Couriering Charm

“Name, signature, and telephone number.”

I complied with the usual illegible scrawls I make, on the acknowledgements slips. PODs, they are called by some – Proof of Delivery. I don’t like giving out my phone numbers everywhere, and with my illegible scrawls, I have perfected the art of giving a phone number that looks like, but isn’t mine.

As I handed the slips back to him and reached out to collect the bills, he was scrawling something on one of the envelopes, it was legible and there was a name followed by a couple of mobile phone numbers.

As I looked at the envelope, he said, “You’ll need fire-crackers for Diwali, please call on this number.” Surprised, I smiled back, and I said I will.

I have been thinking about this for a while, and I am quite amused how this person has solved the problem of distribution and marketing. It’s direct selling, he doesn’t have to invest anything (the courier company pays a salary for going door-to-door), he can isolate a market segment, and – it is more personal than dropping a leaflet (they get thrown away).

There is nothing new about using this format for market access. Somehow, this was the first time, I felt, it was personal, without the usual irritating intrusion. Newspaper vendors have been used regularly by local shops to drop cheaply printed leaflets and restaurant menu cards for home delivery. As I open my newspaper every morning, all the leaflets fall to the ground, and from there, they are picked, up only to go to the trash.

Customer irritation as against Customer delight.

Yesterday, The Hindustan Times and Volkswagen decided to put a yellow post-it on the front page. It’s a post-it — it works in a certain way – you peel it off, it comes out easily. Not this post-it, no. It was stuck over a headline about India’s role in the UNSC. And when I chose to read the headline rather than the ad, and removed the badly stuck post-it, it ripped the page.

I find it disturbing that increasingly, almost all newspapers have progressively started devaluing the front page. There used to be a sanctity to the front-page that has steadily degraded. I wrote about this earlier, so I’ll let go now.

So, as selling becomes more ignoble, irritating and intrusive, this initiative by the courier boy was quite amusing and charming. Moreover, it’s a chance to support local entrepreneurship.

All the best to you, kiddo!


2 thoughts on “Couriering Charm

  1. Responding Gaizabonts after a long time…. Very well narrated and impressive too.. Even i dnt like to give my phone no everywhere..but i does the same thing like u…

    The concept of Direct Marketing is too much appreciable.. May be some people dnt like..But the concept works most of the times..:-)


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