As I type this, I’m sipping a cold brew coffee inside what used to be a charming house.
Now, it’s a charming business. After starting just three years ago, QuinceEssential Coffee House is now one of the highest-rated coffee shops in the Denver area.
With 304 reviews averaging a 4.9 rating, it might be THE highest-rated.
What makes it so special?
An edgy advertising campaign?
Doubt it. Ink! Coffee tried that. Check out their Google reviews.
No – you could save money by getting coffee at a gas station or McDonalds. Or just brew it at home.
Efficient, high-tech service?
The lines aren’t long, but there’s nothing unusual about how they take orders. In fact, their system is downright luddite compared to other stores. If you want to use their reward program, you can’t just give them your name. No computer holds your data.
Instead, you must pull open a little drawer and search through hundreds of cards – like an old-fashioned library catalog.
(I take a small amount of pride in being old enough to have used the old library catalog card system. Yeah, with the actual cards!)
Okay, so what makes this place so loved?
A combination of things.
- The owner is kind. She was working the register when I visited for the first time, and she introduced herself. Even though she must have seen thousands of customers, she remembered my girlfriend when I mentioned her as the person who referred me. All the staff are nice, as well.
- The atmosphere is perfect for a dedicated coffee shop-goer. All the former living rooms, dining rooms, and downstairs bedrooms are arranged with tables and chairs for working. Cute artwork adorns the walls. They have plenty of lawn furniture you can use for outdoor sipping and extension cords for plugged-in working. In the glowing reviews, you’ll see the word “quaint” used over and over. Big clue as to what people look for in a coffee shop… and a neat way to find out what people want in any category (by reading reviews).
- They have WIFI and even a printer.
They do everything people want a coffee shop to do, and they do a darn good job. As a result, they’re rewarded with great reviews and loyal customers.
This is an example of advertising media becoming obsolete, in a certain niche.
This situation is becoming more and more common.
Consider the last few times you’ve chosen a restaurant.
Did you respond to a radio ad?
Maybe something on TV… or the newspaper?
If I had to bet, I’d say you looked up local eateries on Google or Yelp and sorted through highly-rated listings.
By using this elegant system, you can get matched with a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with darn good food. It might not do a lick of paid advertising. It might not be supported by a national franchisor. And yet, if the rating’s high and the menu looks appealing, you’ll scramble to make a reservation.
Not only that, but when you arrive to dine, you’ll waltz past a competing restaurant… even if it spent $100,000 this year on ads in local magazines, billboards, and paid people to hand out flyers.
It won’t even register in your brain.
Now, advertising media becoming obsolete is still rare, in the business arena.
Chances are, the world will NOT beat a path to your door, if you build a better mousetrap (check out the book How To Fly A Horse to discover how the cliched “better mousetrap” quote has been mangled for decades).
In most markets, you must still design, execute, and refine a strategic advertising campaign, to build some momentum – even if you provide the best products or services.
On the other hand, if you’re a…
- Restaurant owner
- Coffee shop owner
… or the owner of any kind of business where potential customers simply choose among the local options…
… then your best marketing is doing a darn good job and making sure people give you reviews. If you’re like QuinceEssential Coffee House, you could get 304 reviews, a 4.9 rating, and all the business you can handle.