What’s Your Favorite Cookie?
The term marketing mix refers to a unique blend of product, place, promotion, and pricing strategies (known as the four Ps) designed to produce mutually satisfying exchanges with a target market. (CITE) Girl Scouts use this strategy to help them make a profit selling their famous Girl Scout Cookies. The first P, product, for the Girl Scouts are their cookies. Girl Scouts has been asking certain troops to reduce their line-ups to only the six top-selling cookies, Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Crèmes, and Tagalongs.
These top-selling cookies make up for about 77 percent of Girl Scout sales. (CITE) The second P, place, is where the product is to be distributed. Girl Scouts are traditionally found outside of grocery stores. Generally when people are headed to the grocery store they aren’t thinking about purchasing sweet, such as cookies, they are concentrated on picking up the everyday essential foods needed to make it through the next week or so. Upon arriving at the grocery store and seeing the Girl Scouts, the thought of cookies enters the mind, which starts people thinking “Cookies sound good.” Thus an exchange is made.
The third P, promotion, includes promoting the product being sold. The Girl Scout program encourages the troops to be creative. In Florida, two eighth graders converted their mothers SUV into a mobile sales booth with signs and decorations and the girls dressed up in Thin Mint and Samoas costumes while selling cookies in front of their local supermarkets. (CITE) The fourth p, pricing, is often the most flexible of the four Ps. (CITE) Girl Scouts will be selling cookies at $4 even, up from the $3.50 price tag mandated in 2006.
However, the Girl Scout cookie program is not just about trying to maximize profit, all cookie income is distributed at a local level to help fund field trips, camp fees, and provide financial aid. So, while each Girls Scout does not keep the income from her sales, troop members will see the direct benefits of their efforts. (CITE) Girl Scouts have also begun shifting their focuses onto better approaches, when dealing with customers, and skill development, to boost each troops ability to sell cookies. Sales trainer Jeff Goldberg was brought in to teach the Scouts important sales strategies, places for selling, and self-presentation.
Goldberg says, “Goal setting is the first thing I cover with any group of sales people. (Cite) The term Relationship Marketing is a strategy that focuses on keeping and improving relationships with current customers. (Cite Book) Girl Scouts do this by asking questions, such as, “What’s your favorite cookie?” and “Can I get you to buy just one box?” (Cite) Other than this aspect, Scouts don’t really take the time emphasize how important it can be to get to know their customers and have relationships with them. The Girl Scouts specify that the cookie program focuses on developing five essential life skills – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
(Cite) Girl Scouts are not taught to be aggressive with their customers, but appeal to what it is the customer is interested in, or what they want. These goals are very similar to the market orientation. Market orientation is the philosophy that a sale does not depend on an aggressive sales force, but rather on a customer’s decision to purchase a product. (Cite) The definition of Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
(Cite) Learning and having training with areas such as marketing are good experiences for people to have because not only can it help someone who joins the marketing business, but it can be helpful for students and children as well. Barbara Krumsiek stated that “Girl Scouts was an opportunity to study marketing that offers obvious benefits, and chances are that the lessons learned will last a lot longer a box of Thin Mints.” (Cite) Not all Girl Scouts leave the program feeling the way Ms. Krumsiek does. Some former Girl Scouts feel that cookie selling was particularly difficult. It can be a little difficult to sell cookies to customers that seem to always be in a bad mood, or to customers that always so “No.” The Girl Scout cookie program underscores many different aspects of marketing and the value of gaining experience in marketing activities.
(CITE) When younger girls start the Girl Scout program, they don’t look at it as a marketing business, they see it as something they can participate in with their friends and have a good time. According to the Girl Scouts Facts about Girl Scouting page; in Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others. (CITE)