Corporate Eye

Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? 7-Eleven Does

7 eleven 7 election obama Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? 7 Eleven DoesI found a great example of a brand that is learning who its customers are in a unique and indirect way. 

Did you know that 7-Eleven customers have projected the U.S. Presidential Election winner accurately for the past two elections and with uncanny accuracy in terms of how the votes were split?  Want to know how they did it?  Since 2000, 7-Eleven provides customers a choice.  Do you want to get your coffee in the Democratic nominee’s blue 7-Eleven cup or the Republican nominee’s red 7-Eleven cup? 

Turns out the coffee cup preference of 7-Eleven customers exactly mirrors the voting preferences of Americans.  In both the 2000 and 2004 elections, 7-Eleven Democrat blue and Republican red cups sold at a rate that directly reflected the final voting results from both elections.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

It would appear that 7-Eleven coffee drinking customers represent the part of the American consumer market who actually go out and vote.  By implementing a simple and fun marketing promotion (blue Democrat and red Republican coffee cups), 7-Eleven has identified its customers as not only being interested in politics but also active participants in politics.  Imagine the opportunities for sponsorship events and other branded activities around political activities that 7-Eleven can leverage.   On the flip side, 7-Eleven can gain valuable insight into its customers’ demographics from this simple promotional campaign.  It’s a win-win situation for 7-Eleven.

So take a lesson from 7-Eleven.  What kind of brand promotions can you create that will provide you with more than just a sales bump?  7-Eleven leveraged the buzz about the Presidential Elections in 2000, 2004 and now in 2008 (by the way, Barack Obama is currently leading the 7-Eleven coffee cup race) to create an interactive word-of-mouth marketing campaign that consumers love.  How can you do something similar with a current event to draw a buzz to your brand? 

Check out 7-Election for the details about the 7-Eleven promotion.

Image: Flickr

 Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? 7 Eleven Does
Susan Gunelius is the author of multiple marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and blogging books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, a leading blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for, a featured writer for, and the Guide to Blogging for Additionally, her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,,,,,, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Small Business, and more. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Susan also appears at in-person and virtual events where she speaks about marketing, branding, social media, and more (visit for more information). You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.


Talking about 7-Eleven, they could use an ambush marketing technique by giving out free coffee cups even if their Styrofoam ones in a sack. As long as they put their logo and business name on it. Then everyone would find out about 7-Eleven.

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