business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Tip O’Neill, the long-time speaker of the US House of Representatives, famously said that all politics is local. He could have been talking about marketing, especially in the current era.

Last week, we got to see one of the most aggressive forms of local marketing ever tried and it came from a most unexpected source - the Washington Post. The Post considers itself a global paper and it is well known for periods of excellence in journalism. But it’s also a local newspaper in the Washington area and we got a big reminder of just how local that can be.

One day recently, the Post crossword puzzle featured a series of clues that helped a local man propose to his girlfriend in a most unusual way. If you missed the coverage of this story, various clues spelled out the girlfriend’s name and popped the key question. (She said yes.) Apparently she is a crossword puzzle fanatic and her boyfriend approached the Post with the idea.

Think about that for a moment: A major newspaper serving a large metropolitan area and readers around the country worked with a single reader for a singular occasion. No doubt there was a time when the man’s call to the Post wouldn’t have even been returned. But newspapers no longer can stand on ceremony, so suddenly it looked like a great idea. The result was tons of news coverage or free advertising, and a wonderful feel good story.

In a world of Twitter, blogs and the culture of “me” it’s hard to imagine that this is the last time we’ll see mass marketers get so incredibly local. And that should make it pretty Eye Opening, especially as you begin looking to see if there are local opportunities - “micro” opportunities - that can help you drive new business.
KC's View: