This Tweet Connected Me With A Starbucks Executive

Jeanette Cajide
Jeanette Cajide

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All startup founders have crazy ideas. In early 2012, I had one I was utterly passionate about.

At the time, I had recently launched Blurtt, an iPhone application that helped people better communicate. To further this mission, I wanted to turn Blurtt into a micro-gifting app. 

I thought, how cool would it be to click a few buttons and end up sending someone a cup of Starbucks coffee? (Keep in mind, this was an era pre-Facebook gifting).

The idea was too exciting to start small - so I started big.

I wanted to connect with the Chief Digital Officer of Starbucks, Adam Brotman. If I could convince him of my idea, I could build the integration within Blurtt and use the Starbucks partnership to launch a full-fledged campaign.

So, I sent him a simple tweet - 

Most people would think, yeah, right, why would the CDO of Starbucks respond to a tweet from a random user with, at the time, less than 1,000 followers?

Well, within two hours, he sent me his email and tweeted back!

My thinking behind this tweet was as simple as it looks -

1. Keep it short. This was easy with Twitter's character limitation.

2. Be human. I mean, I called myself weird!

3. Add some quick credibility. I mentioned my startup.

That same day, I almost immediately followed up at the email he sent. My message looked something like this - 

Hello from Blurtt

 Hi Adam,

I am so glad we could connect. I have been wanting to reach out for a while now given your background is perfect for the advice I am looking for.  

A while back (about a year ago) I was working on a direct marketing idea where people could send real postcards for free with their own message and photo with an ad on it. We had a scaling issue as the only way to make the model work was through economies of scale which a bootstrapped startup was not going to be able to achieve on its own. We pivoted away from direct marketing ads and now focused on digital user-generated expressions. For example http://blurtt.me/b/NTQ2MA and http://blurtt.me/b/NTU0Nw  

One vision I've had for the product is the ability to do micro-gifting - low-commitment gifts. The idea being that a person creates a Blurtt and has the option to add a cup of coffee from Starbucks and send to a friend. You have the perfect background with Corbis (user-generated images/content) and now with your position at Starbucks overseeing digital. I just had to ask you for advice!  

I know you are super busy but I would love your thoughts/gut reaction to the idea -- you can download Blurtt <http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blurtt/id504945253?ls=1&mt=8> from app store if you'd like to check it out (also blurtt.com <http://blurtt.com> has some screen shots).  

Thank you for your time and for letting me connect with you. I look forward to hearing from you.

send-now-sidekick-hubspot-content

You may be thinking - wow, that's a long email. 

While typically my goal is to keep emails as brief as possible, this was different. A Starbucks executive doesn't have the time to converse with me over a series of brief notes. This one email was my shot at getting my point across and hope for some action. 

Three hours later, Adam ended up introducing me to his head of product. We later met and I delivered my pitch. We even discussed mobile payments, which in 2012, was before Square became as popular as it is now. 

They thought it was an awesome idea. I had Starbucks on my side. 

Now, this would be any founder's happily ever after ... but unfortunately Blurtt funding didn't pan out as anticipated. We simply didn't have the traction to make this work. 

But that's not the point of the story. The point is that I hustled my way to make a great connection. One that has strengthened my network with high-value contacts. And regardless of the outcome, I continue to maintain touchpoints with Adam, even if it's just a simple tweet, to ensure his relationship is secure in my network.

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Topics: Social Selling

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