The Mango Shop – A Story of Marketing Simplicity

There is a story I was told many many years ago by my dad, since before I started my digital career; actually even before I completed my studies, which I have retold so many times ever-since I stepped into the digital marketing world. And it always brought insight to the audience. I always get that ‘ahhhhhh, that’s how it works’ look at the end.

The story isn’t really about digital marketing. It’s something complete different, yet I found it very useful in helping many marketers understand what it take to really communicate any important message regardless of channel.

Let me share this story with you……..

An old man has a small shop by the road in the suburbs where cars sped by everyday, driving from one province to another. He has a sign, it says:

“This shop sells green mangoes, sweet and sour, priced at only 100 Baht per pack!”

green mangoes

img credit: live-less-ordinary.com

One day, a car stopped by. The customer bought a pack and mentioned to the old man, “Old man, how many mangoes have you sold today?” The old man responded, “Oh, it’s sad to say that you are my only customer today.” The customer then said, “Old man, as I was driving by, I had to slow down my car significantly to read your long sign, why don’t you remove 3 words: ‘This shop sells’. We can see that you are a shop, you don’t have to add it to your sign”.

And so the old man changed his sign:

“Green mangoes, sweet and sour, priced at only 100 Baht per pack!”

The next day, another customer stopped by and asked “Old man, you have really yummy mangoes, how many customers did you have today?” The old man responded, “Oh, you’re my 2nd customer today”. The customer than suggested, “Old man, as I was driving by, I felt your sign was a bit long to read, why don’t you remove 4 words: green, sweet and tasty. Mangoes are green and taste sweet and sour anyways. It’s something we already know”.

And so the old man changed his sign:

“Mangoes, priced at only 100 Baht per pack!”

The following day, a customer stopped by and asked “Old man, you sell your yummy mangoes really cheap. You must have lots of customers!” The old man replied, “Oh, I sold just 3 packs today.” The customer then suggested, “Maybe it was difficult reading your sign while we drive by so fast. Why don’t you remove 5 words: priced at only, per pack”.

And so the old man changed his sign:

“Mangoes 100 Baht!”

The next day, the old man sold more mangoes that he ever did before. His last customer mentioned, “Old man, I’m short-sighted, the sign was a little small for me to read. Maybe if your sign was bigger, more of my short-sighted friends may drop by to buy your mangoes”.

And so the old man enlarged his sign because he now have more room after removing so many text. But not only did he do that. The old man started to think like his customers and thought, “what if some of my customers cannot read my sign?” The old man added a picture of a mango next to the text on his sign. And that was all it took for him to gain from 1 customer a day to 100 customers a day.

Mangoes 100 Baht! mango

If you have just 5 seconds to get your message to the audience. How will you go about it?

An avid digital marketer and writer, Monlamai completed her studies in technology and psychology. She is interested in everything related to online marketing, with a soft spot for SEO and content marketing. Connect with her to share and discuss anything related to the internet, marketing, technology and psychology!

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