Drivers eat free

I was driving on I-74 recently and saw an Arby's billboard:

Buses Welcome Drivers Eat Free

I thought it was a brilliant marketing strategy for bringing in extra customers — giving a free meal to bus drivers. What could be better for a fast food restaurant in rural Indiana than for a double-decker charter tour bus to drive through?

But then I thought about it a little more and wondered how effective the offer is. Bus drivers may be driving the bus, but how often are they making the decisions about where to go? On a chartered bus, doesn't the leader of the group riding in the bus usually make the decision where to eat?

This reminds me of some good advice from The Art of the Start for generating sales. Guy Kawasaki provides the insight, "Ignore titles and find the true key influencers." He gives the example of a company where a person with the title "Database Administrator III" was the one who influenced major 6-figure purchases for his company, not the people at the top of the org chart.

The billboard brings to mind another insight: it pays for bus drivers to be loved by their customers — they might get to eat free at Arby's.

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