Chick-fil-A Is Giving Away Free Food Today — Here’s How to Get It

Check out how to get free lunch (yes, it does exist) at Chick-fil-A today, and at other restaurants throughout the year.

8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What’s better than enjoying a delicious meal? Enjoying a delicious meal that you don’t have to pay for!

If you thought free meals were a perk enjoyed only by inmates, think again. Across America, on any given day, restaurants, cafes, fast-food chains, ice cream shops — even your neighbors — are serving up all kinds of yummy freebies. And it’s yours for the taking. Here’s a sampling of where and when to get free food in America.

Chick-fil-A’s Annual Cow Appreciation Day, July 9

This July 9, on Chick-fil-A’s 15th Annual Cow Appreciation Day, if you dress like a cow and visit any Chick-fil-A restaurant, you will receive a free entree. It’s an udderly crazy idea, right? But also brilliant. In 2017, more than 1.8 million people participated at more than 2,200 Chick-fil-A restaurants. It’s a day, Chick-fil-A says, for the chain to show their appreciation for their customers, while also honoring their iconic “Eat Mor Chikin” cows. Technically, you can wear any sort of cow apparel to qualify, from cow ears to a cowbell to homemade white T-shirts with black cow spots colored in. It all works.

Related: 8 Success Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Chick-fil-A

7-Eleven Day, July 11

This is an easy one. July 11 is always 7-Eleven Day! And that means free 12-oz. Slurpees (while supplies last) to all Slurpee lovers between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Choose your flavor — blue raspberry, pina colada, wild cherry. It’s all good. The freebies sometimes extend beyond Slurpees to include ice cream and Big Gulps, but check with your local 7-Eleven for details.

National Ice Cream Day, July 21

John Adams, William Henry Harrison and Harry S. Truman were farmers who went on to become U.S. presidents. But it was the commander in chief who once earned a living as an actor (Ronald Reagan) that designated the third “sundae” in July as National Ice Cream Day. Anyway, this year, we’ll all scream for free ice cream on Sunday, July 21. Typically, Cold Stone Creamery, Baskin-Robbins, Carvel — the Murderer’s Row of frozen dairy desserts — and other shops have refreshing free treats ready for customers. Last year, Baskin-Robbins offered discounts on cones, shakes and sundaes to folks who downloaded their mobile app. Dippin’ Dots, meanwhile, dropped free mini cups on customers for two hours. Follow your favorite creamery on social media for this year’s special offerings as July 21 approaches.

National Root Beer Float Day, August 6 

Naturally, your friendly neighborhood A&W restaurant — 100 years old this year — is the place to be this Aug. 6 for the 7th Annual National Root Beer Float Day. Many things in our culture have changed over the last century, but A&W still makes root beer fresh in their restaurants from real cane sugar, water and a proprietary blend of herbs, bark and spices. Back in February, however, A&W was forced to drop the ampersand from their logo because the “&” doesn’t work in URLs or in hashtags. Thankfully, you can still get yourself a free, small root beer float (no purchase necessary) this Aug. 6 in all participating A&Ws from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in a Chick-fil-A Franchise

Halloween, October 31  

Easily overlooked — we’ll bet you didn’t even consider Halloween a free food day, right? — this is definitely the biggest day of the year in which to pocket edibles without paying for them. Luckily, more than 75 percent of Americans buy candy to participate in traditional Halloween activities most years, according to the National Confectioners Association, which is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make them. Even better, 72 percent of parents also admit they dip into their children’s Halloween bags when the trick-or-treating is all done. National Retail Federation stats suggested that Americans were ready to spend just under $3 billion on candy last Halloween. What’s the most popular Halloween treat nationwide? Apples! Just kidding, it’s chocolate.

IHOP Free Pancake Day, March  

Who does pancakes better than IHOB, the International House of Burgers? IHOP — the International House of Pancakes — does, of course. IHOP restaurants began National Pancake Day in 2006 so that moms, dads, kids and lumberjacks everywhere could enjoy a free short stack of original buttermilk pancakes on one syrupy day in March. (The actual date changes annually.) The flapjacks are free, but customers are encouraged to make a donation to one of the pancake shop’s charity partners during this fundraising event. The exact date has not yet be announced, so keep your eyes peeled.

Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen, March 20   

Dairy Queen typically gives away free small vanilla cones all day long on Free Cone Day to signal the coming of spring.

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s, April

Participating Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops have been giving away free ice cream cups and cones on the second Tuesday in April since 1979. 

Tax Day, April 15

April 15 doesn’t have to be a stomach-churning event. Yeah, your return may be small — hey, it could be worse, imagine actually owing the IRS money! — but don’t fret. Hardee’s gave away sausage biscuits in the morning last April 15; customers at California Tortilla who mentioned the “1040” tax form received a complimentary order of chips and queso; Arby’s customers who signed up for their email list earned a signature sandwich or any gyro — gratis! Other eateries, such as Applebee’s, Boston Market, Firehouse Subs, Hooters, Cicis and Great American Cookies, all offer weary taxpayers free food or big discounts every April 15. Are you excited for Tax Day 2020 yet? Maybe next year you can file for an extension; that will give you more time to enjoy the freebies without distraction.

Related: 25 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Chick-fil-A

Mother’s Day, May 10

Mother’s Day is the busiest dining-out day of the year, according to the National Restaurant Association. Though finding an open table isn’t easy, when you eventually do, downloading a restaurant’s app or getting onto their email list will typically allow you to collect free meals, discounts and gift cards, making the reward that much tastier. This past Mother’s Day at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, moms were given a free $25 gift card; Baskin-Robbins hosted a cone-sampling day and gave away ice cream from 3-7 p.m.; at Macaroni Grill moms earned a $20 gift card for a future visit, and moms ate for free at Hooters (yes, Hooters) from a special menu. 

