I’m in the San Jose airport bar, nursing a salty dog and
thinking about eBay’s two personas – the one for the initiated and the one for
those who think it’s a glorified garage sale. It’s still dificult to fathom
that “most people” don’t fully get the breadth and depth of eBay. It’s equally
strange that many still treat eBay as a finite business channel – as if they
could “get on eBay” and somehow become a good business person just by
participating in something relatively new. As if it’s some kind of stock tip
that you get in on by signing up early and getting a login and password.
Anyway.. just musing. This rest of this post is about
marketing and how the airport bartender injects her game with some fundamental
The bartender is a short, dark-skinned Indian (as in India)
woman. Her voice has a smooth singing quality, each of her hands accomplishes
separate tasks at once, and she’s very polite. She asks everyone if they 1)
want a double, 2) want premium alcohol or 3) want a shot with their beer for $2
She’s persistent. Most patrons do a double-take, asking, “What?” They respond as if they haven’t been asked to buy a shot in years. She
repeats the question and offers choices, Jack Daniels, tequila.. etc. This all
leads to laughter and levity. Some people opt for it. The $2 factor gets people
in. They go for value – even if they wouldn’t ordinarily buy the shot. Even
some people you wouldn’t expect opt-in. They go for the pitch and let the party
Perhaps some people are in a rush and dig the quickie buzz
potential. Maybe they are stressed about traveling.
No competition here at the airport bar.. they’re going to do
a good business. They don’t have to have good alcohol, but they do. And they’re
smart – they’re upselling and building business and a fun atmosphere.