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Marketing and the Customer Experience

By Sean M. Hugo, CPA

My daughter's birthday is coming up in June and guess what showed up in the mailbox last week?  The new Build-A-Bear catalog.  For those of you without small children Build-A-Bear Workshops are typically located in a mall and they allow kids to pick out a stuffed animal skin and then actually stuff the bear themselves.  They also have all kinds of clothes and accessories to go with the stuffed animals. 

They provide a great customer experience for kids and parents.  They have incorporated into their customer experience a way to market to their customers in the future by collecting valuable information.  After the child has stuffed the animal then they give it a "bath" and pick out clothes for the animal. Next, you go to a computer station and name the bear so they can print out a birth certificate for the bear.  Here is the genius part when at the computer station you enter your address so if the bear is lost it can be returned to the owner which also provides Build-A-Bear the address to send future catalogs to their customer.  Additionally they also collect the child's name and guess what else they collect..... that is right the child's birthday.   They have crafted their customer experience in a way that allows them to collect all the information they need on their customers to market to them in the future. 

The next time you are in a chain store just pay attention to what they do and you may pick-up on a few ideas you can use in your business.  Typically there is a reason they have grown and are very successful. 

Just a side note when my daughter was gleefully showing me the catalog I noticed they had an octopus you could stuff .......yes that is right they sell eight shoes to go on its feet.  Whoever came up with the idea to have an octopus should get a big bonus!