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Here’s What We Can All Learn From the Girl Scouts


May 2, 2018 | Jessica Ogilvie

Some call it the most wonderful time of the year. Others call it the day they have to do their daughter’s dirty work at the office. Still more just call it by its true name: Girl Scout Cookie Time.

Yes, it’s the time of year when you have to either know the right people or be at the right grocery store at the right time in order to get your grubby hands on seven boxes of Thin Mints that will hold you over until this time in 2019. And while Girl Scout cookies seem to all but sell themselves, an article in The Washington Post notes that even the almighty cookie institution is rethinking its marketing and sales strategies in the technology age.

As Jordan King, the Scout’s Director of Marketing and Communications, told KFSN-TV, “We’re really in the age of instant gratification… People do not want to sit and wait for their Thin Mints to arrive in town, they really want to order them and have them within two seconds.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the strategies the Scouts are implementing, and how we can all learn a thing or two from the intrepid nine-year-old down the block.

Location-Based Technology

According to The Post, the Girl Scouts have launched a “cookie finder” app that allows would-be customers to locate a seller nearby. Now, they might have several thousand more sellers than you, but your customers should still be able to find you with similar ease. Natalie Gouché, a Los Angeles-based social media coach and trainer, notes that she promotes her services in part through her Google Places page. The page allows anyone who is looking for someone with her expertise in the Los Angeles area to find her much more readily, via a simple Google search.

“It’s like when you are looking for a restaurant, and it pops up with the number and address,” she says. “Freelancers should absolutely do that. All they need is a virtual address.”

Don’t Neglect Your Online Presence

We’ve discussed the importance of having a website and being strategic about social media branding many times here on this blog. You should know who your customer is, how to talk to them, and how to match your online presence to your brand. All of this will drive your business by helping people learn about you and what you do.

But if you still need more convincing, just know that the Girl Scouts — a.k.a. the future — have the option to launch their own websites and social media accounts to promote their cookies through the organization’s My Digital Cookie program. That way, family, friends, and whoever else wants cookies (read: everyone) can make a purchase or eight. In other words, you simply cannot avoid being online if you actually want to get your business to grow.

Or, I mean, you can, but you probably won’t get very far.

Incentivize

Listen, the Girl Scouts have been crushing this incentivizing thing forever. It’s part of their DNA. And yes, I am talking about badges. When scouts sell cookies and get a crash course in running their own business, they get badges and pins to celebrate. You should do the same for yourself and/or your employees. Maybe not badges, but little things like unexpected gift cards make people (including yourself!) feel acknowledged and appreciated. Why do you think the Girl Scouts have been handing them out for so many decades?

Remember Your Old Friend, the Email

It’s easy to forget about the trusty old email in this age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. But most people still do business largely via electronic mailz, and it’s a tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you’re launching a new product, a new website, or have an accomplishment you want to share, shoot out a note to friends, family, and colleagues to let them know.

Of course, you don’t have Girl Scout cookies, so you’re not really on the same playing field as the gals of the hour. But people like to be kept abreast of your doings, and will appreciate being looped in, especially if you’re marketing something they need. Just use email sparingly; more than a letter or two a month is probably overkill.

These steps aren’t complicated, but often enough, it’s the simple things that we need to be reminded of. Girl Scouts are learning how to run a business by learning the basics, and they’re also learning the most current tools at an age where they’ll remember them, use them, and, probably at some point, improve on them. There’s no reason we can’t all take a page out of their book.

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