Free Cone Day at Häagen-Dazs, May

Haagen-Dazs serves customers with one free mini cone at their stores for four hours in the early evening at this annual event. (Dates vary.) 

National Slider Day, May 15  

As the official sponsor of National Slider Day, White Castle typically offers folks one free slider and a small Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage to all Cravers who enter one of their nearly 400 Castles nationwide with a coupon from their website.   

National Doughnut Day, June 5  

Krispy Kreme shoves one free and delicious doughnut into the doughnut holes of their customers on the first Friday in June to celebrate this diabetes-inducing annual event. In 2019, folks got to choose either an iconic Original Glazed Doughnut, a Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles, or a Glazed Raspberry-Filled Doughnut. (By the way, Krispy Kreme also gives away free doughnuts on Halloween to patrons in costume.) Not to be outdone, or out-dunked, Dunkin’ Donuts offered guests a free classic doughnut of their choice with the purchase of any beverage, all day long. National Doughnut Day 2020 is June 5. Stock up on insulin now. 

Your Birthday 

On your next birthday you’ll likely be a little grayer, and maybe a little heavier, but wouldn’t it take the sting out of getting older if you were able to snag yourself free food, desserts and drinks from complete strangers? Of course, it would! Many restaurants will reward you with giveaways and special offers via email or text on your special day if you sign up for their e-clubs. Boston Market, Au Bon Pain, Chick-fil-A, Johnny Rockets, Ruby Tuesday, Jersey Mike’s, Denny’s, Hooters, Moe’s Southwest Grill, P.F. Chang’s, Red Lobster, IHOP and even Starbucks — the list is endless — will all give you free stuff on your birthday. It may turn out to be the best part of turning 40. Or 50. 

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Making Loyal Customers Out of Self-Made Millionaires

When people have gone from poor to rich, their purchasing decisions follow some key rules. Find out what they are, and how you can follow those rules to sell to the self-affluent.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy’s book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Apple Books

A significant percentage of the affluent population pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and they strongly identify with that cliché. Many came from stark or relative poverty or other difficult circumstances, and they’re still governed by having been poor or put down. They never disconnect emotionally from this past, no matter how successful they become.

Another little something about self-made affluents: They may have nearly unrestricted spending power in reality, but not necessarily mentally and emotionally. Most are conflicted about money. They know they need to think, feel, and act rich, but they also battle guilt, fear, anxiety, and abhorrence of waste.

A very valuable sub-segment of these self-made affluents is business owners and entrepreneurs. Here you may very well find your best customers, clients, or patients.

Self-employment is one of the most reliable paths to first-generation wealth, supplemented by real estate investment. The net worth of a U.S. household in which its head is self-employed is nearly 500% greater than one in which the number-one breadwinner works for somebody else. Among the ultra-affluent, just shy of 50% own a business that is their primary source of wealth. The other 50% is fragmented, with wealth amassed from inheritance, marriage and divorce, pedantic investment over time, and a number of other sources.

The personality of these affluent business owners and entrepreneurs is sharply drawn, with little ambiguity, so they can be the easiest of all affluents to market a wide variety of goods and services to. The typical affluent entrepreneur has never been handed anything. He’s worked and sacrificed for everything he’s gotten, and he got it by “taking no crap” from anybody, something he has no intention of doing now.

Here are a few more characteristics of this target market:

They won’t take no for an answer

First and foremost, they view themselves as fiercely independent. They chafe at rules and tend to exit, stage left, immediately upon hearing rules language from anyone marketing to them. The fastest way to repel this customer is to tell him, “No, you/we can’t do that,” and when asked why not, say, “Policy.”

I’ve stayed at every imaginable kind and brand of hotel, from the much-lauded bastion of service, Ritz-Carlton, to the orange-roofed Howard Johnsons. In 30 years of patronage, I’ve been in only two places where no matter what I asked, I never heard the words “no” or “can’t.” Those properties are Disney’s® in Florida, notably Animal Kingdom Lodge® and the Grand Floridian.® I’ve stayed in a lot of resorts once. I take a vacation at a Disney property nearly every year. If not already, I’ll certainly generate a million dollars in lifetime customer value for Disney.® That’s the value of being able to say “yes” to the affluent.

Related: The 21st Century Affluent Woman and Her Marketing Needs

If they admire you, they’ll reward you with their business

Second, the self-made affluent are great admirers of the qualities that got them where they now are. Every one of them is doing business with somebody who reminds them of themselves when they were starting out. I got my first bank loan from a 70-year-old entrepreneur who owned the small-town bank outright, and the main street restaurant and hardware store, and most of the real estate as far as the eye could see in any direction. I met him for lunch at his diner on a Wednesday, not knowing his bank was closed on Wednesdays. Afterwards, he unlocked the bank and wrote out a check to me for $50,000. He said I reminded him of himself when he was a young buck too dumb to know what couldn’t be done and tough enough to do it.  

These people reward ingenuity, drive, persistence, and salesmanship. They have a spiritual reverence for these virtues.

An axiomatic example was given to me by a fellow who was selling a new kind of pizza-making conveyor oven to New York restaurants. In the city of pizza, only fixed ovens with real pizza stones were acceptable. To crack the market, he determined he’d need the number-one restaurateur as a reference so he sent him a letter requesting an appointment. Then he sent him one of his business cards with a handwritten request, along with some brochure or article about the ovens or the restaurant business in general, every day, for two months. Finally, his phone rang and the famous restaurateur asked—in good humor—“What do I have to do to get you to stop sending me your business cards?” The salesman told him he’d bought the cards by the thousand, so there was a long way to go, but a brief appointment would put an end to it. The ending is happy. More than 100 of those pizza locations have the “odd” ovens.

