Why The Boy Scout Who Sold Me Caramel Corn Is A Marketing Prodigy

By October 6, 2011June 26th, 2015Marketing Insights & Strategy
Why The Boy Scout Who Sold Me Caramel Corn Is A Marketing Prodigy

Remember when we sold cookies and candy for fundraisers as kids?  We would knock on people’s doors with a catalogue and ask them to buy whatever we were selling to support our organization.  Then mom and dad would hit up their co-workers because everyone supported each other’s kids.  When it was all said and done, we would collect the money, deliver the goods and pretty much forget about it.

Last year, a Boy Scout named Donovan, who couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12, knocked on our door and said he was selling popcorn and other treats to raise money for the Boy Scouts and our troops.  I expected to see a tattered catalogue, but my jaw dropped when he pulled out his iPad and started to go through his presentation.

Donovan completely blew me away, and I got to enjoy the sequel when he knocked on my door again a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t any slick sales gimmick, because I could tell that he’s a good kid with the best intentions.  He just happened to have a completely authentic, rejection-proof marketing strategy that any business owner or marketing professional would be smart to copy.  He also gives new meaning to the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.”

The iPad presentation would make any marketer shed a tear.

How many pre-teens do you know who could stand in front of a complete stranger and breeze through a presentation on an iPad as if they had been doing it for years, and do it in a thoughtful, sincere and compelling way?  I have to say, he had me at hello.

He told a compelling, personal story.

Donovan has a family member serving in the Middle East, which is a big part of what motivated him to sell more than $7,000 worth of treats last year, best in town and among the top 10 in the Northeast.  Both factors made me feel good about getting involved instead of just buying a bucket of popcorn.

He created a brand.

Thanks to his success, people started calling Donovan the “Popcorn Scout,” and it stuck so he embraced it.  Donovan went so far as to claim the ThePopcornScout.com domain, which takes you to his Facebook page.

The offer was irresistible.

How do you turn down the opportunity to help the Boy Scouts, our troops and a hardworking young man who gave such an impressive presentation?  Yes, I said opportunity.  I felt like I was given an opportunity, not a sales pitch.  Donovan even managed to sneak a subtle upsell in there, but because I was so impressed and knew he only had the best intentions, I could only smile.  Hey, we all have a job to do, right?

He engages his customers.

The day after I made my purchase, I received an email from Donovan that included a summary of my order and a big thank you.  He also invited me to go to ThePopcornScout.com, where I could leave feedback about what I bought, read his Scout Stories and comments from the troops, and learn more about the Boy Scouts, among other things.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you use Facebook for business.  By the way, when I made my purchase this year, he already had my contact information from last year, which was saved in his database.

Needless to say, I bought candy and donated a few bucks for our troops.  Thanks to his hard work, preparation and genuinely likable demeanor, Donovan the Popcorn Scout has a customer for the rest of his Boy Scout life.  Great marketing strategy, great kid.

Are you working this hard on your marketing strategy?