How Girl Scout Cookies Continue To Be So Popular
If you’re from the U.S, you probably hold Girl Scout cookies at about the same level as baseball or any other great America pastime. Dating back to 1917, the brilliant idea of selling delicious treats to raise funding for Girl Scout troops has since become a tradition for the country. Whether you’ve purchased a box yourself to support your local scouts or you simply enjoy the flavor of thin mints, they’ve been an inescapable marketing phenomenon that brings in about $800 million in cookie sales per year. But achieving such success didn’t happen overnight, and there’s much we can learn from the marketing strategies used to make Girl Scout cookies the staple they are today.
The Power Of The Thin Mint
In 1922, after the word spread about the success of the first Girl Scout cookie drive in Muskogee, Oklahoma, American Girl magazine featured the official recipe for Girl Scout sugar cookies. The recipe was simplistic and worked as good marketing, encouraging other troops across America to begin baking and selling their own cookies. However, the days of simple sugar cookies soon faded, as the popularity of Girl Scout cookies began to skyrocket, prompting the national Girl Scouts organization to switch from homemade to commercial baking in 1939. Here’s the catch: even though the cookies are made on a commercial level, the types of cookies offered during sale season vary from location to location. Even more surprising, the recipe of each cookie changes slightly from baker to baker.
Whether intentional or not, the decision to cut off certain areas from specific cookies has become an incredible way to spark conversation across state lines, especially in the era of social media. The business hardly needs the aid of a digital marketing agency because most of the promotion happens from the customers themselves. Additionally, true Girl Scout cookie lovers are enticed to go out of their way to find and taste every kind of cookie, almost in a collectible-like manner. If these marketing strategies weren’t enough already, the impulsive “buy” muscle in each of us is also triggered each year because the window to get your hands on Girl Scout cookies only spans between January and April, adding an element of timeliness to the equation. Lastly, the Thin Mints cookie, which is the most popular Girl Scout cookie, cycled through about 8 versions of names and branding to finally settle on what it is today. So while it may seem like the Girl Scouts aren’t careful about their continuity or product branding, that certainly is not the case.
Another example of good marketing practiced by the GSUSA (Girl Scouts of the United States of America) happens to also be their most organic. Each Girl Scout chapter offers an environment for young girls that not only teaches them about nature but also grants life skills such as educational and entrepreneurial training. These bonus aspects of the organization both bring in new members and inspire fun among the learning periods. So by the time of year when it’s cookie selling season, the scouts are excited to take on the responsibility of generating sales, and with such adorable smiles, the cookies practically sell themselves. But even if people aren’t in the mood for a cookie that day, many consumers make it a point to purchase Girl Scout cookies each year simply to support the many initiatives the GSUSA is involved with. By purchasing a box or two of cookies, at the very least, half of your money will go towards scholarships, training courses, events, and other programs sponsored by the nearest council. While these initiatives were a natural extension of what the Girl Scouts already offered, they work as an incredible marketing strategy for consumers wanting to give back to their community each year.
At Smashed Media, we employ marketing strategies that are responsive to any current industry practices, just like the GSUSA. When it’s time to reinvent or re-imagine a product, or it’s time to challenge consumers to participate in a survey, good marketing is key because it can work to either maintain viewership or throw off your audience. Like Girl Scout cookies, any digital marketing agency that can encourage consumers to promote their own experiences with products will have the upper hand on their competition. Each year, Girl Scout cookies sell more than Oreos and Chips Ahoy, yet they’re available for nearly one-quarter of the time. This kind of movement can only happen through strategic marketing that is aware of what the buyer needs. We’re a digital marketing agency that can zoom in on exactly what the viewer needs, and we’ll figure out the best way to deliver your message or product.