A reader, Paul Rusnak, wrote in with the following account of his failed attempt at marketing:
Here is something that happened to one of my creative marketing ideas… that didn’t work or maybe it did work and I don’t know it yet.
I own and manage a local pack and ship store called Goin’Postal in Washington NJ and I am always looking for new marketing ideas. Since I am only open 6 months, my main goal was to make people aware of my location and the services I offer.
The annual car show seemed like a great opportunity to get my word out. They were asking local business owners to pay $300.00 to help sponsor the event. Alternatively, I can put a giveaway in one of the “goodie bags” that would be given out to each car registered.
I thought about the typical pen with my name on it or the travel mug with my logo on it that most people may or may not use but I wanted to do something unique. I notice giving away money really worked for the time-share industry so I decided to try that on a smaller scale.
I printed 150 coupons that offered a FREE $ 2.00 bill. No purchase necessary — no strings attached. Just bring the coupon to my store and I will give you a brand new $2.00 bill. Remember my goal was to get people aware of where I was located. I was two blocks from the car show. A 5 minute walk at most for $2.00. I was open early with my 150 $2 bills wondering how fast they would disappear. 1 hour, maybe 2 hours at the most. Well to my surprise, giving away money, even in this economy only brought in three people.
Did it work? NO. But it only cost me $6.00 to find out. I could have spent $300 to be one of the sponsors but now I have $294. back for an idea that didn’t work.
Can the economy be that bad if people will not even come in for free money? Maybe they thought it was a joke because of my store’s name. Who knows?