My brother gives out toothbrushes to his dental patients with his name and other information printed on them. I’ve made the error of marketing my mezcal tour business by having my company name and additional details on bottles of marmalade made from fruit and agave spirit by-product. If the main objective of such give-aways is to generate new business, these are arguably marketing mistakes. With the announcement that in 2020 the Sobeys supermarket conglomerate will begin to cease using plastic bags for shoppers carrying out groceries, a grand marketing opportunity exists for all businesses, be they retailers, service providers or professionals. Why? Because a valuable marketing program emerges.
Sobeys has reported that the policy will extend to its other grocers such as Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and IGA, and that by the end of 2020, 225 million plastic bags a year will be removed from circulation.
Giving away toothbrushes indeed reminds your existing patients about you, but no more. Similarly my mezcal excursion clients have their experience with me in the fore of their minds. But the jam jar is kept in a cupboard and soon empties and is discarded. The toothbrush is kept in the bathroom, and according to many dental professionals should be tossed out every three months. Reusable tote bags for carrying groceries are totally different.
The southern Mexico city of Oaxaca is my bailiwick. Here, throughout the entire state of Oaxaca, and I suppose throughout much of the country, a plethora of diverse businesses gift what are known as market bags, to their clients and customers. Some are vinyl, some are 100% cotton, and some are fabricated from other, predominantly biodegradable materials. I use them to promote my mezcal tours by giving them away to certain clients. And so do jewelers, restaurants, butchers, and others, including medical and dental professionals.
True, market bags are more expensive to produce than toothbrushes. However, they last for years, and are out in the world rather than in peoples’ homes where they have little if any exposure to prospective new patients. In Oaxaca residents use their market bags for much more than shopping for groceries. They have become a part of southern Mexico society, and their use crosscuts ethnic, socio-economic and rural/urban boundaries.
Of course environmentally conscious individuals have been carrying reusable shopping bags since the late sixties. And they still are. But we are entering a new era, where choice is being removed. This means that over the next couple of years, there will be exponentially more grocery purchasers seeking market bags. This is an opportunity for virtually every class of businessperson to have his/her products and services advertised and promoted to a broad range of prospective new clients and customers for modest sums of money. And if you are a local, suburban professional (i.e. a dentist), who better to target than residents of your neighborhood or community.