Yesterday at the office we received a box delivered via UPS. There was no return address, and after I opened it up before me was a half-dozen “cookie” flowers, which are gourmet cookies affixed to faux-rose stems. They were bound by a ribbon that had a company logo printed on it, so I went to my business partner’s office and asked him if he knew anything about this company. He smiled and said, “Oh, yeah. That’s company called and emailed me to see how I liked the cookies and how cool I thought their ideas was. Looks like they finally arrived.”
I was wearing a big pair of grumpy pants yesterday, so at first I was irked by all the waste (i.e., unrecyclable materials) that they just produced to try and impress us. But then I got even more peeved because what we were sent has absolutely nothing to do with what this company actually does, which is provide Web-based software to PR firms (heck, we’re not even a PR firm, so they better clean their list before they send out another mailing). I initially thought this was a bakery sending me their wares or a promotional items company offering a glimpse of their wares. But a PR software company sending me a cookie gram? Now that’s a marketing non sequitur.
What do cookies and PR services have to do with each other? Nothing. All this shipment showed me was that this company was willing to throw away money on a lame idea in an attempt to impress me. For me and the rest of the population, it takes imagination and moxie as well as some good linear thinking (meaning that the tactic should somehow relate to your product service) to connect with us. Anything else is, at best, a sad waste of resources and, at worst, an insult. So next time somebody comes up with a hackneyed idea to give away a golf club at a trade show, unless you’re in the golfing industry, think a little bit harder on how you want to promote yourself.