Chocolaty Marketing Goodness

The places and situations that inspire us are never planned. Rarely do we sit down, plan for inspiration, and actually succeed.

Today I had to stop by the drug store to pick up a few things. They were having a sale on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, which are always a big hit around this house.


Did you realize these treats date back to the 30’s? Apparently it started out as a UK-only treat, but eventually moved over to North America.

So, why the heck am I writing about chocolate? It’s all about originality. At it’s core, it’s a big piece of chocolate. There is nothing new about selling chocolate. There’s also nothing new to adding different flavours to chocolate to making them appeal to the masses.

It’s the level of detail that makes these so appealing. Every sense is marketed to. The treat is shaped like an orange, and is separated into segments like an orange. The genius is the gimmick of how we are to consume the product. The segments are lightly connected to each other upon purchase. So, the consumer is meant to gently smack the orange against the counter to break apart the segments before unwrapping it.

Before you even smell or taste the chocolate (which is real point of buying chocolate), we see the shape, and then feel and hear the experience of breaking it apart. Genius!

Why is this so important?

The regular price on these is $5, and it’s about the size of a couple small chocolate bars. Wouldn’t you like to be able to charge 2x for your product or service, just because you were a bit more creative?

The point here is simple. Unless you’re working in some really cutting edge field, your business has been done before. You’re not the world’s first plumber, chef, lawyer, or landscaper.

You have to find a way to get people to choose you over the other 20 people on the same page of the Yellow Pages (ok, Google search results, since nobody still uses the Yellow Pages).

And no, telling people you offer “Great Customer Service” is not the answer. If you have customers, then that’s just part of your job. If you’re a mechanic, is your unique offering going to be “I know how to fix cars”? Probably not.

The only way that works is if you have very specific numbers to add to that. State that you just won an award for customer service, or that you’ve been fixing cars for longer than anyone else in town.

If you’re just starting out, then maybe find a very specific niche you can market to. Be as specific as possible. Tell people your catering business is the best at “Sweet 16 parties for really obnoxious kids of Senators” if you think there’s enough of those out there to market to. {Maybe church up the wording on that too.}

If you’re good enough at what you do, people outside of that niche will start to ask for you too. It’s a lot easier to branch out once you’ve got a loyal following, than trying to market your catering to “anyone who’s hungry”. It will cost you a fortune in advertising to reach that big of a market.

It’s the start of a new year. If you had a rough 2010, then wipe the slate clean and find a way to reinvent your business. Just make sure it’s original. I don’t want to see a sticker on my next hard drive, asking me to smack it against the counter before opening the box. I’m almost positive that the result will not be chocolaty goodness.