February 27, 2009

How a McDonald’s BillBoard is Beating Starbucks with Just FOUR Words


McDonald’s uses billboards in high visibility locations around Seattle to attack Starbucks. Here’s why their coffee is better

Four Words Says It All

McDonald’s is using these billboards to promote their new espresso drinks.

This is foolproof copywriting at its best — the following two phrases were displayed on 140 billboards across Seattle:

Four Bucks is Dumb

Large is the New Grande

The McDonald’s Attack Plan

  • Location matters: McDonald’s picked Seattle because it is Starbucks’ home ground
  • Long-term communication plan in mind: this is a follow-up to unsnobbycoffee.com to promote the launch of espresso drinks in the Seattle market
  • Picking on just one point: position Starbucks as expensive or snobby
  • A single consistent value proposition that cuts across segments: “We really wanted to point out that ordering an espresso at McDonald’s is quick and simple. Small, medium and large. It’s easy.”
  • Aggressive intentions: some of the billboards were located near Starbucks cafes. Starbucks employees driving northbound can see the billboard on their way into the city
  • Building credibility over the long term: “The thing about these comparative campaigns is you have to hammer away at them for a long time. You can’t just hit someone and then run away. You have to have a lot of marketing dollars to put behind it and that’s something that McDonald’s could theoretically do.”
  • Capitalizing on market conditions: timing is everything with the current economic conditions. “A new type of consumer, more conscientious, less vain, is emerging. Fewer will be slaves to Starbucks”.
  • Aim to win more market share from a new category: “We see ourselves as trying to enter a new category and steal as much of the breakfast and coffee share as we can garner…”

The Starbucks Defense Plan

  • They won’t react: “We’re not going to get into that conversation. We’re not going to get sucked into the, ‘My coffee is better than your coffee,’ price point type of coffee conversation. We’re going to play at a much higher level.”
  • Cheaper modes of advertising: the coffee giant is turning to cheaper modes of advertising via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
  • Sticking to their game plan: “I think the way we deal with that is not to respond to something that’s that frivolous,” he said. “Are you going to say to your friend, ‘Let’s go meet at Dunkin’ Donuts?’ Are you going to say that?”
  • Remind your customers over and over again: Starbucks employees are being instructed to “remind” customers that the average price of a Starbucks beverage is less than $3, and that 90% of Starbucks drinks cost under $4
  • Use disruptive tactics: Starbucks is introducing instant coffee in its stores, priced from $2.95 — they’re taking every opportunity to “remind” customers of the “affordable luxury”

What Can You Learn From This?

Besides the attack and defense points above, just remember this:

“The idea is, in a billboard, you got three or four seconds to capture people’s attention,” he said. “You’re trying to be as short and sweet and as pithy as possible.”

Apply this to your daily marketing initiatives (not just billboards, it works with Adwords too) and you will see tremendous results. Of course, foolproof copywriting does matter too =)

*p/s: thanks to the heads up from Marketing Shift & SeattlePI

February 23, 2009

3 Words that Increased Sales by 1000% for a Beach Towel Shop


How a single tweak increased sales for Rob Walling’s online shop from $210/month to $2200/month immediately

The 3 Magic Words

Rob constantly tested and tweaked the sales copy on his website, JustBeachTowels.com.

One day, he tweaked his website to mention three magic words:

“Low Price Guarantee”

This single change alone sent sales pouring in the following day, and it grew from $210/month to $2200/month!


Lesson: Always Test Your Sales Pitch

Rob only started achieving this phenomenal sales boost after 6 months of constant testing and tweaking. This meant doing little changes on the website every now and then and tracking its performance results.

You too can achieve the same results with your online store or blog. Sure, it takes a little bit of patience, but if you keep pushing with small changes every now and then, you will discover those profitable tweaks.

(Read Rob’s original post: Marketing is Design: Three Words that Increased My E-commerce Sales 1000% Overnight)

February 20, 2009

Google FeedBurner’s Funny Headlines Will Make You Laugh


Can funny headlines work for your Internet business? Here’s how Google is using humor to give FeedBurner a personality of its own

My Feeds Could Use Some Beach Time

That’s what I first saw on my FeedBurner homepage right after switching it to work with my Google Account. At first I was puzzled, then I realized they were “hitting” me with a random funny headline every time I logged in — neat!


Here’s a collection of funny headlines that I’ve seen on my FeedBurner homepage — have you seen anything else?

  1. My Feeds know the first pancake is never a keeper
  2. My Feeds are getting Googlier still
  3. My Feeds look for the open shot on the low post
  4. My Feeds go with flat fronts over pleats
  5. My Feeds know G (m1 * m2/r²) applies to them
  6. My Feeds know a first mate on a ship that might suit us
  7. My Feeds walked both ways uphill in a blizzard
  8. My Feeds エンジョイライフ!
  9. My Feeds are making new resolutions
  10. My Feeds are cleared for the visual
  11. My Feeds are bundling up and hunkering down
  12. My Feeds will try something new
  13. My Feeds know a first mate on a ship that might suit us
  14. My Feeds might be five years old
  15. My Feeds could use some beach time
  16. My Feeds will have pancakes in the Age of Enlightenment
  17. My Feeds are reconsidering some resolutions
  18. My Feeds @*&#%*?!!!
  19. My Feeds come here often
  20. My Feeds enjoy popping the bubble wrap
  21. My Feeds wouldn’t dare
  22. My Feeds wonder what the rotation will look like
  23. My Feeds might just twist and shout

Would Funny Headlines Work for Your Internet Business?

To answer that question, just start thinking about your target audience.

Who are you trying to reach? And how would you portray your brand in the eyes of your customers?

In marketing, your first sentence or headline is everything. You have to grab your customers’ attention, as fast as possible.

Humor works for most businesses, and will do wonders especially in the form of funny headlines. However, if your brand stands for something serious, then you may want to use this tactic moderately.

(FeedBurner is the leading RSS feed reader, and was acquired by Google in 2007 for around $100 million US dollars)