Guerrilla Customer Alienation Tactics!

Doing this causes me angst...

Maybe it is just me, but I hate it when someone tapes a brochure or a flyer to my mailbox…

You clearly know that you are NOT allowed to put it IN my mailbox, so why do you think it is cool to tape it to the outside?

Look, I advocate people to become Intrepid marketers…And I love business people who practice guerrilla tactics! But in my opinion, this isn’t one of them…

This method is just aggravating and frustrating. Interrupting me by making me deal with that flyer and tape (and removing paint from my mailbox) are, in fact, going to remove me from your list of potential customers…

[Disclosure: This post also applies to those who insert business cards into small baggies, along with a rock to weigh it down, and toss it onto the foot of my driveway as you are going down the street...]

So, let’s assume that you have carefully and thoughtfully identified my house as a real target for your business (and not just drove down my street and paid your mother-in-law to tape collateral to people’s mailboxes). Here are some other ways I’d reach out to these households:

1. There is this thing called the U.S. Postal Service. Create some really good direct mail – that articulates a simple message – solves a problem/fulfills a need – contains a very simple call to action. Direct mail, done right, targeted well, still works…

2. But if an extensive direct response mail program is not in your budget, break down your mailing list into smaller universes (get real guerrilla – down to the street), and send them handwritten notes, and insert a business card. The handwritten note BLOWS PEOPLE AWAY. “Hey Todd, I was on your street the other day, and noticed your roof might have some hail damage…would love 5 minutes to show you what I mean…”

3. Target a specific street, ID the right households, and snap a digital shot of the house. Go back to your office, and use a service like SendOutCards, and send me a personalized note using the photo of my home…

4. Knock on my door. Actually make an effort to chat with me. If I am not at home, leave a handwritten note on a piece of your collateral. I have NEVER had a small business service person knock on my door before (just candidates, religious folks, and the kid next door who’s mother wasn’t home yet…and she wanted to watch TV…).

5. Use social media to connect with me. Build groups (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) around tight geographical locations. Build a little community around a location. Yes, it is doable. It just takes a little thinking, a little creativity, and a wee bit of effort… But that’s got to be a better use of your time than driving down random streets tossing rocks out your car window…

6. Form a neighborhood mastermind association. If you fix and install roofs, form a little group in a targeted geographical area, network with other home improvement specialists, invite (by both direct mail and social media) area households to participate in a group discussion on ways to fix and improve their home. See who shows up. Might be a neat way to build some new relationships, land some new business, and get people talking…

Just a few ideas. Trust me, I appreciate that small businesses, operating on tight budgets, are looking for ways to get attention. I just don’t think being a nuisance, and taping something to my mailbox, is the best way to get it.

Think of some creative ways to connect with people. Yeah, you might be able to “reach” more households with the drive-by taped collateral strategy, but methinks you are far better off focusing on creative ways to connect with a more highly targeted audience…

What do you think?

  • http://www.nextlevelinnovation.com Mark H

    Placing brochures in your car’s windshield wipers is another marketing tactic that makes me avoid whatever they are offering.

  • Todd Schnick

    Oh man, that so belongs on the same list. I. Hate. That…