Related: 6 Key Things to Know Before You Begin Marketing to the Ultra Rich

More often than not, they’re searching for value, as they define it

Third, they know the value of a dollar and tend to pride themselves on being smart about money, getting good deals and bargains, negotiating successfully, and even being seen as frugal.

Warren Buffett still lives part of the time in the same home he bought for $31,000 in 1958, and has been known to pick up Bill Gates at the airport himself when Gates visits. The late Sam Walton was famously, symbolically frugal: old pickup trucks, off-the-rack suits, even brown paper bag lunches.

When you step down from these ultra-affluent business leaders to the merely affluent, you find even more serious frugality. While they all have one or two things they’ll spend wildly on, most abhor waste and have an emotional need to buy smart with most things they buy. Most affluent entrepreneurs harbor a nagging fear of losing it all or having it all taken away from them and winding up broke. If they feel they’re wasting money, that anxiety flares up.

It’s important to know that the price these people will pay for something has to do with how right and justified or queasy and irrational they feel about it and not about intrinsic value or their own ability to pay.

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Insightful Tips for Thoughtfully Marketing to LGBTQ Customers

With the LGBTQ community becoming more mainstream throughout the U.S., these facts about the market will help you attract its affluent members.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy’s book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Apple Books

If you’re going to go where the money is—to pursue the greatest spending power—you’ll be joining an ever-increasing number of companies (still somewhat quietly) reaching out specifically to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer consumers.

In many cases, these consumers have a two-person household, each member with above-average education earning above-average incomes. And many have no children to raise, so they have a lot more money left over every month than their heterosexual counterparts with families.

I’m willing to say here what hardly anybody else is: The vast majority of marketers are heterosexuals who may profess having no problems with LGBTQ people but who are, in truth, uncomfortable about the idea of designing advertising and marketing programs to attract them as customers, clients, or patients. If, for your own nonbusiness reasons, you have no interest in or willingness to deliberately and specifically market to affluent gays and lesbians, just know it’s a bad business decision and, if you’re running a business in which there are shareholders other than yourself, a fiscally irresponsible decision.

Mainstream America includes gays and lesbians. This doesn’t, however, mean that they’re a fully absorbed group unresponsive to targeted marketing and specially directed messages. To the contrary, they consistently reward those marketers who make a special point of designing unique advertising to appear in the publications only they read and creating especially gay-friendly sales and business environments. The trick, as it is when appealing to any specific group, is not to be condescending or clumsy.

Quick Market Facts

  • Research verifies that 80% of gay people have incomes above the national average; 40% earn more than $100,000.00 a year.
  • The combined buying power of LGBTQ adults in the U.S. as of 2016 exceeds $915 billion and is rising.  
  • LGBTQ consumers spend more than $64 billion a year on travel. The travel industry was one of the earliest and most pro­gressive and aggressive industries to develop product offerings, advertising, and marketing specifically aimed at the LGBTQ consumers. For instance, Harrah’s Entertainment started aggressively marketing to gay men 18 months after the extensive research revealed they spend an average of 30% more than straight men when traveling. To put a bit of money math to that statistic, you could have 1,000 straight customers at your resort each spending, say, $2,000 or 1,000 gay customers each spend­ing $2,600 The net difference is $600,000. Multiply that by 52 weekends, and you get $31.2 million. As you can see, who you bring through your doors matters a lot. This applies to you regardless of your business category—travel, restaurants, clothing store, furniture store, financial plan­ning, whatever—both as a general principle and, specifical­ly, regarding gay and lesbian consumers. In many catego­ries, gay people are worth more than straight people. Marketing to the gay and lesbian population is, in its essence, taking a shortcut to a more affluent, more freely spending clientele.
  • Gay consumers are twice as likely to buy a vacation home, six times more likely to buy and have installed a home theater system, and eight times more likely to own multiple mobile devices and computers than heterosexu­als.  
  • LGBTQ households make 10% to 20% more shopping trips to malls, stores, and other retail locations than the average U.S. household.
  • In B2B spending, 30% of LGBTQ employees and executives control budgets or purchasing decisions. 60% of those people surveyed say that the reputation of a ven­dor company for being LGBTQ-friendly affects purchas­ing decisions.

Marketers ignore or resist all this to their detriment.

How to Match Media with This Market

The top three ways the LGBTQ consumers are likely to learn a business is LGBTQ-inclusive are:

  • Advertising specifically in LGBTQ media (49%)
  • Articles and news stories (47%)
  • Sponsorship of LGBTQ charity events or organizations (41%)

Affluent LGBTQ consumers are more engaged online than the general population, so reaching them requires more attention to and use of online and social media. In comparison to the general population, they’re 1.8 times more interested in receiving advertising via their mobile phones, 2 times more connected by hours in a day, and 1.5 times more likely to post and consider online reviews.

But can outright target marketing work?


The automaker Subaru turned their struggling company around by advertising to a group of consumers other car companies were ignoring: lesbians. Internal research showed that a surprising number of their customers were lesbian, so the company crafted advertising for those buyers. Subaru ads featured captions like “It’s Not A Choice. It’s The Way We’re Built,” and utilized openly gay celebrities like tennis star Martina Navratilova.  

Message-to-Market Matching

Any marketing outreach to a particular group of target consumers has to begin with striving to understand the target audience and organize it into manageable subgroups.

