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Monday, February 02, 2009

Intelligent internet collaboration

Ed Fako submitted this video to a video posting site.

Edward Fako of Right Way Roofing Company in Carpentersville, Illinois, had a problem -- the local Yellow Pages directory failed to include his company's ad in the most recent directory. While many contractors find the various Yellow Pages variants are a waste of time and money, some still find the old-fashioned printed book still a crucial source of leads (it depends on the book, and the market, I think). Fako is in the latter category.

Fako decided to develop a direct mail piece using the walking fingers to let people know that he is still in business, if not in the directory, and use direct mail to reach homeowners in his area. But he wanted feedback, and started a thread on

The results are intriguing. Some posters don't like the idea one bit, and others support him entirely. Through the various responses, the contractor now has insights and resources to make an informed decision about his idea.

(I don't like the Yellow Pages tie-in in the marketing materials -- as I believe it too closely associates his business with a rapidly declining brand -- but think other ideas, such as the gift card and roof magnet in the mailing make sense. I suggested he check with his lawyer regarding trademark issues, and test carefully. In fact, he might want to include BOTH a fridge magnet and gift card in the mailing).

The discussion and open debate have provided marketing insights and resources for everyone who reads the thread. Ed, of course, must still make his own business decisions. Nevertheless, this approach is far superior than keeping a big secret -- or trying something out int he wilderness of idea-land, and hoping it will work.

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