Seth Godin, a marketer that I have been reading (recommended by my good friend Tim Edris) raises an interesting point in a recent blog post. For those who don't buy from BFC&T, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say, "Why not?" The don't, to use Seth's terms (yes, I know it is improper to speak about someone you don't know in the first person), have a coffee "problem" that needs to be fixed. A better question might be, "What could I do to make you a customer?" In other words, how can I make them have a coffee problem? Most people in our area have their coffee problem solved, hence the reason that much of our business consists of college students, who tend to have lots of problems, one of which I can fix.
Some folks, with coffee otaku, as (once again) Seth would put it, are always looking for new and creative (and better quality) solutions to their coffee problem. One customer that I spoke to today had a massive coffee problem: she came from an area where she had ten coffeeshops to choose from and moved here where there is one. I have helped her problem...plus she likes the coffee.
Another customer I spoke to, though, didn't have a coffee problem. He would get whatever whenever. That changed, though, when he came with some friends to the shop. Now he has a coffee problem and says that we are the only acceptable solution. He's the kind of customer that is the hardest to reach, since he could have taken one look at the shop and said, "I don't need that. I've got all my coffee needs met." I'm glad he's here, though, since he is one of our best promulgators about the shop.
I'm currently toying with some ways to make the coffee problem deeper here in the Falls. I'm excited about the combination of community, coffee, and comfort that we offer here and I want to extend it to all my local neighbors--that is the point of the shop and the point of all problem-making that I might go about.