A Few Marketing Lessons From Driveway Spammers

Every spring, they appear like leaves do in the fall. Unwanted, they sit at the end of the driveway in the muck left from winter. Landscapers, contractors, handymen, and asphalt companies have all latched on to a marketing technique that bears some discussion.

Here’s how it works: Print up a cheap flyer on yellow or green paper, grab some gravel and stuff both into a plastic bag, and tie it closed. Then head for my neighborhood and litter every driveway in sight.

This unsolicited marketing usually ends up at the dump—sorry, transfer station. Does anyone open these? My informal survey on morning walks with my dog shows that this driveway spam is nearly universally ignored. But these rebellious marketers continue to do it.

Now, as we approach the driveway spam season, here are a few lessons we can learn from these Ziploc strategists:

– Unsolicited messages get ignored. You might have a magical message. But if your marketing is unsolicited it’s a certainty that your message will be roundly ignored.

The lesson: Make sure your marketing messages go to clean, opt-in lists.

– Know your market’s sensibilities. If you’re a landscaper, messing up the landscape with your marketing is not a good way to get customers.

The lesson: Don’t do something in your marketing that goes counter to your business or your values. 

– Don’t do the same things over and over again and expect a different result. They say that’s the definition of insanity. If your marketing isn’t working, doing more of the same won’t fix it.

The lesson: You’re doing something wrong. Stop, learn and move on.

Maybe some of these flyers are successful. Perhaps a few people desperate to get their lawn mowed or driveway paved, open them up and give a call. But I doubt it. I think these flyer jockeys would be better off giving incentives to their existing customers (if they have any) to spread the word.

For example, my mechanic sends me a crisp $10 bill (not in a baggie at the end of my driveway, by the way) every time I refer a new customer.

But he knows what he’s doing—under the hood and as a marketer.

I found my mechanic 20 years ago through a referral, just like I found my handyman and occasional landscaper. It’s the best way.

So, instead of throwing bags at out of their car windows, I’d suggest these driveway spammers ask their existing customers to refer new ones. The world will have less litter and we’ll all be happier.

Now, if only spring would arrive.


Mark Reed-Edwards

Mark Reed-Edwards had a flash of inspiration in the summer of 2010.On a hot day, he decided he would strike out on his own to start his own firm. Well, the truth is, he’d had that same flash every year for the past http://reachhighershasta.com/cheap/ two decades. Only this time he actually did it. With a couple of clients in tow, he set… more

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