Take a Tip from Mary Kay

The Problem:
Is there a way to eliminate the cost of reaching perfectly targeted customers who have never heard of your company?

The Company:
Scuba.com is an online retailer of scuba diving equipment and accessories, physically located in Irvine, California.

The Technology Solution:
The easiest and least expensive way to generate sales is to get lots of people who know the customers you’re trying to reach. Then get those people to tell all those potential customers how great your company is. After that, you have to convince those people to sell your products for you and only paid them after they’ve made a sale. Of course, the trickiest part is to find such well-connected salespeople who will enthusiastically work under those conditions.

Back in the 1960s, Mary Kay Ash launched a beauty products empire by enabling housewives to sell her cosmetics to their friends and neighbors.  Even though those women weren’t seasoned salespeople (at first), the company found that personal enthusiasm and great corporate sales support can make up for all kinds of individual deficiencies.

Today, scuba.com has adopted the Mary Kay sales concept to boost sales, but added a technological twist to ease the sales process. As an online retailer of scuba diving equipment and supplies, scuba.com sells at higher volumes than most neighborhood dive shops. The higher sales volume allows scuba.com to negotiate better wholesale prices, which translate into lower retail prices.

However, scuba equipment lasts for many years. So to continue expanding sales volume, scuba.com must gain sales from recently trained scuba divers who don’t already own regulators and buoyancy compensators. And the best way to reach the hearts and minds of those new divers is to approach them via their instructors.

The Outcome:
Scuba.com provides instructors with an easy way to introduce their students to the website. The scuba.com website allows diving instructors to build their own webpage complete with the equipment recommendations they want to pass along to their students. That targeted word of mouth by the instructors is rewarded with a 3% store credit based pm the value of each student’s purchase.

As a result, scuba.com gets the referrals and the sales without having to pay salaried salespeople. The constantly increasing number of sales keeps scuba.com’s prices low, so the students receive great value for their money. And the instructors benefit by being rewarded with store credits, providing them with more incentive to lead each new class of students to their scuba.com pages.

This electronic sales tool simplifies the Mary Kay formula and whisks it into the 21st century. Next time, DataDocsDailyDose.com will examine a strangely named technology that helped to create a virtual storm of online traffic.

–J.D. Mosley-Matchett, Ph.D.
The Data Doc
You have questions? She has answers!

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Dr. J.D. Mosley-Matchett


As advisor to a broad range of clients, including IBM, Texas Instruments, and J.C. Penney, Dr. Mosley-Matchett combines both practical experience and advanced training in modern marketing methodologies. Her background includes multimedia and video production, Web development, and the latest in marketing research methodologies. Internationally recognized as a published author and noted researcher, Dr. Mosley-Matchett has been a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington and has conducted numerous seminars on a variety of marketing topics for the International Institute for Research, various conferences, and numerous professional organizations. She currently serves as the Managing Director for Words & Images, Ltd., an interactive communications development firm located in the Cayman Islands.

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