Marketing Challenge

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For marketing-minded friends.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to produce an ordered list of all the reasons you can think for Starbucks’s use of cash cards. (They’ve just been introduced in Mexico, though they’ve been around in the US for some 6 or so years). Something like:

  1. It’s Schultz’s next step for global domination: taking control of the currency.
  2. People will obsess about collecting them.
  3. ….

One-line items are enough, we’re aiming for breadth. Keep it simple.

Remember, this is about why Stbx does this, not why customers buy the cards (which is another mystery onto itself).

Submissions will be accepted until Sunday midnight, September 23th and should be sent to ely.parra@gmail.com. I, elzr.com, shall decide the winner based on the following criteria:

40% for originality and number of reasons
40% for how convincing the reasons are (this, sadly, ain’t no humor contest)
20% for the ordering (from most to least important)

Submissions are accepted in English, Spanish, or French. English is of course preferred but the choice of language will have no bearing on the judgement.

The winner will be announced at elzr.com/posts/Marketing-Challenge on Monday, September 24th. All lists shall be published in said post. The prize will be 25 dollars in Starbucks card credit.

You’re encouraged to resend this challenge to anyone who might have interesting thoughts on the subject. Anyone may participate. (Though Stbx card credit will probably not be very valuable for those living in countries where the local Starbucks don’t accept it yet, not to mention countries without Stbx.)

It may prove a fun marketing challenge. Happy listing!


Julio Sangabriel

  1. For creating Customer Databases for CRM efforts.
  2. Offers a gigantic opportunity for Conjoint Advertising
  3. It makes easier for Customer tracking.
  4. Psicologicaly customer believe it to be easier to buy if they have a shop card… (which is no ttrue… you can still buy In SB the same easy way) and thus they buy in SB.
  5. It gives one or more channels for contacting directly the customers.
  6. It Will become customizable (people will start making them as they see fit)
  7. It Gives the people a sense of belonging and exclusivity.
  8. It Makes people believe to be VIP for having a club card from the most expensive coffee in the world.
  9. Creates Fashion.
  10. World Control… haha

Adolfo Rodriguez Navarro

  1. Crear lealtad- le permiten al consumidor sentirse mas involucrado con la compañia y de paso aseguran que el dinero que tiene planeado gastar en cafe solo lo use en ella.
  2. Abrirse a nuevos mercados- Al ser usada como gift card, la gente que la recibe que antes no consumia el producto se ve alentada a hacerlo, asi que los que la regalan terminan funcionando como agentes de starbucks.
  3. Financiamiento a traves del consumidor – Para que pedir creditos si tus clientes te pagan por servicios no demandados a un pequeño costo para ti?
  4. Dinero gratis- tarjetas que se pierden, personas que dejan de usarla, gift cards que nunca son usadas, al final ellos se quedan con el dinero sin dar nada a cambio.

So the winner is… Julio Sangabriel! I particularly enjoyed his #1, #2, #3, #5, #6 (it becomes an always-with-you embodiment of the brand). I must confess that the reason I started this challenge was because upon reading this Economist article on algorithms , I had the epiphany that Julio’s #3, customer tracking, was Stbx’s true reason. It was not an opinion of anyone with whom I bounced the idea (nor did they thought it remotely important once I told them about it) so I can attest to it’s originality. Adolfo’s, I particularly enjoyed #2 and #3 — I had thought myself of something like his #4, that is, credit lost-and-found money, thinking of it as finance money is an intriguing possibility.

I rather like this challenge-making thing, it’s like outsourcing thinking! Besides, it’s just nice to give things away.

Thanks a lot to those who participated and the many more who told me they thought this an interesting challenge (I was frankly afraid people would thought it stupid).

’Till the next challenge! (But if you come up with more reasons — it is so much easier once you have somewhere to start — , then by all means add them in the comments.)

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