[singlepic id=140 w=130 h=130 float=left]I was walking through Gateway in Durban this week and was handed a flyer by a lady stood outside a shop. She said there’s a 10% off promotion, the flyer told me that this shop was launching a women’s range and had pictures of different clothes. But I can’t tell you what shop it was … I can’t even remember where in Gateway this shop was if I wanted to go back. I do remember thinking the photos weren’t that good though. My point is, and I do have one, what use was that flyer? Within a few steps, when I was out of view from the shop (the lady outside seemed nice) I binned the flyer. I feel bad now … I should have actually recycled it. But the fact I immediately binned/recycled this flyer, which would have cost them x amount to design, x amount to print, and x amount to pay for the person to hand out surely renders the whole exercise pointless? And more importantly to this shop a waste of money?

In this instance it seems the perceived value of handing out flyers was a lot more than the actual value. The store manager had to do something to promote the launch and handing out flyers was probably the knee-jerk reaction. Everyone seems to do it, but, as my mother would say “Would you jump off a cliff if everyone else was?” Why hand out flyers just because it’s the norm? They have a perceived value – “hey, I’ve printed flyers, flyers are advertising …right?” – But unless they actually persuade people to come in to the shop and hopefully spend money they have no actual value.

It seems to me that in the case of this shop, handing out flyers during a weekday lunchtime when people are just rushing around wasn’t the best strategy. In my case, if it had been a Saturday, if the flyer looked better, if it acted as a voucher or coupon (so had a value to me) I would have been more inclined to stop and have a look. But I’m just one person, tell me if I’m wrong, tell me what you do with those flyers thrust in to your hand, clipped under your windscreen wipers and put in your letter box? May be one out of a hundred of those flyers will interest you? From the retailers point of view I don’t think those are great odds, and I don’t think the environment is too happy about it either. On the other hand, what if the shop didn’t do anything at all? At least I now know there is a store, somewhere in Gateway with a new women’s range!

To all retailers out there … be innovative with your advertising, be different, and draw attention to yourself. Even if you spend a little more money, wouldn’t you rather have interested, excited potential customers rather than leaflets lying at the bottom of a bin? Remember, you only see actual value when that till register rings.