Investing in cash register tape

cash register tapeMy next investment will be in a company that produces cash register tape. Their profits must be growing as fast as the length of tape I get with each new purchase. Print may be dying, but not in that area of the paper marketplace.

I am glad that many store sales people ask whether I want a receipt. I love it when they ask before printing one out.

Companies are fooling themselves in thinking many people will read cash register tape marketing messages. Today’s marketplace is so crowded with information that it’s good to be as strategic as possible in where you put your messages. This throw-away item is not one of the best marketing message channels.

By the way, this receipt – over 18″ long – was for just one item. And to set your mind at ease, I won’t put my money in cash register company stock.

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Last mention

Greener Grass Media BlogHey friends.

Today, I’m writing over at the blog on my business site, Greener Grass Media. I post something there once or twice a week. I’d love for you to visit. Even if you’re not a business person, I think you’ll find some useful ideas.

This may be the last time I’ll mention that here, as I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Finally, if you would like automatic notification of when I post something there, start using an RSS reader. Here are some simple instructions on how and why. The difference is that you’ll start by clicking the button on your browser I’ve shown below.

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Using QR codes in marketing

Here at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, QR codes are everywhere. If you don’t know what they are, here’s the Wikipedia description. (In short, they are smartphone scannable codes that send users off to a website or mobile application. They often allow the originator to grab a potential new customer.)

Problem? Too many of these babies are all over the place here. It’s as if each company said, “We need to get something out there with a QR code on it – and it doesn’t matter what it says or links to. Just get it out now, now. We only have two weeks till the event kicks off!”

Fail.

None of them (that I saw) thought of a hook to make themselves stand out among the sea of other QR codes. Moral of the story? Take a little longer to think through your marketing effort before you launch it.

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Lack of proper research

Our son Jay is a junior in high school. This haul of mail was one day’s set of letters from colleges and universities wanting him to apply. Sadly for them, their mailings almost instantly end up in the recycle bin. Nothing distinguishes one from another.

If any of those universities’ marketing departments actually had children in the target age group for their mailings, they would try reaching their target audience another way.

Takeaway: What are some ways your message can be different than that of your competitors?

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Simplify

Two receipts were given to me after I bought a few pieces of flagstone for a Saturday afternoon project. One was nicely generated by the cash register – complete with a little marketing message at the bottom (“On August 28th, the first 40 customers receive a free reusable bag!”). And then there was the no-technology carbon-copy of a hand-written receipt, showing the weight of the flagstones I purchased.

Santa Fe Sand & Gravel could save themselves time and money by integrating their systems – so that all the info is on the computer-assisted receipt.

Takeaway: Simplify. What are some ways you can simpilfy your business – or life – by eliminating redundant systems?

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Excess perfume

GQ-perfumeI got a free subscription to a men’s magazine. One issue and then I canceled – but that’s another story.

The magazine had five separate ads for cologne with scent-laden flaps. Two might have been alright. Five? None of those advertisers are getting much bang-for-their buck.

Analogy: If you ate a meal and then had ice cream, two scoops would be enjoyable. But five?

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And no one noticed

checker-oreillyThe Checker Auto Parts store in our neighborhood quietly changed its name to O’Reilly Auto Parts. The only change was the sign. The transition was mandated by some high-level corporate decision… I think a corporate merger was involved.

I’d consider the change to be a waste of money, as long as the Checker name still exists (which it does).

Takeaway: If you’re going to change your name, make it worth your while. Change something else too.

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Retire online

retire-onlineI thought that this headline represented an unusual choice. I chalk it up to marketing innocence – or ignorance.

My thoughts were several: does this mean that I can retire if I start an online business? That Patty Duke has already retired online, except for her promising modeling career? That this website (not prominently featured) would help me to learn how to retire? That as an internet user, I am encouraged to help an older person who does not know how to use the internet?

Takeaway: Writers, let’s think a little more carefully before we publish those headlines.

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