If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed the popular practice of tissue-pack marketing. Companies hire agencies to distribute small tissue packages with advertisements inserted in them. These tissue packs are then handed out at crowded city areas to various types of passersby. Some target only men or women, depending on the product/service advertised.
Around four billion tissue packs are distributed every year in Japan. An internet survey of over 100,000 consumers show that 76% will accept the tissue packs, with over 50% saying that they’ll definitely look at the ad. In terms of appeal, tissue packs are more welcome than flyers and are more likely to be retained by the recipient.
Why? Because tissue packs are useful. People need them in their daily life and their lifespan is not limited to the time it takes to look at the ad, before throwing it away. Flyers and junk mail easily go in the bin, while tissues can be kept and gradually used for a period of time. Some consumers are likely to glance at your ad several times before they exhaust all the tissues.
What will the consumer see? Alongside the offer/pitch, company logos, phone numbers, website urls and addresses are usually the basic information included in the advertising inserts. Large and small companies often use tissue-pack marketing as a general branding strategy or a specific tactic to launch a new product or service offer.
It’s a simple but useful way to spread a marketing message and reach the people you want to target. There are two main things I like about it:
- It is more than an ad. It is useful to the recipient. Bundled value asset (tissue paper) facilitates initial acceptance of ad messages. It may also increase overall retention.
- It is persistent. The message usually stays with the consumer for the lifespan of the pack: there is continual and repeated exposure over a period of time.
A tissue pack isn’t the only asset you can use. The basic strategy is to tag a marketing message to a portable functionality that extends its lifespan and value. Packs of specially branded chewing gum. Most people don’t mind chewing gum. Cardboard binoculars during a music festival. It helps people to see better. Anything that makes your message more than an ad increases the likelihood of it being accepted and retained by potential customers.
I’m not suggesting that you should start creating ad copy and bundling them with tissue packs to pass them out in your neighborhood. Of course, that can be done. But if you’re not keen on offline promotions, the principles of the tissue-pack can be carried over to online marketing.
Web users are going to tune out the typical ad that sells and sells only. Some automatically remove all image ads via a browser addon like AdBlock Plus. Display ads do work to get attention but a holistic marketing plan should also involve the use of ads, pitches and offers that are substantiated by an attached asset which extends its value.
An ad that isn’t just an ad. An ad that doesn’t just involve a pitch and sell. An ad that is actually useful for the recipient. An example: affiliate marketers give away free PDF reports as teasers to show actual product depth. Inside these informational reports are links and more details on the actual offer. People will read and pass around reports embedded with marketing messages because they find something of value in them.
The same goes for consultant firms who release white papers as an indirect way to market one’s skills and services. Establishing thought-leadership via educational reports focused on the needs and interests of one’s target audience is an effective way to build a reputation that will attract sales leads and referrals in the long run.
An advertisement for your firm even on daily mass DM on instagram, website or business doesn’t always have to look like a pay-per-month graphic banner. An ad doesn’t have to stand alone and face consumer resistance. Learn to bundle it with assets that extend its lifespan and value to your target. It helps in message retention and may even assist in the spread of word-of-mouth.