Marketing as Explained by Candy

As a long time marketing professional I find myself continually trying to explain the value of marketing and justify how/why it works. To some organizations marketing is seen as unnecessary expense; especially to companies that have a great sales structure.

 This article is my way of defending my craft and educating people on how marketing is done the right way, using a real world example… and candy.

 The idea for proving how (good) marketing works started because I was the new guy in the office. I was just hired as the Director of Marketing, and had a goal to get to know as many people in the office as possible. I also wanted to know what each person did for the company and how I could create marketing material or programs to quickly contribute to the team. So I applied the most basic marketing principles at my new job and created the candy campaign.


 I started this “campaign” with the basic premise that effective marketing starts with providing VALUE to your audience. The value that I was offering was a basket filled with an array of candy… chocolates, hard candy, licorice etc…

 My office just happens to be on a main walkway near the office kitchen, which means I have the opportunity for a lot of traffic. I placed the candy dish in plain sight, on a table across the room from my desk. Being that I was new, I had a lot of people coming by to introduce themselves… and wouldn’t you know it… they saw the huge dish of candy when they stopped in.

 This led to them picking though and selecting their favorite candy. That opened an opportunity to talk about all things work and personal. Within 2 weeks I had met most of the 50+ employees and word got out that I had some great candy in my office.  I quickly learned names, faces and roles throughout the company.

 Now that I have established myself as a resource (of candy and conversation) I had people popping by to talk shop on a fairly regular basis. They felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, and we were able to talk about their experiences and needs. I quickly learned the ins and outs of the company and was able to solidify (and justify) my plan moving forward.

 Let’s dig deeper…

Now let’s dig into the analytics of this candy campaign. While meeting people and gathering info I was also able to identify what types of candy eaters we had here. I put equal amounts of different candy types out and over time adjusted what type of candy was in the dish to make sure I was attracting the majority part of my audience. I would also make announcements of new candy to the socialites of the office so the word would spread quickly.    

So let’s run down how marketing works…

  1. Identify your audience
  2. Define a goal
  3. Use available resources
  4. Create a value proposition
  5. Create interaction
  6. Capture information
  7. Track and analyze data then make adjustments


While some marketing methods may seem strange or un-effective it is the big picture that matters. There are a lot of little things that good marketers can do that all add up. Good marketers are creative, innovative, analytical and always thinking 3 steps ahead.  

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