Have you ever spent hundreds of dollars, and hours of time finding the perfect gift for a young child, only to have them toss it aside in order to play with the cardboard box it came in? Sometimes when we’re focused on the latest technology in marketing, and the newest form of communicating ideas to our customers, we lose sight of the fact that they just might be more interested in the (theoretical) cardboard box.
Consider this: when you’re wandering around a new neighborhood and start to feel hungry, you’ll generally look around to find a good place to stop for lunch. Maybe you’ll pick up your phone and check Yelp or Google for reviews, but we bet that more likely than not, you’ll be more swayed by the sign on the front of a building near you, a sidewalk chalkboard announcing today’s specials, or the looks on the faces of the customers enjoying their meals. You may notice that an establishment has cool decor, fun music, or cheap drink specials; and that will probably be enough to get you in the door.
Here’s where the cardboard box theory comes in: if that restaurant above spent all of their time focusing only on their marketing toys (Facebook, Twitter, website, online review sites, online video, Pinterest, etc.) they may neglect to write today’s specials on the sidewalk board. Or maybe they won’t notice that a bulb has burned out on their sign, or that their patio tables are not displayed well.
The next time you sit down to work on your marketing tactics, consider your company’s own cardboard box. This typically consists of the tried-and-true (but often dropped-for-newer-ideas) tactics such as:
- Physical signage
- Letterhead / envelopes / presentation folders
- Office reception or retail space – decor
- Direct mail
- Outdoor signage/advertising – sandwich boards, billboards, sponsor signage opportunities
- Sponsorships and targeted event participation
- Speaking opportunities
While there are too many ‘cardboard box’ marketing opportunities to include in this post, the point is to make sure that you’re not forgetting the small & simple efforts that will make your brand stand out in a crowd. While people may love your Facebook posts, if they aren’t excited by the atmosphere of your business when they arrive, you will have achieved nothing more than one more ‘friend’ that will never be a customer.
Do you have a Cardboard Box marketing effort that works for your business? Please share it in the comments section.