Community Marketing & Insights has been conducting LGBTQ research for 29 years. They divide the marketing into three identities and three generations, producing nine sub-markets:

  1. Gay and bisexual men (46% of the market)
  2. Lesbian and bisexual women (also 40% of the market)
  3. Gender-expansive including everybody else but hetero­sexual (8% of the market)

The generation divides are:

  • Millennial (born 1981–1999)
  • Gen X (born 1965–1980)
  • Boomer (1942–1964)

A closer look at the identities, in brief:

  • Gay and bisexual men. Twenty-six percent are legally mar­ried, another 17% are in a relationship and living with a part­ner. They have the highest incomes of any LGBTQ group; more than half earn upwards of $100,000.00 a year. They’re concentrated in urban/big city ZIP codes.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women. Thirty-nine percent are legally married, another 18% live with a partner. About 30% have incomes above $100,000.00. There’s a broader geographic dis­tribution with this group, which includes medium-sized cities and suburban areas.
  • Gender expansive. Thirty-one percent are legally married, another 15% live with a partner. They rank lower in income, net worth, and home ownership than the other identities.

Age brackets obviously matter, as they do with the entire population, and in much the same ways as with overall population.

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To Make More Money Online, You Must Diversify From Google AdWords and Facebook Ads (or Pay the Price)

Your customers aren’t all on one platform, so neither should your digital ads.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you rely on one client for all of your business? Every business worth its salt knows the value of diversification when it comes to making money. It’s a lesson that’s drummed in early and often, often by hard experience.

But diversification doesn’t just apply to variety in your clients. It also applies to your marketing. Being too reliant on one channel will kill your business if that company decides to make a change.

Don’t believe it? Just ask online publisher LittleThings, which sank after riding out several Facebook algorithm changes. Seventy-five percent of their organic reach dried up, per their comments to Business Insider. and their business model died.

Your ad platforms are the same. If you’ve invested all your money and resources into AdWords, for example, and your CPCs begin to get unsustainably high, it takes time to pivot from one platform to another. Why lock yourself in?

The advertising world is changing.

No matter what business you’re in, your audience isn’t just going to be in one place. You might have a higher proportion of customers that you can reach with one ad network or one social network, but you never want to limit yourself.

Social media ad spend was predicted to catch up with newspaper ad revenue in 2019, per a Zenith report — and that was all the way back in 2016. Digital advertising crosses multiple channels, and though social media advertising is important, the more traditional networks haven’t disappeared.

Native advertising is also seeing a significant boost — native simply meaning it looks like part of the publisher’s site instead of loading separately like traditional banners and other advertising that have been hammered by ad blockers.

One report from Business Insider Intelligence notes that native advertising revenue is expected to grow past $36 billion by 2021. From in-line display ads to sponsored posts to boosted tweets, native is one format that’s already growing.

Meanwhile, traditional ad platforms are starting to slow down. TV ads are still strong and still growing slightly, but compared to the growth rates of social platforms they’re not the same. Ad revenues for the world are only expected to grow slightly over the course of the next few years, per a Statista report — less than $20 billion in growth by 2022.

Related: Use This Google AdWords Hack to Lower Costs and Increase Leads

The Outlook report from PwC Global notes that internet advertising is now a $30 billion larger market in the United States than TV, with a growth rate that far outpaces it. Consumer magazine advertising and newspaper advertising are not just flat — they’re in decline.

If you put all your eggs in the basket of traditional channels, you’re probably already having trouble. Digital advertising is the wave of the future — but which channel?

Surviving and making more money online involves trying different things.

John Crestani of Pendragon Labs Marketing does a ton of work with different ad platforms and affiliate marketing. According to him, you don’t necessarily know what’s going to work or which platform is going to be best, though you might have some idea.

As he noted in one of his blog posts, “Here’s an example of one of my [Facebook] ads, which was for a bedbug product … I showed a picture of bedbug bites and I simply wrote ‘Massive Bedbug Epidemic. See how to avoid being attacked.’ I immediately got 4,000 shares on it. This ad went viral; it made me a ton of money.”

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from digital advertising these days: doing studies and focus groups and figuring out where your audience is are important, but at the end of the day sometimes you’re just going to get surprised.

Related: How Bots Steal Your Online Advertising Budget

Not just in terms of ad copy either. Marketers and advertisers get things wrong all the time. Back in the day, some people thought Google+ was going to be huge, and some people thought Instagram was overvalued. Smart people — very smart, well-informed people — screw up predictions all the time on which channels are going to matter five or ten years from now, or what campaigns are going to be the best or most important. That’s why the smartest marketers don’t put all their eggs in one basket.

The 80/20 rule always wins out.

“I’m honestly more worried about those who are starting to win on platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram because that’s when they start to get complacent,” says entrepreneur and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk on his blog.

“They start to put ‘what’s working’ on a pedestal and start romanticizing it — just like bigger businesses put channels like billboards or television commercials on a pedestal even though they don’t work nearly as well anymore.”

Vaynerchuk has consistently had a large audience across multiple platforms, and his secret is simple: he devotes 80 percent of his attention to the most effective platform right now and 20 percent to the other platforms.

Related: The Secret to Making Facebook Ads Work for Your Business

You’re constantly going to see the most effective avenue switching between platforms. What works now isn’t necessarily going to work in the future. But if you’re keeping a finger in multiple pies, you’re ready to move when one of them pops and your current best platform starts to tail off.

Just like in any other avenue of your business, if you’re relying too much on one advertising channel, you’re opening yourself up to far more risk than you should. Diversify your online ad platforms. If you don’t, the market may do it for you. Better to be prepared.

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The 21st Century Affluent Woman and Her Marketing Needs

Today’s affluent women are much different than they were in the 20th century. Get the skinny on this changing target market.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy’s book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Surveys from the 1970s show that married women in more than 80% of affluent households had nominal or no involvement in investment decisions. Fast forward to 2017, and more than 80% of married affluent women make financial decisions jointly with their spouses. Of those with just one person making financial decisions, it’s now split almost evenly: 7.9% of these households have the man in charge of the money and 8.3% have the woman in charge. These facts must be heard by marketers to the affluent. Buying decisions once thought of as gender specific no longer are. The interest in one thing or another may be held only or principally by either the husband or the wife, but the decision releasing the money for the purchase won’t be in 80% of the households.

