Smart like a newspaper?

I’m always on the lookout for smart marketing and advertising.

The main reason is because a business that is already doing smart things is an ideal prospect for me. Anytime I see a smart ad or marketing campaign, I know that there’s very likely a business behind it that is likely to want to get more clients, keep more clients, become more productive and more profitable – and they know those things don’t happen by doing what you’ve always done.

The latest example I found is a small town newspaper, the Sanders County Ledger. It’s the local weekly newspaper for the town of Thompson Falls, MT and the surrounding area.

This week’s issue had 2 things that caught my eye.


First of all…
They had an ad targeting parents who have kids in college. The ad suggested that while your kids are away at college, they might want to keep up with what’s going on at home – so buy them a “student subscription”, which of course comes with a special student price.

Seems pretty simple, but it’s a great example of targeting your marketing to a specific group of people and reminding them why they need your product (or another copy of your product). They don’t have to spend any time trying to convince you that their paper is good, or that your kid is best served by it – the locals already read it and know that. Selling more to your existing clients is a great way to grow your business and this is a fine example of it.

I hope they did a direct mail piece to the parents of the senior class back in May or June (give it as a graduation gift), and perhaps again last month as kids were packing for college. This display ad is a nice follow up to it – it only needs one thing: A testimonial from a kid who was pleasantly surprised to get a copy and is glad they can keep up with things while they are away from home.

What else? 
They had a little grid on the back of the paper that showed which businesses would be open or closed over the various  days of the Labor Day holiday. Obviously, this isn’t something that the Dallas Morning News could easily do – but a small town paper can pull it off because of the number of businesses in a small town. It might have been a paid service to include your business in the list. Either way, it’s pretty smart.

Both of these things are just another little edge, just like the little things that you can do to get ahead that Wal-Mart cannot or will not do.