Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Marketing Of A Cupcake

"If I see one more blogger posting about cupcakes ..." I know, I've heard that line myself many times before and it IS true.  What started out as a trend we all thought would fizzle has not gone away and does not even show signs of slowing down in the least bit.  Cupcakes have become so ubiquitous in this city that you can literally pick up a fresh cupcake within a stone's throw of anywhere you happen to be.  Why?  I don't know!  There just seems to be an insatiable demand for cupcakes and Bostonians appear to be about as opinionated about them as they are their source of chowder.  So, how do cupcake-makers set themselves apart?  Marketing.  And no one seems more masterful at it than Georgetown Cupcake.

With their shiny new shop and well-scrubbed, fresh-faced staff they have managed to invade Newbury Street and build an almost instantaneous cult like following.  Their opening day giveaway had hundreds of people lined up around the block literally all day long.  I know. I was there.  Of course, having a TV show helps but, in the end, no amount of TV will assist if the product does not make the buyer want to come back for more.  That is, perhaps, the genius behind their giveaway program.  Well, that and social media and larger than life personalities. 

Each day Georgetown Cupcake tweets out a flavor that is NOT featured on that day's menu.  It's a special flavor, known only to followers (think exclusivity creation) and only available for free to those who arrive and ask for it by name.  Yes, FREE.  Yes, EVERY DAY.  We decided to take them up on the offer and test the challenge.

On our first attempt we arrived at about 2:00 PM.  Keep in mind that they open at 10:00 AM.  It was a weekday.  We were politely told that the cupcakes had all been scooped up.  There is a limit of 100 free cupcakes daily.  We asked for more details and were cheerfully informed that one should arrive well before noon on weekdays for a chance at the freebie.

Our next attempt was on a Saturday.  Would weekday rules apply?  We checked the morning tweet, which usually goes out around 10:00AM, close to or shortly after opening time.  Today's secret flavor:  Strawberry Lava Fudge.  We arrived about 11:40 AM, tempting fate, and whispered to the kids behind the counter the secret words.  We were in luck.  As we waited we chatted more.  It seems that weekdays they sell out much earlier as a lot of people who work in the area (presumably Monday through Friday) are onto the game and show up on a regular basis.  In fact, we were informed, there are some days when there is already a line forming outside prior to the doors being open. (What some people will do for a free cupcake!)  Weekends are more relaxed and they may not run out until maybe 2:00 PM.  The cupcake IS delicious, moist cake and an excellent butter cream frosting.  There is no question that sample giveaways would create fans for them.  Another clever way to market their goods, another good reason why none of this is going away any time soon.

And I promise that this will be my last post on cupcakes for quite a while.  Or, until the next great cupcake thing comes along.

Georgetown Cupcake
83 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
Telephone:  617.927.2250

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