The Girl Scouts are getting market-savvy with their Cookie decisions


With over two-thirds of their annual budget--a whopping $714 million a year, coming from cookie sales, the Girl Scouts of the USA need to be savvy in their selling and marketing tactics.

That's why this year, the Scouts are piloting a program in some areas called "Super Six" which abandons sales of their lower-performing brands such as the no-trans-fat versions and the "diabetic-friendly" sugar-free Chocolate Chips, along with a whole handful of poor-performing brands like Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, and All Abouts.

The Girl Scouts will be sticking close to the six core varieties that make up 77% of sales (you know, the old 80/20 rule). Here to stay (for now) are the Thin Mints, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, and Trefoils.

So Good reports that the best selling Girl Scout cookies (making up 77% of sales) are:

  • 25% Thin Mints
  • 19% Samoas®/Caramel deLites®
  • 13% Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs®
  • 11% Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®
  • 9% Shortbread/Trefoils

By limiting the number of coookie brands, the Girl Scouts plan is to increase revenue, and decrease costs. Fewer cookie brands means a streamling of sales (fewer choices to ponder), and a speed-up in cookie delivery.

"We're all seeking a little more simplicity," says Amanda Hamaker, the manager of national product sales for the Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scouts will hold cookie colleges to explain to their all-girl sales force why the changes make business sense.

Last year, the Girl Scout cookies reduced certain varieties of cookies by one ounce per box, and in many areas, prices were increased to $4 per box.

The Wall Street Journal reports that by focusing on business approaches, and on skills and lessons the program teaches girls, the Scouts have been able to reverse a six-year decline in cookie sales of about 1% every year until last year, when profits rose to $714 million from $700 million.

"Cookie sales have changed drastically since I was a girl," says Brandi Norman, whose 14-year-old daughter, Peach Norman Owen, sold 2,000 boxes of cookies last year in Cincinnati for the Western Ohio Council. "I tell Peach that she's selling more than cookies, she's selling people's impressions of Girl Scouts."

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