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Guerrilla marketing 101,
The President recently authorized two new medals for the brave soldiers sailors Air Force & Marines who've been fighting the Global War on Terrorism for all of us.

I ordered a bunch of the ribbons that go with the medals and (due, I think, to my policy of paying bills when they arrive rather than waiting 30 days) got them today. I got mine before the PX and my civilian competition got theirs. This is one of those touchy situations where the first one with the goods makes the lion's share of the sales. Sort of like selling fad items (Boy did we make a bundle off of Michael Jackson gloves and legionnaire hats, anybody remember those?) you've got to get in and sell out before the competition gets theirs and starts driving down the price or “sharing” your sales thereby extending the time it takes to make your investment back.

I'd made up and ad to run in the weekly paper, but I refuse to run ads for items I don't have in hand yet. If the shipper doesn't send it when they said they would or UPS sends it via Timbuktu or whatever I'm the one with a bunch of disappointed customers and a damaged reputation. I'd coordinated with my ad rep to get the ad in at the last minute before the deadline if they came in. The deadline came but the ribbons didn't.

Anyway the new ribbons arrived two hours after the absolute last moment I could insert the new ad into my regular ad spot in the weekly newspaper. So I'm faced with the prospect of having to wait a full seven days to advertise this time sensitive item. What to do?

First I got them out on the floor behind the checkout counter. Prominently displayed so every customer can see them.

Second, I took copies of the black & white ad I'm going to put in next weeks paper and, with two brightly colored highlighters, made the ads more eye catching and placed them by the boxes of ribbons.

Thirdly, I put another copy of the highlighted ad on the front door of the store.

Then I took the black & white flyer a vender had sent pumping the ribbons and cut off the parts at the top and bottom which identified the vender. Three swipes with brightly colored highlighters and I had another (bigger) ad that I taped on the front window by the door.

Nobody's getting into my store without knowing I've got those ribbons!

Next I hopped on the computer and used Publisher to make full color versions of the black & white ad I was going to run in the paper. (That was easy since I make all my ads in publisher and colorizing this one was a snap.) I was going to print out a bunch of copies and hand them out to GI's as they waited in line to get in the gate over at the base, but I've since decided against that.

I did a poll a few years ago and discovered that most of my customers first found out about my store from other GI's so instead of passing them out (and maybe passing out) in the hot sun tomorrow I'm going to make the flyers available in the store so current customers can tell their friends that we've got'em and NOBODY else does so come quick!

If anyone has any other ideas I'd like to hear them.
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