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Newsletter #744: The “One Man’s Trash” Issue

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One man's trash is the smart marketer's treasure. With a little creativity, you can find opportunities to turn what would otherwise be thrown away into something useful. Keep an eye out for these:

   1> The new product  
   2> The planet saver  
   3> The discount  
   4> Check it out: Who's the cutest?

1> The new product

Are you throwing away what could be your new product? Oreo doesn't — they package up their crumbs and sell them as "Medium Cookie Pieces," perfect for sprinkling on ice cream, adding to a cheesecake, or making chocolate pie crusts. And they're not the only ones: Farmers sell straw (leftovers from a grain harvest), sugar companies sell molasses (created when refining sugar), and oil companies sell asphalt (derived from crude oil). Look at your crumbs, your trash heap, and the stuff that fails quality-control inspections, could it really just be another product in disguise?  

The Lesson: Look for opportunities to create by-products by spinning an otherwise waste product into something people are willing to pay for.  

2> The planet saver

Sometimes what you consider trash can help save the world. When hair stylist Phil McCrory noticed how well Alaskan otters' fur absorbed oil while watching coverage of the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill on CNN, he began testing how much he could absorb with clippings from his salon. Phil then invented his oil-absorbent "Hair Mat" and teamed up with Matter of Trust, which now accepts thousands of donations of excess hair from salons around the country to help soak up oil from oceanic spills.  

The Lesson: Don't waste your waste. It might not make you rich, but it just might help make the world a little better.  

Learn More: MatterOfTrust.org

3> The discount

Wasted products make a marketer cringe. Smart ones realize that selling what would otherwise go to waste — even for a discount — is better than throwing it away. An airline seat, for example, is a waste unless someone has paid to sit in it — and anything is better nothing. It's why airlines like JetBlue and United are offering their Twitter followers first dibs at last-minute seats that would otherwise go empty. Not only does this fill up planes with open seats, but it gives travelers an extra incentive to connect and follow the brands via social media.

The Lesson: Empty seats, rotten food, and outdated technology aren't much good for anyone. Offer last-minute leftovers at a discount to your insider fans as a perk to them and a bottom line saver for you.

Learn More: USA Today

4> Check it out: Who's the cutest?

Wondering who the cutest is? Look no more!

Check it out: WhoIsTheCutest.com

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