What Running a Lemonade Stand Teaches Us About Marketing Strategies

Like many children in America, my girls and their friends ran a lemonade stand one Saturday morning this last summer. As I was doing yard work nearby, I could not help but to observe their marketing strategy. My oldest daughter, who is almost a teen, understood the value of a smile and wave, inviting people to stop for a cool drink on a hot day. My youngest daughter, the shy one, over-extended her arms to show a clearly written 'LEMONADE' sign, waving it in the air so people could clearly see it. Their friends enjoyed laughing and jumping around, making it fun to watch.


Little did they know that their marketing strategy was key to the success of the day, filling their pockets with coins that they enjoyed dividing between them. So, why was it so successful? None of them just sat there waiting for people to stop. They engaged the passerbyers, even before they made that split second decision to stop and buy a glass. I was proud of their effort in understanding that they knew enough in marketing to:

  • Make a clear and simple product sign - People need to know what you are selling/offering.
  • Display it well - By holding it up and waving it around for people to see is much better than just taping it to the stand. People want to see the person's character behind the product/brand.
  • Do not wait for customers to come to you - If you just sit and wait, you will just sit and wait. The key is to engage them even before they become a customer.
  • Make it fun for everyone - My daughters and their friends had fun and it showed. So, it was fun for their customers as well. They not only left with a cool drink on a hot day but also a smile on their faces.

And most importantly,

  • Smile - Nothing engages people more than a simple smile.

This is not so different than marketing using social media. The key is to not sit there and wait for others to find you. Go out and find them! Plus, show them the person behind the product/brand. That is what is going to make the difference between you and the virtual lemonade stand around the next street corner.