The Worst Marketing Idea Ever

23 replies
The other day I was at Home Depot. I saw one of the cashiers I know, and she was taking magazines off the shelf and throwing them in a cart. I said "what are you doing?" she replied "throwing the old magazines out". I said "WHAT?"

Needless to say I ended up with a ton of magazines, and project mags etc. My instant thought was to take some of the more manly ones to the VA and maybe drop some off at the insurances guys office, some doctors etc.

Well I am at home sorting throw them, my wife is keeping the ones she wants. ( I will be eating casseroles for the next 3 months now ) A thought popped through my head. I should stick a sticker on these saying compliments of WV Multi Tech and my number.

I head out to the office, and proceed to make labels that say Compliments of WV Multi Tech, and my phone number. well that didn't fill up the sticker, so I thought up a by line. So I added "If you are reading this, our crazy idea worked! Give us a call and see what we can do for your business."

Over the last few days I have been doing my usual running around, and stopping by and dropping of the magazines in 42 total locations. I figured I did my part in recycling un-used reading material and put them in places that will get good use.

My overall intention was to through the brand out a bit. I have a tv commercial running right now, a couple trucks running around with my logo, a poorly placed billboard, ( your standard end of year corporate contract funded advertising budget I had to use or loose )

Low and behold... I got 2 calls yesterday and have appointment set for next week. In my wildest dreams I would have never thought.

Hope that Helps!
#idea #marketing #worst
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Try anything because you never know what works but it's guaranteed that if you try nothing, nothing will work. Well done for thinking laterally and recycling at the same time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    I knew a guy some years ago, who had made a business out of recycled magazines.
    His customers were mostly doctors offices. He would stop in once a month and
    swap out older magazines for newer ones. He'd also "tidy up" the magazine
    rack and magazines lying around the waiting room.

    I believe he charged $20/mo. for the service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I just want to point out that those magazine were legally supposed to be trashed/recycled according to the contract. Not saying what you did is bad, as you were trying to do a good thing. But you and the cashier stole property that belonged to the magazine vendor.

    It's hard for people who have not worked in retail to understand but the magazines in stores that go unsold do not belong to the store. The magazine vendor has legal possession of them. They are to be destroyed/recycled.

    The reason they are not given away is who would pay for a magazine if they could merely wait a month and get it for free?

    The reason I bring this up is so that you and others are aware that you can't do this long term. The employee would be fired and you/your business could face criminal and civil charges though that is unlikely to happen unless you do it after they tell you to stop.

    The best course of action when it comes to magazines is to promote the vendors and publishers to recycle or give away the old ones to charities.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      What Aaron said. It isn't a long term strategy. That being said, buying used magazines, and placing them in offices...with your sticker on them...with a sales message...is inventive and smart. It's an ancillary approach that I never thought of.

      I applaud the effort.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Came back to add something, and saw your post, Aaron. Good point.
      No need to break the law.

      The guy I knew got his magazines from a recycling center. Don't know if he sorted magazines that had a mailing label from the ones that didn't. He might have.

      The magazines with a mailing label are paid for. No problem using those.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      I just want to point out that those magazine were legally supposed to be trashed/recycled according to the contract. Not saying what you did is bad, as you were trying to do a good thing. But you and the cashier stole property that belonged to the magazine vendor.

      It's hard for people who have not worked in retail to understand but the magazines in stores that go unsold do not belong to the store. The magazine vendor has legal possession of them. They are to be destroyed/recycled.

      The reason they are not given away is who would pay for a magazine if they could merely wait a month and get it for free?

      The reason I bring this up is so that you and others are aware that you can't do this long term. The employee would be fired and you/your business could face criminal and civil charges though that is unlikely to happen unless you do it after they tell you to stop.

      The best course of action when it comes to magazines is to promote the vendors and publishers to recycle or give away the old ones to charities.
      I absolutely understand what you are saying, and agree 100%. The part of the story that was left... Before removing the magazines, a manager was brought over, and the Magazine rep was called. There was an agreement made that #1 they would be given for free. #2 that they would go into business' that would already have magazines. #3 that they could be placed in non-profit type facilities IE the 3 VA facilities close by.

      With the exception of the 8 magazines that stayed at the house for future gourmet torture, and storage ideas, I stuck to the deal!

      I totally understand the concept of moving goods and protecting pricing. Like you said if you can wait 30 days and get it for free why buy it. However, seeing 200+ magazines thrown away seems such a shame to me.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        I absolutely understand what you are saying, and agree 100%. The part of the story that was left... Before removing the magazines, a manager was brought over, and the Magazine rep was called.
        Awesome. I have seen people do this in the past. You found a great way to legally do it. Glad you (or at least the store) knew the rule and handled it this way.