Another big change: Beginning in 2005, single women became the second-largest group of home buyers, right behind married couples. And single women buy nearly twice as many homes as single men. Yet when have you seen any real estate advertising specifically aimed at single women? Comparable examples can be found in numerous other product and service categories, where marketers are ignoring opportunities in current reality.

Some single women are single for the traditional reason — not yet (or ever) finding the right man. But there’s a growing population of what demographic analysts call the “willfully unmarried,” who consciously and deliberately choose to stay single. Among the willfully unmarried women are two groups of special interest to us: the particularly affluent single women and the affluent boomer single women. In these two groups, and particularly in a group composed of overlap from the two, we find untold spending power, controlled by women who are buying their own homes, doing their own investing, planning and funding their own retirements, planning their own vacations and so on — for life. These women are permanent heads of households, and can and should be marketed to as such, yet hardly anybody is. In fact, my files are lacking any good examples of advertising or marketing specific to this to show you!

Related: 6 Key Things to Know Before You Begin Marketing to the Ultra Rich

Late-in-life divorce as a spending event

Among U.S. adults aged 50 and older, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s. The majority of the divorces that occur after 20 to 25 years of marriage are instigated by the wives. Far from grieving quietly, many of these women quickly re-enter the dating and next-husband-hunting game, find it highly competitive, populated by an insufficient quantity of men, and full of older men seeking younger women. Consequently, a number of self-improvement investments occur within six to 12 months of divorce: cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, weight loss products, new and younger-looking wardrobe, new and younger-looking car. In short, affluent women age 45 through 60, divorcing after long marriages, tend to go on personal spending binges and be exceptionally susceptible to certain kinds of product and service offers about four to six months post-divorce.

Stigmas gone

Cosmetic surgery was once almost exclusively for affluent women, or actresses and models. And it wasn’t openly discussed. Today, its popularity spans age ranges from shockingly young to surprisingly old, from mass-affluent to ultra-affluent. And not only is it openly discussed, but it’s discussed in ways that might make many people blush. For example, according to a study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 81% of breast surgery patients and 68% of other body surgery patients reported improvements in sexual satisfaction. More than 50% of these patients said they were able to achieve orgasm more easily following their surgery. And 56% also noted increases in their partners’ sexual interest and satisfaction following the surgery.

What’s most important about all this, from a marketing standpoint, is the willingness of women to confront every imaginable health, beauty, aging and lifestyle issue head-on, and the willingness of affluent women to spend almost without limitation on themselves, their physical and emotional well-being.

Related: The 5 Top Components of a Successful Direct Marketing Website

It isn’t simple

As an example of the complexity required for success in marketing to affluent women, consider the financial services field.

In their book Marketing to the Mindset of Boomers and Their Elders, Carol Morgan and Doran Levy accuse financial services and investment firms of “conjuring up differences where none exist” in advertising, marketing, and selling to affluent women (investable assets, $500,000+) and mass-affluent women (investable assets, $100,000+) making their own investment decisions. Assumptions are made by many investment marketers that “women feel differently and learn differently about investing” so there’s a need to “speak to women in terms relevant to their lives and in language that’s appealing to them.”

But the popular financial writer Jane Bryant Quinn expressed her distaste for financial advertising treating women as “a breed apart.” Quinn describes this advertising as “condescending.” “Who,” she asks, “besides women are told they need help because they are emotionally impaired?” Quinn cites market research studies confirming that there’s no difference in investment patterns by gender.

Related: The 3 Ms of Successful Direct Marketing Campaigns

So who’s right? I would suggest they’re both right and wrong.

First of all, lumping the mass-affluent and affluent women together is a serious mistake. Women with $500,000 and up to invest have, for the most part, been more involved with their wealth for a longer period of time. They also have access to a different level of financial advisor and choices of investment-related services. They’re less likely to be paying attention to Suze Orman and Money magazine and more likely to be reading The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Worth than their mass-affluent counterparts.

But Quinn is off-base in denying that gender differences affect perception of and responsiveness to advertising and overt marketing. Georgette Geller-Petro, an executive with the financial services giant AXA Financial®, states, “Through feedback from our advisors who work with women, we’ve found that women’s financial goals, as well as how they articulate them, are different than those of men.”

So gender difference matters, though Quinn is right when she recoils at ad approaches that feel “condescending.” Women, especially career women, are hypersensitive to being talked down to, to not being given credit for their intelligence, knowledge and experience. There’s a profound difference in the way women respond to language.

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6 Key Things to Know Before You Begin Marketing to the Ultra Rich

If the richest of the rich are your target market, here’s what you need to know about them to craft the most effective marketing messages.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy’s book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

The Forbes 400 list, compiled and published annually by Forbes magazine, is a microcosmic look at the ultra-rich. In the book All the Money in the World, authors and researchers Peter Bernstein and Annalyn Swan provide a terrific in-depth analysis of the earning and spending of these wealthiest people in the world. Here, I’ll give you a thumb-sized overview of what they found out, as well as my own observations.

Self-Made Wealth and Higher Education

In 2018, 241 of the 400 basically made their fortunes from scratch, and another 36 made a large portion of their own money, even if also inheriting some wealth. Translation: 71% of the ultra-rich got there through ambition, initiative, drive, hard work, and entrepreneurship. Thinking of the ultra-rich as a silver-spoon-in-mouth crowd would be a serious mistake. This isn’t who they are, and it’s definitely not how they think of themselves.

Forty-one of the 400 attended Harvard; 27, Stanford; 10, Yale; and 2, Princeton—a total of 51 from the top-rated, most prestigious universities. It’s worth noting however, that a higher percentage of the ultra-rich attended run-of-the-mill universities or didn’t attend college at all.

