Making sale offers – What’s "missing" in Starbucks’ recent sale offer

This morning, I got an e-mail from Starbucks with an offer, and I wanted to discuss it with you, because I can’t help but get the feeling something’s “missing” here.

The offer said:

ATTENTION:  Current and prior customers & clients, ONLY


“Add a wholesome, savory breakfast to your day – and get one step closer to your next free drink. During October 2-8, every Breakfast Sandwich or Wrap purchase rewards you with an extra Star when you pay with your registered Starbucks Card.

We like the Bacon, Egg & Gouda Artisan Breakfast Sandwich and the Spinach, Egg White & Feta Breakfast Wrap, but this is a great week to try any of our seven delicious offerings.”

Basically, this is a sale promo, right?

Sure – you can tell because it’s only good from October 2nd through October 8th.

And maybe I’m just not a fan of this particular food, but in general… it just doesn’t seem very compelling does it?

No, not really.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are three things you need to do, to make sure any sale you’re running, is a wild success.

1.  First, your offer has to be simple.

To me, this is one of the two biggest problems with this offer.

What they’re saying is… if you buy one of these “breakfasts” (and I use that term loosely, the same way you might call the Houston Astros a baseball team ;-)… you’ll get an extra “Star,” but only if you pay with your Starbucks card.

There are so many issues with this, it’s not even funny.

To begin with, any time you make one thing conditional on not one, but TWO other things… (if you buy this, then you get that… but ONLY if you do this other thing)… it’s kind of confusing to figure out what the hell is going on.

Imagine if your hair stylist said, “Hey, I’ll give you a free hairbrush, if you come in between 4 and 6 pm at night, as long as you’ve washed your hair in the last 24 hours, with a lavender scented shampoo.”

It’s like, “Wait a minute, which way is the cash flowing here?”

“How is it, that I’m paying, and yet… I’m also the one who has to jump over a bunch of hoops to get the benefit?”

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Nope.  Sure doesn’t.

Which is why this isn’t going to work very well.

So keep your sale offers easy to understand, and straight to the point.

To get this, they need to do that.  Period.

Like, “Free ice cream cone when you buy a Blizzard.”

That’s so simple, even a small child could get it.  (which, isn’t a bad barometer to use, to see if your promo is simple enough, by the way)

2.  Second, your offer has to be compelling.

So let’s look at this, because this is the other BIG problem.

If you go and buy a breakfast between this time and that time, they are giving you an extra “Star.”

Now I’m not an expert on this, but as best as I can figure out… here’s what this means.

Apparently, if you have a Starbucks Card (which is like a private pre-paid credit card)… every time you order a coffee, they give you a “Star.”

Once you get 30 stars, you are eligible to get a free cup of coffee.

So let’s work the math on this:

Assuming your free coffee is worth 6 bucks, that means each star is worth about 20 cents each.  ($6 divided by 30 stars)

So this means, when you come in and order a “breakfast” between this time and that time, you’ll get twenty cents contributed towards the purchase of another Starbucks product you MIGHT qualify to buy, at some point in time in the future.

And see, this is why I don’t find this particular offer compelling.

That’s like telling someone, if you sign up to pay me THOUSANDS of dollars over the next two years, in exchange for bad service, poor performance, and unknown future changes regarding exactly how much you’re ultimately going to wind up paying me, and what kind of bad service you’re going or NOT going to get… I’ll subsidize the cost of your iPhone today for a few hundred dollars.

Oh, wait a minute…

Anyway, lastly… to make your sale effective, you also want to:

3.  Limit the offer with some kind of effective scarcity

First of all, one of the SOLE reasons why someone is going to take advantage of a sale, is because you’re offering a deal you can’t otherwise get at other times.

And although, in theory “Oct 2-8” means the offer is limited… I’m not sure if this is presented properly.

When it comes to your normal mundane and ordinary morning routine… saying October 2-8 (especially when you consider the low incentive) is like saying three years away.

You want to make people stop and take action, NOW.

So maybe something like, “For the next three days ONLY.”

And then of course, you’d need to restate this offer, at least once a day for the next two days while the sale is on.

Some great lessons here on what NOT to do, so make sure you don’t skip them.

As a side note, I happen to be a very passionate coffee drinker.  I usually drink organic coffee from a few different places, notably:  (story about them in my book, actually)

If you know of some other good organic coffee, or if you have any thoughts on today’s message, let me know by posting your comments here on my blog.

Love to hear them!

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S.  How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers – LIFETIME Guarantee!

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