        This point here and Claude's earlier are great ways to take this and make it work long term.

        Also another idea would be to call a company with magazine's related to your niche and buy new or old issues in bulk for a low price. Maybe even a joint venture. They send you the issues and you add the note about it being compliments of your company. Plus there is a note with a special offer for those reading it to subscribe.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    Nicely done. Isn't it funny how the simplest things can work. Makes you laugh when you sit back and think that sometimes you spend a week coming up with some complex sales funnel and get zero results andsomething as simple as a sticker on a magazine gets you the call.
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  • Profile picture of the author andybeveridge
    What a great post. Just goes to show that we as marketers have to walk around with our eyes very much open,
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    • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
      Love it!

      Wait til someone steals this idea and creates a WSO from it. I can just see it now....

      "The Recycle Method - The Ultimate Free Way To Create A Stampede Of Offline Leads While Saving The Environment"
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
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        Originally Posted by mrmatt View Post

        Love it!

        Wait til someone steals this idea and creates a WSO from it. I can just see it now....

        "The Recycle Method - The Ultimate Free Way To Create A Stampede Of Offline Leads While Saving The Environment"
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      • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
        Originally Posted by mrmatt View Post

        Love it!

        Wait til someone steals this idea and creates a WSO from it. I can just see it now....

        "The Recycle Method - The Ultimate Free Way To Create A Stampede Of Offline Leads While Saving The Environment"
        Yep, give it a few months for this thread to disappear first. 42 locations though?...that is some serious shoe leather!
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by xlfutur1 View Post

          Yep, give it a few months for this thread to disappear first. 42 locations though?...that is some serious shoe leather!
          30 of them were a 1 stop medical office complex by the hospital. It really wasn't that bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    wait for it!!!.........holy camoly!!!............Magazine Bux.....coming soon.

    I'd think the magazine publishers would want the outdated ones distributed to waiting rooms instead of recycling them. A chance for someone to grab a subscription card.
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  • Profile picture of the author karenfisher252
    There is always a scope to experiment in marketing. As long as you try something that others have not done, you will be at least able to gauge the results quicker and that is what leaders are made of. Take the risks. If fail then fail quickly and learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
    Hi there,

    Not to derail or divert the thread but we have had some great successes by trolling Amazon and finding older books that pertain to our clients' business and doing a deal to buy as many as we can at a super-steep discount (often pennies per pieces) so our clients can then give them away as a gift. So long as it's related to the business they're in it becomes a talking point.

    All the best,

    Sasha.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Sasha,

      That's a great idea. For some reason, it reminds me of a practice that was common 25 years ago. People would place a business card, usually for multilevel marketing, in business books and biz opp. magazines in bookstores and libraries. I always wondered how well it worked.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cray
    Great post! It Inspired me to try new things!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
    This is a great idea. Down here in Australia, magazine covers are torn off and a deep slash is cut into the first few pages made with a "Stanley" knife (box cutter) but used magazines can be purchased very cheaply on eBay (I buy hot rod magazines for cents on the dollar) and I know there a lot of guys who'd love to read a hot rod magazine in a waiting room. With some thought and effort I bet a heap of free (reasonably current) magazines are being given away or thrown away in Gumtree (our local free classifieds site - owned by eBay now).

    I just did a search for "Magazines"" and sorted by price and counted at least 50 ads for "Free Magazines" in all sorts of categories. Legal problem solved.

    Quality post "Savidge" - thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom Addams
    Great post, OP; posts like yours are one of the reasons I read WF and enjoy the place so much.

    I actually thought of doing the same thing just before getting to that part of your story, but the idea never occurred to me before reading it. So clever!

    Have you had any more calls?
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Victoria Stone View Post

      Great post, OP; posts like yours are one of the reasons I read WF and enjoy the place so much.

      I actually thought of doing the same thing just before getting to that part of your story, but the idea never occurred to me before reading it. So clever!

      Have you had any more calls?
      11 replies from 10 different locations so far that I am aware of. I didn't even think of "tracking" this, so I just listed my main number. But all of these callers pointed out that they saw it on a magazine.
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  • Profile picture of the author JRJWrites
    Absolute genius.

    Now watch someone steal it and post it in the WSO section in T - 10 days.

    And yeah, it definitely sounds like casserole for a long time...
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