Married, with Children

The ultra-rich are a marrying bunch. Only 14 of the Forbes 400 list I analyzed have never been married. Thirty-one have been divorced at least once, but 281 are married, the majority to their first spouses—a significantly better percentage than the general population. Cynics would say that has something to do with the high price of divorce. Golfer Greg Norman’s divorce was reported to cost more than $200 million, and he wasn’t even on the Forbes list!

Age and Affluence Still Go Together

The age of the ultra-rich skews mature, as you’d expect, but it does span wide. The oldest of the Forbes 400 members in 2018 was 95 and the youngest was 31. Average age: 69. If you step away from the top of the pyramid, the Forbes 400, and look at the broader affluent population, you’ll still see age skew senior, pointing the ambitious marketer to the affluent toward affluent Boomers.

There are many reasons for this marriage of affluence to age. One is that simple high income doesn’t equal wealth; equity does, and that usually takes time to accumulate. There’s also a profound difference between making money and holding onto it. Wealthy entrepreneurs tend to have won and lost one or more times before proving able to hold onto their gains.  

Where Are the Rich?

There is geographic concentration. And there is migration. Only a handful of years ago, more than 20% lived in California and nearly as many in New York. In 2018, out of the Forbes 400, only 28 have their primary residence in California, and 24 in New York. As cities and states like New York and California ever more greedily tax-target the rich, more and more leave. Hollywood stars have fled Los Angeles in favor of places like Wyoming. Low-tax states like Florida and Texas have 16 from this list and are winning the competition for the relocation of the ultra-affluent. This is a factor in Google’s locating a large facility outside Silicon Valley, in Oklahoma. And in expanding there in 2012, again in 2015, and yet again in 2018.

The top ten states for millionaires and up (not just the ultra-rich) are:

California, still #1 and New York, still #2, Texas #3, Florida #4 nipping at the old guard’s heels, New Jersey #5, Massachusetts #6, Virginia #7, Washington #8, Illinois #9, and Maryland #10.

If you market nationally, not locally, it’s vitally important to stay on top of the relocation, movement, and concentrated “geo-pockets” of wealth so you can direct your mail, place your print ads, and otherwise focus your marketing there—and omit places wealth has left or is leaving. If you’re going to open additional stores, sales offices, clinics, etc., this information is critical to making good choices so you plant where wealth is growing.

Motivations and Concerns

What many of the Forbes 400 members share in common is the startup of a small business, expansion of that business, then leveraging the wealth created to that point into diversified investments as well as multiplying the core business or brand through one or more means, such as franchising or licensing. These ultra-rich people wind up with a unique mindset also held in common from this experience. Among other things, they’re deeply suspicious of anyone or anything not symbolic of hard work and methodical development. For example, if you set out to sell them an exotic safari or fishing trip, the story of your background and how you made yourself into the reigning expert on such travel and the extent of the research, planning, and preparation you invested to design and deliver the experience carries more influence than the most persuasive description of the trip and its amenities. This same principle applies to whatever you might sell to the ultra-rich with this startup background.

In many respects, the ultra-rich have the very same concerns and buying motivations as the more ordinary affluent. They’re pressed for time and eager for efficiency, competence, and convenience to be provided to them—and they’re very willing to pay for it. They worry about loss—of money, power, status, or security. They seek approval, recognition, respect—some only from peers, others from the world at large, all from those they conduct business with.

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Helping Dads Discover Medical Cannabis This Father’s Day

Many seniors, maybe including your own father, could benefit from cannabis. Cultivate the empathy and understanding to reach them on their own terms.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With Father’s Day approaching, I could pull out all the stops to market my brand to every single father in the Seattle area, but that would be a demographic and logistical nightmare. Instead, my team and I work very hard to know our customers (KYC), an acronym we ironically stole from the banking world. Rather than take a blanket approach we market directly to the dads who actually shop in our store, and when it comes to engaging elderly fathers we employ the same empathy and understanding that it took me to market cannabis to my own father.

My dad was a hippie and therefore a frequent pot user in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Following his flower child moment, he went completely clean – no alcohol or drugs of any sort – and he’s been that way for the past 40 years. Two years ago, however, he had a heart attack that almost killed him. The recovery meds his doctors had prescribed were opiate infused and kept him in bed, rather than pushing him towards recovery. Depression started settling in. He couldn’t sleep. It was heartbreaking and I knew cannabis was a better solution and could help break the cycle. Our “cannabis conversation” was very simple, though thoughtful, and went a little something like this:

“Dad, please eat an edible with me and Nick (my fiance). We can all just sit and watch the thunderstorm and hang out on the porch together. Please?”

“Okay, I’ll try it,” he said.

And that was it — a conversion made! He dumped the pharma meds immediately. The truth is, he had also been unnerved by the pharma recovery meds from the start and was ready for something different. What my fiance and I did was propose a solution on his terms in an environment where he is the most comfortable. It helped tremendously that I know just about everything about the man.

The three of us had so much fun that night. Once the edible took effect, my dad had no more pain or anxiety. We could converse and laugh at each other’s jokes, just like the old days. Best of all, he slept like a baby that night and has ever since. He now takes one edible per day and has become one of three very important buyer personas in my brand’s marketing toolkit.

Who then are the three most popular senior citizen dad personas my team engages with regularly? And how can an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry capture their attention this Father’s Day?

Related: More Seniors Are Using Marijuana and It May Decrease Their Opioid Use

1. The Aged Athlete

Do you know this guy? Incredible, right? He still rock-and-ice climbs, well into his 70’s. He is the club tennis champion. He still good with a chain saw. However, at the end of each day now his knees hurt. His shoulders hurt. His back hurts. He could use a bit of CBD and THC love to take those pains away and reduce his inflammation.

