Marketing in a Desolate Prairie

What would get people to stop their speeding automobiles in the middle of a hot dusty prairie? Free ice water, determined Dorothy Hustead in 1936.

“Well, now what is it that those travelers really want after driving across that hot prairie? They’re thirsty. They want water. Ice cold water!” Dorothy told her husband.

“Now we’ve got plenty of ice and water. Why don’t we put up signs on the highway telling people to come here for free ice water?”

Thus began the rise of Wall Drug in a South Dakota cow town of 300 people. By the summer of 1951, 20,000 visitors a day were stopping for free ice water at Wall Drug. And to buy carloads of souvenirs and merchandise.

The marketing landscape can look like a desolate prairie, especially in an economic downturn. So, what might you give freely to your prospects and customers to get them to stop and notice you? What are they “thirsty” for?

Quench their “thirst” and they’ll take notice of all you have to offer.

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