging, like pre-measured like what we have here at work but smaller for home use.”

Marketing Genius #1: “Hmm, I know I would like to just make one cup some days but will skip the whole process because it’s too much work with the filter and measuring all for one cup.  And, I’d also like to not have to start all over with the whole process, wish I could just push a button and my husband’s coffee would be done in 60 seconds!

Vice-President of We Make Coffee Corp.: “I like where this is heading, what type of packaging are you thinking? With specialty packaging we could charge an additional 20% or so,  I wonder what percentage of the market would actually be interested though?”

Marketing Genius #2: “What if we could find a way to package single serve so it doesn’t have to be measured, to #3’s point, it would save time in the morning and . . . wait, I’ve got it! People pay a premium for single-serve ice cream, look at Ben & Jerry’s they’ve made a fortune on the perception of premium. What if we convinced people their coffee stayed fresher if they didn’t buy a whole container or bag of coffee which gets exposed to the air. Really focus on those looking for the freshest product and then they could buy however many regular packets and however many decaf packets they need and only open them when needed.”

Marketing Genius #3: “No measuring, no more wasted coffee, added convenience and if  they believe the coffee is fresher I bet we could ask a 40% premium! Perception is reality my friends!

Marketing Genius #1: “I love it! Now if we could just make a little coffee robot and at the press of button, he’d make my coffee in the morning I’d buy one! (laughs)

Marketing Genius #2:“My sister’s an Engineer at Appliances-You-Use and she’s always talking about how they’re adding more sophisticated controls to everything now. I bet she could create a Judy Jetson style coffee maker for you! (laughter)

Marketing Genius #3: “Wait, guys, I think we’re onto something here! We could partner with a coffee maker manufacturer to only work with our packets so once consumers have bought a new machine and our coffee, the cost to change brands would mean they would have to buy a whole new coffee maker – ”

Marketing Genius #1: “We would not only create new customer loyalty but we’d effectively create a cost to change so significant, that we could keep customer retention beyond what we’ve seen in years! (huge smile across her face) You guys, this could be a game-changer!”

Vice-President of We Make Coffee Corp.: (beaming) “I love it! Brilliant team I’ve put together here! Do your due diligence. I want each of you to report back to me by the end of the month on your respective areas. I want to give some good news to our CFO next month and tell him I’m raising our numbers for next year but I’ve gotta know this is viable.”

Fade out.

Ok, so that was purely a product of my imagination. I have no way of knowing what actually went down, but what I can tell you is this is exactly what happens when teams are allowed to brainstorm. Strategic planning and product strategy sessions are usually much more lengthy and involved but don’t fool yourself, sometimes ideas do flow this quickly and this is how huge ideas are born, and those ideas become a Marketing Plan and when executed, it turns into new consumer trends, millions of new products sold and a multi-billion dollar industry. So, if you either brewed a single-cup coffee for yourself this morning, or stopped off for your morning java at the ubiquitous white and green-logoed store this morning, you did so as a result of brilliant marketing. Marketing done well – works.

And, it can work for your company. So one final time, I ask . . . Got Marketing?