Watching Twitter sell things like pizza and beer

Most online marketers recognize Twitter’s power to connect people. This virtual network is great for many B2B marketing types. In some ways Twitter — and microblogging in general — is the new Power To Get In. But what about driving consumer business? And here I’m not talking about ephemeral branding. I’m talking about getting people to your business with money in hand.

Last night I got a few answers.

Among other marketing innovators, I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Woelfle, owner of Blatz Liquor. He was co-hosting a Tweetup in collaboration with JSOnline.com. He contends microblogging has produced tangible results.

Last month Journal Sentinel business writer Tannette Elie (@Telie) cited Woelfle as saying that Facebook is responsible for 10% of his sales. This, he explained, was primarily through the soft-sell of publicizing wine- and beer-tasting events.

One tenth of a “bricks-and-mortar” retailer’s business attributed to Facebook? It seemed a lofty claim, but when I asked Joe earlier today if he would revise that estimate, he said only to throw his newest tactic — Twitter — into that mix.

The wall-to-wall turnout at the event last night certainly suggested that Twitter was powerful at something. But what? Skeptics would say you could use plenty of other methods to spread the word about a free event at a beer, wine and liquor store — one that included plenty of liberally-poured product samples!

Time will tell how effective @BlatzLiquor‘s Twitter efforts are at growing real sales and loyalty. But in the meantime, someone else at the Tweetup has a Twitter-fueled business already road-tested by other entrepreneurs.

Korean BBQ Tacos and Pizza By The Slice

Scott Baitinger is co-owner of Streetza Pizza (@StreetzaPizza). I was excited about connecting with him for two reasons:

  1. His business just had its official launch this Memorial Day weekend and I was eager to find out how it went
  2. Scott’s business is a glimpse at a promising future for retail — for everyone from food vendors to dry cleaners to banks

Streetza’s business model uses Twitter to tell hungry customers where its truck will be parked next. It even polls followers on questions such as future locations and product offerings. I wrote about this business model — this promising taste of the Web 3.0 world — last week. It was in a SOHOBizTube article. In that piece, I cited the wildly successful Zogi BBQ, a Los Angeles purveyor of “Korean tacos” that informs its tens of thousands of Twitter followers (@KogiBBQ) where it will be next.

As odd as it sounds, these customer-centric Tweets are truly a taste of things to come.

That’s because the next meaningful digital innovations won’t provide consumers with cooler web sites and more content. They will be mobile applications that provide exactly the content we crave, talking to us when we are physically in a place to scratch the itch.

The future of the web is about place. And like Kogi, Streetza Pizza, in sleepy little Milwaukee, will be leading us there one slice at a time.


2 thoughts on “Watching Twitter sell things like pizza and beer”

  1. Really nice post Jeff – didn’t I also read something about a bakery somewhere Tweeting to let folks know when the goods are fresh from the oven? Can’t recall the specifics, but to me that was a killer app too. Even if you’re not thinking about food, it’s going to make your mouth water. There’s a ton of opportunity for other such apps for more marketers who are smart enough to jump on it before it becomes commonplace. As a matter of fact, I bet we could brainstorm for an hour over some Blatz and Streetza Pizza and easily come up with 10 more Milwaukee businesses that should be using Twitter in this way. And we might just have to do that sometime.

  2. I agree, Sue. And I’d enjoy the creative exercise. :-)

    What makes this approach so exciting is its simplicity. The world is complicated enough, and I like how this gets back to the simplicity of a Good Humor Ice Cream truck, rolling down the block with its music blaring.

Comments are closed.