Clever Techniques to Squelch Competition

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One of my favorite stories in "301 Do-it-Yourself Marketing Ideas" is #217. Bruce Wisman, VP of an appliance store in Ft. Wayne, IN, wanted his store to be the last one visited before going home. He devised a plan discouraging browsers from shopping at other appliance stores.

Wisman filled a freezer with gallons of ice cream, and just before customers left the store, he handed each one with a free carton.

Not only did the customers’ hearts melt at Wisman’s generosity, so did the ice cream; and people hurried home to get it into the freezer. That put an end to comparison shopping for the day and left Wisman’s appliances on his customers’ minds.

Another example of eliminating the competition, while also building traffic, comes from Martin Lindstrom’s site (Brand guru, author):

Some years ago, an Australian takeout pizza place used the Internet in an attempt to boost sales. Traffic was slow. Hardly anyone visited the site. The need for an increase in traffic was urgent.

If traditional online media planning had been used, banners and links would have been purchased and the URL added to the shop’s phone-book entry. It might even have invested in some traditional ads.

The pizza place went a different route. Instead of spreading money between off- and online ads, it spent the entire budget on radio. The spots were simple but extremely effective. So effective. They were so effective that the restaurant’s increased business caused most of the local competition to shut down.

How did they do it?

Instead of offering discounts or merely promoting its URL, the pizza place’s radio ads asked listeners to tear out all the pizza-restaurant pages from their yellow pages and bring them in. In return for the pages, customers received a free pizza of their choice and a sticker with the restaurant’s URL.

Very clever!

2 Responses

  1. Creative Marketing Strategy

    Check out this blog post on creative marketing.
    He mentions an appliance salesman that would give out free gallons of ice cream to everyone that stopped in his store. By doing this, the salesman caused the consumers to rush home to put the ice cr…

  2. I like the technique the pizza place used. Very clever…if only it were applicable to my business. It may be obvious to say, but the effective use of search engine optimisation and pay per click campaigns could definately increase traffic to the website & business.

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