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April 12, 2015

How the Girl Scouts Got it Right

I was never a Girl Scout, but I am telling you what, I should be made an honorary one for the amount of Samoas, Thin Mints and Do-si-dos cookies I have consumed over my lifetime.

I was thinking about it and from a basic economics standpoint, they’ve got it all figured out.

They create the ultimate demand by limiting the supply of cookies, defining their sales mechanism (the girls who sell them), and limiting the sales period each year, driving the demand through the roof. People actually get excited when it becomes “cookie season,” and without fail, sales are successful year over year.

Seriously, a cookie call is the one sales call I look forward to.

Oddly enough, in corporate America a marketing strategy and sales model like the Girl Scout’s would probably NEVER even have been considered. I can only imagine how quickly I would be laughed out of the boardroom after pitching a concept like this.

So, why does it work for the Girl Scouts? I never was the best at economics, so I will stick to what I know, and to me, it all boils down to the 4 P’s of marketing:

  1. Product – I have decided there is some magic ingredient in Girl Scout Cookies that makes them better than ANY other cookie on the market. Maybe it is because of their scarcity, but every bite is savory and delicious.
  2. Price – The price is right. With a price point of $3.50 a box, and the knowledge that your purchase is benefiting a non-profit organization, buying Girl Scout cookies is a no brainer. The way I see it, every bite of every cookie consumed is an act of charity… right?
  3. Place – Talk about creating a demand and a feeling of exclusivity! Not only are the Girl Scout cookies available for a limited time each year, but they are also not sold in any store front. This means you need to know a Girl Scout or cross paths with a Girl Scout in order to even be able to make a purchase.
  4. Promotion – Using 6 – 12 year old girls to promote your product is genius. I mean, who could turn them down for a simple, savory box of cookies? And to top it all off, it is a great example of cause marketing before cause marketing was even a “thing.”

So as I eat my last box of my prized Samoas, I sigh, and I begin the countdown once more until it is Girl Scout cookie season again.