Tips for Entrepreneurs: 50% off, one flight down

Have you ever wanted a drink when in the Ben-Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv?

people at the airport 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
people at the airport 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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 machine.
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 same idea.
By slicing and dicing the market based on the customer and not on the item, companies, including yours, can make much more money.
If the 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 variety.
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 alternatives.
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!
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The writer is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business publications.