If you manufacture or sell any product, such as capsules or edibles, that fall into the 1:1 or even 25:1 category in terms of CBD to THC dosage percentages, Father’s Day might be one of the only times he slows down enough for you to capture his attention and then motivate him to give cannabis solutions a shot.

Related: Medterra CBD Signs Pro Golfers as Brand Ambassadors

2. The Tin Man

This is my dad. He has a doctorate degree in radioactive isotope geochemistry, but then he went and devoted his professional career to reforming the state of Idaho’s mental health and rehabilitation hospitals. In retirement, he spends three hours a day meditating in a meadow on a hill overlooking the home of my parents in Idaho. He has one of the closest relationships with God that I have ever witnessed, yet claims he is not a religious man. My dad wants to be active, but he has a big, broken heart.

He is a full believer in cannabis’ benefits today. And as a result, he is starting to seek out higher quality edible products, an important trend that should be noted by the reader. He and his ilk could eventually drive the growing craft edibles category.

Related: A Plea to Our Elders: Consider Medical Marijuana Before Opioids

The Dying Father

All I can say here is…life is just really hard sometimes. We have had customers visit us who required a chair in our showroom, simply because they were having a hard time standing up. Perhaps they had just come from a chemo session? Maybe they were recovering from a difficult surgery? Or maybe they were just in that much pain?

This personna is one that typically requires the type of assistance that a retail or product brand may not be accustomed to providing. It requires real caring, and listening. Those entrepreneurs who live their business and personal lives with ethos, who are in this game for more than just the opportunity to make a buck, won’t need to adjust to sell solutions to this personna. They are already acting in the right manner. Those minus ethos might want to look into some sensitivity training. It is not an audience that will forgive you twice. Nor should they.

Regardless of how well your brand address each of the many personna’s related to Father’s Day cannabis promotions, there is still an elephant in the room — the undecided. For whatever reason, there are a number of elderly dad’s out there who could benefit greatly from cannabis, but haven’t taken the plunge to actually try it. My own dad required a direct invitation from me. We are now both very thankful he listened to me. Some may require just a gentle nudge, while others might want further research from credible sources. Some, sadly, will never abandon their opiates.

It doesn’t matter where they fall on the spectrum though. When in doubt, market to them on Father’s Day as if they were your own dad. Don’t insult them. Get to know their needs and cater to them. They deserve that level of respect.

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How to Make Positive Changes to Your Marketing Process

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re in marketing, you’ll likely agree with me that your field is the toughest job in the world, and that being a good marketer is becoming harder than ever.

Related: 8 Ways to Make Your Marketing Message Stand Out

But it can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative job too — if you know how to do it right. Unfortunately, most marketers focus on how to do more instead of how to be efficient and that’s why they keep making the same mistakes again and again.

As a marketer, you need to focus on the things that it matters to say and make as much impact saying those things as possible..] Below are a few such things that can make your marketing process super-effective this year:

1. Focus on nurturing.

No matter what you sell, if you’re not focusing on nurturing buyers, you won’t be able to get good returns from marketing. Why?

Because, according to a report from the Bright funnel, it takes 52 percent more marketing touches (than if you didn’t use those touches) to close a deal. But most marketers focus instead on bringing more people iton the funnel instead of moving them through the funnel.

If you’re a B2B marketer who is using the lead-based marketing strategy to fill the funnel for sales, you should change this approach immediately. The reason is that this approach is broken and sub-optimal: Forrester Research has stated, for example, that fewer than 1 percent of leads will ever become customers.

Want, instead, to nurture your leads? Take inspiration from Sprout Social, a social media management software business that promoted a new feature by reaching out to leads via email and nurturing them.

Everyone wants more leads from marketing every year. That has become the basic expectation and unit of comparison for marketing success. But it shouldn’t be.

2. Follow the “less is more” approach.

The biggest mistake most marketers make when marketing is believing more channels + more messages = more conversions. Even if ’til now this has proved right for your company, it doesn’t have to dictate your future marketing process anymore.

Related: 7 Facebook Messenger Marketing Strategies You Can Try Today

Why? Because in the world of information overload, capturing attention has become tougher. So, no matter what the channel where you’re using email marketing, push notifications or content marketing the focus should be on providing value and engaging audience members instead of just reaching out to them.

Remember, when it comes to marketing, the main metric to look at is engagement. Start quantifying that. You can even just rank it on a scale of zero to ten.

3. Add clarity to your messages.

Attention spans are becoming shorter; it’s tough to capture attention, but it’s even tougher to hold it. Without a clear message, it’s tough to keep the attention as people will be confused. When people are confused, they don’t act on your messages.

Clearly define your target audience so you can speak to them in a way that resonates with them. Once you do that, you can efficiently reach the right people and turn them into customers.

You need to be creative with your marketing messages to capture attention, but you need to be clear too to hold that attention.

4. Leverage the power of AI

I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t we already harnessing the power of AI? Though it has been around for years, everyone is talking about it now. Yet in reality, few marketers are actually leveraging artificial intelligence.

Why? Because there’re myths and misconceptions about AI in marketing. Now the question is how to use AI to enhance marketing?

Use AI to gain a deeper understanding of your customers which in turn will help you in sending targeted marketing messages and improve your customer experience. For example, Sky TV has implemented a machine-learning model that is designed to recommend content according to the viewer’s mood

It’s vital to use AI in your marketing to reach the next level of personalization, which in turn will separate you from marketers who are just contributing to the noise.

5. Apply Sturgeon’s Law to your marketing.

Are you familiar with Sturgeon’s law? And are you using it in your marketing? If you haven’t heard about it, let me tell you what it says and then explain how it can help your marketing. 

