Friday, December 05, 2008


O.K., I admit it. I'm a sucker for a good promotion.

So, when we got a fax this morning from the local chamber of commerce announcing that the new Subway sandwich shop was having a Grand Opening today and offering Buy-One-Get-One FREE subs, I bit. (Pun intended.)

It was a very good deal. Not often can I get a foot long sub sandwich for less than $3. In fact, it was such a good deal the guy in front of me was ordering a DOZEN sandwiches for people in his office. It was quite funny watching him check the details on each order...

"Is that the roast beef on wheat? He gets peppers, not hot peppers, green peppers... The cold cut combo on white? I think he wanted mustard -- no -- yes. Yes it says mustard on my note."

Working with the local chamber, the restaurant was able to blast an announcement to every business on their list. By doing this, they were able to get an ad in my hand in a quick, timely and inexpensive manner. So he turned a media most people think of as dead into an effective marketing tool.

For a recent trade show, I used a fax blast, too. I was able to reach each show attendee a few days before he or she left for the show to remind them to stop by my client's booth.

I didn't have to just hope they ran across our ad in the trade journal, or that the mailer got to them in time or that they opened the email we sent. I still did all those things. But I was able to hit them one more time with our marketing message just before they left town for the show.

And it was very effective.

In fact, using our fax system, we were able to personalize each fax from the opt-in list. So, each fax was addressed to the person it was intended for. In fact, it made me chuckle when we got back several faxes with "He's no longer with our company" scrawled on them.

How often does advertising get that kind of personal attention?

Of course there are issues. You can't legally fax everyone. (They have to be a customer or have opted-in to your fax list.) And you don't want to overdo it and become obnoxious. But, managed with discretion, it can be a good, occasional use of an underused media.

Black and white marketing may not have the same impact as full color. But I bit. And ended up buying a bite.

Takeaway: How can you use an underused media to reach your target market? What can you do to make your appeal more appealing?