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Newsletter #868: The “Use What You Have” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Great marketers aren’t just looking for the new and shiny — they’re also looking at how to get the most out of what they already have. Here are a few examples to inspire you:

1. For recruiting
2. For innovation
3. For competition
4. Check it out: Events from your birth year

1. For recruiting

Finding new, talented people to join your team can be expensive and time consuming. But you already have a pool of potential candidates who know you and believe in what you do: your customers. And not just that, but because they’re coming in to your store and buying your stuff, you’ve also got a lot of opportunities to reach them. IKEA is doing this by inserting clever job ads in their packaging. These ads resemble their distinct instruction manuals and include “career instructions” to “assemble your future.” It’s a great way for IKEA to find potential recruits among their loyal customers, and because they’re including the ads in their own packaging, there are no postage or insertion costs.

The lesson: When trying to recruit smart people, start by thinking about the groups who already know you, know what you do, and want to see you succeed.

Learn more: Trend Hunter

2. For innovation

Before investing in outside consulting for ideas and innovation, put your own team in a situation where they can do it. It can be hard to do it when they’re caught up in the day-to-day operations of keeping the business running, which is why programs like Yelp’s “Hackathons” are so great. For these annual events, Yelp gives their engineers a break from their everyday jobs to collaborate and build something new. The results range from hacks to make their office printer quieter to fundamental changes in how Yelp displays reviews.

The lesson: You already have some fantastic talent on your team. Are you giving them enough opportunities to show it off?

Learn more: Yelp Blog

3. For competition

If you find yourself in a situation where you have more square footage than you can fill, use the opportunity to bring in a complementary business that can attract new customers. That’s what Sears is doing with extra space in their sprawling stores. Through the program, Sears has already leased hundreds of thousands of square feet to everything from grocery stores to health clubs to clothing retailers. It’s a smart use of existing resources. Not only does it help with cut costs, but it also helps pull in new customers in space that would otherwise sit empty.

The lesson: Instead of just accepting underperforming or unused retail space, turn it into a marketing asset by bringing in a great business partner.

Learn more: The Wall Street Journal

4. Check it out: Events from your birth year

Here’s a fun way to spend a few minutes. Just type in your birth year (or any year) and this site will walk you through the major political and pop culture events from the time.

Check it out: What Happened in the Year of My Birth?

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  1. Stu McLaren January 27, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    The IKEA example not only helps save costs on recruiting but I bet they saved money on training the staff as well.

    We followed a simple method when looking for people to help with our software company.

    We sent en email to our customer list detailing the type of person we were looking for and by the end, we hired 6 new people directly from our customer list.

    Cost of recruiting: $0

    Plus, because they were familiar with our product, the time it took to get them up to speed on our software was cut by roughly 75%.

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