New Years’ resolutions are hard to keep, whether for individuals or for companies. To offer some support for small businesses, Staples has launched a new Web site in partnership with StickK.com. The “StickK to It! Business Challenge” encourages users to set business goals. If they succeed, they can earn Staples merchandise and services.  

The 50,000 users on the site have entered into 30,000 contracts. Although anyone can enter into a contract, the focus is on small businesses, most of which never measure their performance to determine if they are successful or if they have met their goals. The tough economy makes it even more difficult for small businesses to focus on specific goals, especially when they have that next phone call to make, another e-mail to respond to, and one more client to sooth.

For Staples, the initiative may lead to the acquisition of more small business customers. The retailer gains brand recognition due to its nontraditional marketing campaign, and customers will start using Staples products when they reach their goals. If these original small businesses grow into medium or large businesses, Staples likely will continue to enjoy its loyalty, in the form of a much larger business account.

In this economy, retailers that show concern for t heir customers and try to help them succeed should gain brand recognition and a positive brand image in the long term. This initiative is slated to end on April 12; businesses still have the opportunity to make their short and reasonable goals materialize.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why has Staples launched this Stickk to It! Business Challenge?

2. How is Staples incentivizing small businesses to meet their goals?

Sarah Mahoney, “Staples Launches Small-Biz Incentive Plan,” Marketing Daily, January 5, 2010.