Don’t lose sight of good old fashioned marketing in our digital age

June 2009

The Hughes’ will, if the shortcomings of the English legal system allow, be shortly moving house and business premises (anyone that’s ever sold a property to buy another will know what I mean about ‘shortcomings’ – you never really know you’re sale is okay until the day you move out).

But the uncertainty such a situation creates, doesn’t of course mean you can avoid still going through the entire process of ensuring you’re ready to move out on the big day. And for that day, you certainly won’t be moving anywhere without a big removal truck on your drive.

So with that in mind I went to the website of the country’s big remover – you know them: their name begins with a P and they are to removals what Simon Cowell is to talent shows. I filled in my online form and was reassured by the message that then came up (words to effect) ‘thank you for your enquiry, we will contact you within 24 hours to arrange an appointment’.

I waited 24 hours but not a sausage. I waited a further three days and still no call or email, but I did receive a postcard through the door from a small local removal business, offering their services for our impending move. How did they know I was moving? (I asked the chap who subsequently came to see me.) They pay the company that put the sale boards up for leads when the board gets the ‘sold subject to contract’ bit attached to it (the latter three words being the crux of the shortcomings in our English and Welsh legal system – not so Scotland) and then simply send their postcard out.

In fairness to the big P remover, I did eventually get a call with an apology around “sorry we had problems with our system”. Yeah, yeah – get yourself sorted out…

There’s obviously a simple message here which is about not losing site of basic, simple, obvious and logical old fashioned marketing in our digital age. This story also made me think about a disagreement I had with a client last year who, as the downturn started to bite, decided to stop conventional advertising but increase his PPC spend. I applauded the latter, but not at the entire expense of the former.

And anyone who needs further convincing that the old ways of doing things still have a place in our increasingly digital world, should take note of how the brand which optimises all things digital – Google – entice small businesses to advertise with them for the first time: They send them a postcard.

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