Have you ever wanted a drink when in the Ben-Gurion International airport in Tel
Aviv? It’s hot and dry, and you’re terribly thirsty. And then there are all
those well-placed drink machines seemingly all over the place! Even if your
throat was parched and you did want a drink, the price of a can of soda, or even
water, is nearly $3.00! That can make you resist the urge to quench your thirst
until you’re on a plane, or on your way home.
But, this morning in the
airport, I learned something new, both about the airport, and about how to
explain a marketing concept: Just one floor above the arrival level, on the left
side of the airport (when standing outside) there is a door on the left which
says “offices.” It doesn’t say “employees only” or “no entry,” because it’s
where the offices of companies like Aerohandling and Laufer Aviation are
located. It’s a place where plain people are allowed to enter and visit, or come
and go on business, or whatever.
When you go through that door and walk
down the hall past the offices, on your left-hand side you will see a door with
three machines: a coffee machine, a snack machine, and a soda
And how much does a soda cost there? Yes. The same soda from the
same company, bought with the same “credit card swipe attachment” as the machine
one floor up. What does it cost: NIS 5! Fully half the cost of the machines
staring you in the face everywhere else you go in the airport! Why are the
sodas, iced teas and bottles of water cheaper in the offices section? Because
while it is the same product, it’s not the same market. People traveling are
expecting overpriced everything in the airport. The same thing happens with
overpriced gas when you don’t refill your rental car ahead of time. It’s the
By slicing and dicing the market based on the customer and not
on the item, companies, including yours, can make much more money.
company is making money on the NIS 5 can outside the offices, you can bet they
are making money on the NIS 10 can just a few meters away and throughout the
airport – a whole lot more! A related marketing tip Oh – and another thing: this
Purim holiday, we got baskets full of things like strawberry-banana drink and
banana cookies. Who drinks that stuff? Who eats that stuff? If you just gasped
because you thought to yourself “I do!” then do me a favor – when someone comes
to your home, please don’t just serve your favorite drink. Offer a
Some of us only drink non-carbonated beverages, and others only
like root beer and cream soda. (It’s usually the people who eat black licorice
and black jellybeans, but I digress.) Water is usually a safe drink to have
around. So is tea and coffee.
Pay attention here. The gift-giver probably
loves strawberry banana, but do they want to please the recipient, or
themselves? It’s the same with being a business owner.
If you’re a
vendor, don’t just stock your store with your favorite food, drinks and items
unless you only want to attract buyers who share your tastes. You wouldn’t have
a store that only stocked pants and shoes and shirts in one size would you?
Remember that you are not your customer. Cater to your customers and what they
need, as opposed to the lens in which you see yourself. I’m not saying expand
outside your niche and offer every selection made, but if you sell sodas or
drinks, try to have at least three or four of the most popular
That said, next time you go shopping, pick up something
you’d never think of buying/eating and experiment with how others around you eat
it and like it. (If you want to shudder when they do, shudder very
unobtrusively.) Who knows, you may develop a taste for strawberry-banana drink
and banana cookies!
Wishing each and every one of you, all Jerusalem Post
readers, and all of Am Yisrael no matter what part of our wonderful prism you
associate with, a wonderful Passover! email@example.com The writer is a
business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been
published in more than 50 business publications.