How To Save Money On Advertising

Yesterday afternoon I was thrilled to receive a call from a guy I’ve never met named Hugh. Hugh is the owner of the local UPS shipping store. Why would I be thrilled to hear from the owner of the UPS store? Read on… Our nephew Ed has spent the last 6 weeks riding across the country on his motorcycle. The motorcycle that he purchased in Florida for that specific purpose. The motorcycle that he has to sell in California before he can fly home to Hong Kong. The motorcycle for which he has no title (official explanation… lost in the mail).

Mark and I spent a lovely morning socializing with the folks in the waiting room at the downtown DMV. We procured a new title and spent $46 at the local UPS store to Express Mail a single piece of paper to California. $46? Really?


We haven’t sent anything "Express Mail" since our corporate days so we googled the closest place which turned out to be our local UPS shipping store. A sweet lady took our order quickly and efficiently and gave us a tracking number. The important thing to remember here is that we had the tracking number. Ed had the tracking number. My friend Michelle (the lucky recipient of the package) had the tracking number.

Yesterday afternoon a lovely older gentleman named Hugh called "just to let me know" that the delivery was completed at 1:46pm and the package was sitting on my friend Michelle’s front porch.

This story is the difference between the way we need to do business in the New Economy versus the way we used to do it in the Corporate Economy. The Corporate Economy would have laughed off that phone call from Hugh as a complete waste of money. After all, it is completely unnecessary. The customer had the tracking number which takes 5 minutes to check online. That phone call is simply a cost and adds nothing to the bottom line. In the Corporate Economy that approach would be right. That's because the Corporate Economy was missing one, vital, new economy ingredient that changes everything.


Amplification is the new advertising. Without blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc… a customer who is on the receiving end of a “wow” experience would maybe tell one or two people about good old Hugh in the local UPS store and that would be that. But in the new economy it’s a different story.

Let’s assume it takes Hugh an hour at the end of every day to phone 10-20 customers. Let’s assume that out of those 10-20 customers 3 of them think “Wow”!

  • The first customer goes to Facebook and posts to all 400 of his friends about "Cool Hugh" at the local UPS store. Five of those friends are local and think “wow that sounds like Hugh will make my life easier” and pop on over to buy from Hugh.
  • The second customer visits Yelp and leaves a 5 star stellar review prompting 3 Yelp visitors to select Hugh over "that other UPS store" around the corner.
  • The third of those customers has a pretty popular blog and posts about Hugh and his UPS store. Now every time someone plugs “best express mail store in Jacksonville, FL” in Google, Hugh and his little UPS store pops up (with a rave review).

Hugh just got at least 10 new customers from one 2-minute phone call. How much would that cost in advertising dollars?

Today’s “Ship It” Tip: Make a list if all the points of contact you have with your customers during and after their purchase from you. Identify just ONE place where you could add a “Wow” moment (divert money from your advertising spend if you have to) and start doing it today.

Can you think of one off the top of your head? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.


*Photo by Boris Lechaftois