William Henry Harrison

In my main keynote, I take the audience through a series of three essential elements for successful marketing. The first element, “Marketing begins with the Product” is usually met with a collective “Duh” from the room. But so many organizations skip this step. Many start-ups don’t even consider marketing in the early stages of product development.

The main question that you need to answer before you do anything else is: Do you have something that people want?

If the answer is NO, then all the “marketing” in the world isn’t going to help you.

Of course, if you’re the government, these rules don’t seem to apply. Current case-in-point: the new dollar coins. In case you haven’t heard, the US Mint is producing a new dollar coin that features all the presidents in the order they served. A new presidential coin will be rolled out every three months until 2016. It’s modeled on the 50 state quarter program and the Mint is betting the bank on it. (Ha!)

Bu these coins will be a flop. And there are several reasons. Aside from the fact that the portraits on the front of the coins are hideous, the main reason is that we’ve been through this twice before. I was given Susan B. Anthony dollars as “gifts” and told not to spend them. In the first year of circulation, I only saw one Sacagawea Golden Dollar as they were being handed out as trinkets by a bank at a home show. I did get nine of them once at a post office vending machine and finally had to take them to a bank to get “real money” since no one would take them from me for payment.

It looks like the Mint would have the sense to see that a dollar coin isn’t something that Americans want. If you produced something that customers had flatly rejected twice before, would you try a third time? The word on the street/blogosphere is that we’ll never see a successful US dollar coin until we eliminate the paper dollar, which isn’t likely.

Of course, the third time may be the charm. Since the project has to go on for the next ten years to get all the presidents, the public may accept them. Or in 2014, I may be trying to find a way to spend Calvin Coolidge at some place other than the post office.

Bonus Trivia:
—Jimmy Carter has to die by 2014…(he will be eaten by wolves in 2012)…in order for the program to keep working and have the Reagan coin come out. The coins have to be issued in the same order as the presidential terms and a president has to have been dead for two years to be on a coin.
—Yes. Grover Cleveland gets two.

Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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One comment on “William Henry Harrison
  1. Coin Talk says:

    Actually, I believe that this series of coins will be far more successful than the last two attempts at a dollar coin. The reason being that the target market is different. They’re not really trying to supplant the dollar bill anymore. They’ve taken what they’ve learned from the wildly successful state quarter series and are applying it to this. While the volume will no doubt me much less, the profit margin will be close to four times as much. The dollar coins are only slightly more expensive to make than a quarter, but the base price the mint will be selling is at least four times. You’re right about dollar coins not being widely circulated unless the paper dollar is eliminated, but in terms of success I think you’re measuring it with the wrong yardstick.