What a Startup Can Learn from the Falafel Market

Do you know an online company named Falafel? Probably not. In fact the title of this post is not about a company but the real falafel, a food I love and the source of a great marketing strategy for start up companies. Before you think I am crazy, let’s make a short step back. Just a few lines to introduce you to the Felafel Marketing.

Start up marketing made in London.

When I am in London I live in a nice penthouse near Waterloo, a few minutes from the food market of Lower Marsh. You can find any kind of street food there, including – of course – the falafel. It’s a small area but with no less than 3 spots named as attractions from the Lonely Planet Guides.

In this area you can learn the falafel marketing. In Lower Marsh you can find an Italian food stand with more than 15 different dishes. A French stand with 20 type of cheese. Thai, Chinese, Jamaican, Spanish, Indian, even Australian food and more.

Each stand offers from 5 to 25 different types of national food with just one exception: the Falafel Stand. They came with just 2 products:

  • A Big Vegetarian Falafel
  • A Small Vegetarian Falafel

and usually they have the longest queue in the market. Seriously, sometimes they have a line at least three times longer than the second hit seller of the day.

Before you ask, the answer is “no.” Waterloo is not a block of falafel freaks. And we are not part of a secret falafel cult. This specific stand sell more than anybody else just because their offer is simple. I have tried all the food stands, and they are (almost) all delicious, but when I want to eat vegetarian, or just don’t want to think too much, I go back to the Falafel Stand.

Felafel marketing for start up companies

“Being simple” is a marketing principle that we study at school and read in any course and business blogs, but still we tend to ignore it (well, I do). Studying and reading is theoric, and theory doesn’t stick easily to our mind, don’t you think?

On the contrary, when we launch a start up, a new app, or any other kind of business, well that’s real. We like to add products to our shelf and features to our products, until everybody says it’s cool, but eventually become so confusing that nobody buys it anymore.

  • They say your product is cool = no money (bad)
  • They buy your product = money (good)

The Falafel Stand isn’t academic, it’s real and hit my mind as an epiphany. A few months ago – in line for my falafel – I had my eureka moment, went back home and cut at least 20 products in 3 different companies. The revenue went up 30% in the first month alone, and this is not a coincidence.

Do you know companies in need of falafel marketing?

I would like to know what companies you think need of a big dose of falafel marketing. Companies that started with a clear offer, but have lost their identity. Or start ups that are confused since the beginning. I have quite a list in mind, but I would like to know from you. This website is about sharing, and I am a full time curious after all.

Image source: Stacey Shintani a.k.a. Rocketlass at Flickr.com

3 Comments

  1. I totally agree, every time I start a project I keep adding features and I never finish, also it’s very difficult to explain my app to customers and investors. Ok let’s try to do what you suggest, I can always blame you if I fail :)

    • Feel free to blame me, as long as I get a commission if you succeed (smile)

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