Girl Scouts Use Social Media, Mobile Tech to Break Cookie Sales Records, by Victor Luckerson - For the 2012 centennial celebration of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Olivia Ottenfeld had a pretty straightforward goal: sell 2,012 boxes of the organization’s iconic cookies. At 14, she was at a disadvantage compared to the pint-sized Brownies who can sell a box with an adorable smile. So she applied a basic business principle: appeal to as broad a customer base as possible. Instead of carrying boxes door-to-door to her neighbors, she sold cookies at Union Station in downtown Chicago. She texted and emailed friends and family to make sales pitches. She even used her father’s Facebook account to reach the very outer limits of her family’s social circle.
“If I had gone the way I did when I was younger, just contacting family, it would have been harder,” she says. “This opened me up to so many more people that I would have never thought to try and contact.”
The ease of connecting with customers through email, texting and social media is one of the reasons the Girl Scouts are selling more cookies than ever before. Almost $800 million worth of Thin Mints, Samoas and other coveted flavors were sold during the 2011-2012 selling season. Though the economic recovery has been stuck in slow motion, cookie sales have increased at a brisk pace since the recession bottomed out, from 192 million boxes in 2009 to 214 million in 2012. With 1.5 million Girl Scouts selling cookies each year, that’s about 143 boxes per small businesswoman.
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