Simply put, the law says that 90 percent of everything is crap. You read that right.  In reference to marketing,90 percent of your messages are not delivering value.

Now, I know that’s tough to accept, but once you do, you can better refine your messaging and stand out from the clutter. The law can help you avoid sending generic marketing messages to your buyers and become a better marketer. So definitely add it to your marketing process in 2019. You want to reach out to your audience when you have something to say and when it adds value, not because you think you have to.

Related: 5 Ways Words Can Destroy Your Marketing Messages (And How to Fix Them)

All marketers should ask themselves how they might be adding to the noise and what they can do to stop doing that and start improving the buying experience. 

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Kraft Rebrands Ranch Dressing as ‘Salad Frosting’ to Trick Kids Into Eating Vegetables

Oh boy.

2 min read

A major corporation is urging parents to lie to their children.

In what is decidedly not an April Fool’s joke, the multibillion-dollar food conglomerate Kraft Heinz ($26 billion in sales in 2018) has launched a new product (but really, it’s just ranch dressing) called Salad Frosting. The headline of the press release introducing this product is “Kraft Wants You to #LieLikeAParent.”

“Kraft is introducing Kraft Salad ‘Frosting,’ its Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing disguised in a frosting tube, giving parents a hand in upping their lie game,” the release states.

Related: Online Grocery Recommendations Are Lacking. 3 Young Entrepreneurs Have Created an AI-Powered Solution.

This is ranch dressing we’re talking about: the sweet, milky condiment that’s 110 calories per two tablespoons. It is by no means a health food.

There are other tricks parents use to get kids to eat vegetables, but they’re not as blatant as Kraft’s campaign. For example, Jessica Seinfeld has a recipe book that hides vegetables in treats such as cookies. A brand of frozen foods, Kidfresh, also hides vegetables in its products.

Kraft even says in its release that ranch dressing is the most popular condiment in the United States. So what gives?

I carrot even.

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The Steps of Creating Your Buyer Blueprint

Developing a good idea of who your best customers really are will help you find a strong market for your business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Scott Duffy’s book Breakthrough. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

In the end, business is all about the customer. You can break through and take your product to market, but you can’t make them buy it. Therefore, you need the right product for the right buyer.

The biggest mistake salespeople make is selling the wrong thing. They either push what they think is most important about their product or service or what their boss has told them to sell. When the prospect says no, they don’t understand why. It’s because the seller never asked what the prospect wanted — he didn’t understand their buyer blueprint.

Although I should have known better, I’ve fallen into this trap myself. One example was while I was at Virgin Charter. We had a smart, educated team. We were confident we understood our customer’s problems and knew how to solve them. So, we created a product road map, listing the features planned for development and ranking them in the order we would build them. With a hundred features on our list, I had the sense we were on the right track. Then, after spending lots of money building and going to market, we discovered a problem.

Related: 5 Ways to Inspire Creativity and Innovation in Your Employees

People just weren’t using our service in the way we thought they would. Our team spent its time building features on the back end of our website: creating efficiencies, automating systems, and developing the technologies to enable a buyer to purchase and manage their trip details online. But customers spent their time on the front end of our website, doing searches and viewing profiles of all the available aircraft. When they were ready to buy, most just picked up the phone and asked our team to process the order.

We needed to go back out into the market, so our sales, product, and technical people gathered in rooms with customers.

We soon learned that some of the functions people wanted most weren’t in the current product or in the top ten things to build in our product road map. Some weren’t even in our plan at all.

The challenge is to create a solid buyer blueprint before you do anything else. You can do this by asking two very simple questions:

1. What is most important to you?

Many times, if you ask a customer this question, the answer you’ll get is I don’t know. But try responding with But if you did know, what would it be? You’ll find that usually elicits useful answers, and the person will start listing the things they value most, perhaps without even realiz­ing it. Take notes, and once they’re done, work with them to rank every item on their list to identify which features are most important to them.

Related: 7 Ways to Make Outsourcing a Success Time After Time

For example, if you could only have this feature or that one, which one would you choose? Continue to rework and refine their answers. A potential buyer may say, for example, that their top priority is that a food item taste good or that a tech service is easy to use. That’s a start, but not all you need to know. This leads you to the second question.

2. How do you know you’re getting what you want?

Nearly everyone forgets to ask this question, and it may be the most important one. Why? Because the definition of “good taste” or “easy to use” is different for everyone. Your job is to not only find out what your prospect values, but also what rules they use to deter­mine whether they’re getting what they want. That makes follow-up questions essential: How do you know it tastes good? Do you crave sweet or sour, crunchy or smooth? How do you know it’s easy to use? Do you need to access it online? Would you require it on a mobile device?

With an early understanding of what your prospect wants, and how they know they’re getting what they want, you’ll be able to build and sell products and services that match your buyer’s blueprint, leading to big success for your business.

A word of caution, though: Just because a customer says they want something, that doesn’t mean they’ll buy it once they have a chance to use it. It’s not that they’re trying to deceive you; they can only know so much until they have a chance to experience what you have to offer. For that reason, it’s essential to do two things.

Related: The 13 Factors That Make a Strong Partnership

First, build one thing at a time rather than everything at once. That way, if your customers start using your product and realize they want something slightly different, you haven’t wasted too much valuable time and resources. Second, get customers to use the product as soon as possible and collect as much feedback as you can. Then iterate, redeploy, and scale.

Constant interaction and communication with your users and ongoing reevaluations of your product and priorities are the best way to keep moving forward. Established businesses often make the mistake of thinking they know exactly what their customers want, because they have been successful for many years. Times change, customers change, and their needs change. Keep asking for feedback to stay current. If you stop asking for feedback and stop learning about your customers, your competition will eventually crush you.

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