Responsible Marketing

Friends don’t let friends do drive-by marketing

By May 15, 2008August 6th, 20203 Comments


The evidence of a recent drive-by marketing attempt in my driveway.

Is it marketing or is it litter?

I occasionally receive little sandwich baggies with a folded-up flyer and a few rocks in it. It’s not really a flyer, it’s more like a scrap of paper. The rocks are obviously there to make it easier to throw out the window of a moving car.

How fitting.

At Outsource Marketing, we have a phrase we use that describes tactical, poorly thought-out marketing: Drive-by marketing.

Drive-by marketing isn’t strategic. It’s what happens when an irresponsible marketer jumps to tactics before they’ve done any research, strategy or planning.

It happens when a short-term thinker wants to “get the word out” quickly or drive leads with little or no consideration for the customer’s wants, needs, wishes or preferences. It’s often ego-driven, and never about the customer.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of a drive-by shooting:

A drive-by shooting (or drive-by for short) is a personal attack carried out by an individual or individuals from a moving or momentarily stopped vehicle. The objective is to overwhelm the target by a sudden, massive amount of firepower without attention to accuracy. It often results in the shooting of innocent bystanders or a certain target.

Here’s my definition of drive-by marketing:

Drive-by marketing is a personal attack carried out by an individual or individuals from a slow-moving or momentarily stopped company or organization. The objective is to overwhelm the target by a sudden, massive amount of marketing without attention to accuracy. It often results in the wasted time and resources of innocent bystanders, of a certain target and the organization doing the marketing.

I’m all for brave and creative ways of breaking through, but this is worse than spam (you can hit the delete key), sticking flyers under windshield wipers (easy to see and grab), or junk mail (you can recycle it quickly).

No, these little baggies of fun litter my street as they deteriorate and scatter. My neighbors and I get the privilege of literally cleaning up this marketer’s mess. And of course, all the word of mouth generated is negative.

I’d argue that the results are similar with most drive-by marketing attempts as well.

So, where have you seen drive-by marketing?

Comment below to weigh in.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Deston says:

    What a perfect description of the political season. 🙂

  • Priscilla says:

    I must say that I’ve never seen the Baggie with folded paper and Rocks!! That’s hillarious!! Oh, I think that’s RICH! To think that that’ll get your phone ringing. That’s funny!

  • We might have talked about this the other day Patrick, but what about newspapers that litter driveways …? I’m thinking the Reporter papers which claim to deliver to every home address.

    On the other hand, is Eastside Business any better when we get out there and hand deliver (drive by in many cases) copies of the newspaper to businesses across the Eastside? I see it as responsible marketing for our advertisers to get as much exposure as possible, but I’d like to hear other viewpoints.

Leave a Reply

close-link