I am a sucker for a good cupcake and am fortunate to live in a city with many delicious options. And while I realize that the whole cupcake craze is just that – a fad, I love how several cupcake bakeries are pushing the marketing envelope in big ways and small.

Big ways: In case you missed the news, Sprinkles, the CA-based chain with truly tasty cupcakes, has invented a cupcake “ATM” that enables customers to buy fresh cupcakes 24/7. A local news organization asked me for my thoughts as part of a larger piece about the ATM. You can watch it here, and my perspective comes in at the 45 second mark: Sprinkles ATM

Little ways: A local Chicago cupcake shop, Sugar Bliss, is located down the street from my gym’s parking garage. Every so often on a Saturday, I encounter this message chalked on the sidewalk outside the exit door:

It’s light-hearted, fun and totally aligned with what the cupcake eating experience is all about.

The lesson for me in all of this cupcake craziness?
1. Be thoughtful about your customers: Think about the problems you want to solve, be they how to deliver your product 24/7 without paying to keep your store open or how to generate awareness and drive business to your location.
2. No matter what your level of resources , there are always creative things you can do to try to reach your target better/differently.
3. Look to unrelated industries and businesses to see what they’re doing to market to their customer needs and think about how you could translate that to your own business.