Anthea Stratigos – March 3, 2016
So into my home mailbox came Valpak – an envelope that arrives periodically that I often ignore. But being a bit more curious about print coupons sent by snail mail, especially in light of my last post about ‘retro works’, I decided to look inside.
Lo and behold I could get 20% off breakfast at a local breakfast joint, slim up in Bikram hot yoga for 10 classes for $50, get my fill of pizza at Roundtable, get a seasonal tune-up on my car at Spiteri’s Complete Auto Service, paint my home for $500 off, or get our dog Nell’s pet food delivered without hassle at pet flow.com – for 25% off my first auto-ship order, no less!
Whether I needed my attic cleaned, wanted Chinese food, tuned up on free home security systems, or cleaned shower grout (mine is already clean), there was a coupon for me! Burritos anyone? Roto-Rooter? Direct TV or even a new sofa – there was more. Cheap tickets to try a local trampoline park (I didn’t know they existed!?). I could get fences built, my hair colored, a smog check discount, along with new tires, new closets, new heating ducts, new windows, or new garage doors. I could even donate my car to the Purple Heart Foundation – a worthy cause no doubt or invest in Crepe Erase, a smoothing crème for neck lines (what my brother and sister used to call chicken neck when we were little), for just $29.95. It was like the treasure chest at the dentist’s office when I was a kid – a perfect toy for everyone!
You gotta love Valpak. What I love about this is the simplicity. The digerati will have us believe that everything must be in an app, accessible by mobile, tracked, measured, and tagged to even matter. But here in the inbox, this simple, low-tech form of local advertising works. It comes in the mail, it’s free, its envelope is chock full of deals or coupons, and the odds are if a consumer even takes the time to open it (and many won’t), there is something for someone and the advertiser and the consumer wins.
Email works, coupons work. Spreadsheets work. Word works. Not everything is meant to be complicated in order to be effective. I am not yearning for simpler times, simply saying simpler things can and do work. Local advertising is not dead and it’s not all on Google. Yes, yellow pages, and newspaper advertising have taken a hit, but consumers love deals and anytime you offer to save someone money, behavior dictates that most of the time they’ll usually pay attention. It’s always made me wonder why Yahoo! didn’t buy Groupon and give real people real savings rather than try to sell still more ads. Advertisers, local or not, want sales. They don’t want leads. It seems Marissa was so busying fighting Facebook and Google head-on she forgot that maybe meeting their millions of users where they live – in their pocketbooks – could have been an easier and satisfying end-around. We’ll never know.