Shark Week, Pumpkin Spice Lattes & Creating Customer Demand

This week is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. For the uninitiated, this means an entire week of programming dedicated to the beast from below. I look forward to this all year. In fact, my anticipation increases rapidly as soon as summer starts.

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Similarly, as school starts and pools in our area start to close for the summer (which seems early to me, but that’s another post about staffing issues), I find myself starting to yearn for a Pumpkin Spice latte. This drink signals the start of autumn. Much like red cups at Starbucks signal the start of the holiday season (which – blessedly – isn’t for three more months. I hope.)

What do Shark Week and Pumpkin Spice lattes have in common?

They are limited releases, only offered once a year. This means I need to take full advantage of them while they last. I don’t have the luxury of taking them for granted. As a result, I savor these items more when they come around and bless my life with their specialness. In fact, my local Starbucks had some leftover pumpkin spice latte in January that they offered for a limited time until they were sold out and I’ll be honest: it didn’t taste as good.

So what does this mean for your small business? That shoving products and services down people’s throats doesn’t always lead to increased sales. In fact, limited edition products may drive sales. Exclusive service offerings may have a better acceptance rate.

Having clients look forward to your seasonal offerings may keep them chomping at the bit to order your whole stock since they know they can’t wait forever to take advantage.

In fact, take heed: the Discovery Channel doesn’t offer Shark Week followed by Lion Week followed by Octopus Week. Over-saturating the market with special offerings can make your offerings much less special.

Think about what you can offer periodically that people simply can’t resist or ignore. Perhaps while you ruminate, watch some Shark Week for inspiration.

At the very least, you’ll find out how JAWS changed the lives of sharks forever.

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