Today I got to see marketing in action. I was at college today and had noticed that there was a new Coca-Cola vending machine right next to an older version vending machine. The new vending machine seemed to have some nice new features. It had the same drinks as the older version (minus a few), a touch screen in which you could pick your type of drink, and even play a game of memory. It played a small video clip explaining that it was made with video for the visually impaired, which included sound and larger font capabilities along with an added cartoon commercial. The first thing that made me look in the direction of the machine was the sound, then I noticed the video screen that was playing. I began thinking to myself, "why would you put a new vending machine right next to an older one with the same selections?" The answer, of course, is marketing research. And what better place to do that research than at a college. Just then one of the college janitors came in. I asked him how long the new machine had been there for. He told me that it had been there for several weeks now. He stated that the one negative thing about it was that, unlike the older vending machine which would turn it's lights off and reserve some electricity when no one would buy from it for a period of time, this new one never seemed to turned off to reserve any power - that it probably used even more power because of the added features (such as the video). In talking to him more, he had mentioned that even though the game was fun to play, it would have been nicer if you could have won something - such as money off the purchase of a coke or even win a free one! I agreed with him that it was a nice idea. We also had wondered how long it would play the same video and if when the vendor would come in to fill the machine; if he would bring with him the ability of adding in a new video advertising on new items, sales, etc. - perhaps by an flash drive. Or it could be wireless, changed from headquarters. Either way, it was interesting to see how technology is influencing marketing
About this time of year I usually go out and get a haircut. Maybe it’s because of the weather, which is so hard on my hair, or maybe it is just time for a change, whichever the case is this year’s haircut hit extreme. It all started with the dry weather and the need to wear sweaters due to the extreme cold. The combination of the two just made knots - big bad ones too. You know the kind that is in the back of the neck and hurts like the dickens to get it out. Well, this time I had enough. I looked through some haircut ideas and found a few that I liked and asked my husband for his thoughts as to which ones he thought might be nice on me. We agreed on a few haircuts. Then made the decided to try out somewhere new.
As I sat in the chair the beautician asked me what kind of hairstyle I was interested in. I pulled out my iPhone and showed the beautician a few of the haircuts selected and asked her opinion as to which one she thought would be best for my face shape. She really didn’t help me any, so I told her that I wanted to donate my hair to Locks of Love. She said, “Ok, but we’ll need at least 7 inches cut off in a rubber band.” “Ok,” I said, “but I want my hair to still touch my shoulders.” She began measuring it out. I had more than 7 inches for her to cut off – 9, 10, she was still counting. 7 inches would put my hair well below shoulder length still. “Perfect!” I thought. “Well,” she asked, “How do you like it?” I told her I needed my glasses to see it, as I put them on, I was speechless. “Do you like it?” she asked again. As I looked in the mirror my hair was the shortest that it has ever been, cut up to right below my ears, how did that happen, I wondered. What was I going to say, “No! I hate it, cut more off!” or “Glue it back on PLEASE!” So, I just told her that it was the shortest that it’s ever been and that it would take some getting use to. As I went to go pay for my haircut, she told me that I didn’t have to pay - it was free. “FREE?” I asked. “Yes, when you donate to Locks of Love, it’s free! But you need to fill out this form so they can send you out a thank you letter.” Can you guess what my husband said to me when I got back in the car? He said, “Oh my God, it’s a lot shorter than I expected! What happened?” I told him that I donated my hair to Locks of Love, and then he said, “I’m so used to you with long beautiful hair, this is going to take some time to get used to!” I smiled at him and told him it will grow back, in the meantime I gave someone else an opportunity to feel beautiful again, with long beautiful hair!