On my last visit to Best Buy I noticed all of the ranks of television sets, every set in the store was showing a trailer from the latest "Bourne" film. The trailer was provided by Universal Pictures; I don't know if Universal pays Best Buy for the right to run their trailers, I suspect not in this case, but the medium of showing movie trailers is a great example of advertising to your customer base where they hang out. In this case Universal was targeting movie fans who like large screen TV's, in the one place where you would expect to find them, a TV store. Universal showing trailers at Best Buy is a great example of following your customers to distribute your product or reach them through advertising.
Cranium, a board game invented in Seattle, Washington, by a bunch of ex-Microsoft people, initially had difficulty in finding distribution channels through toy stores. Not a lot of copies of Cranium had been sold, and the toy stores were unwilling to take on board yet another untried game. The founders needed to sell their product and met in a Starbucks store to figure out what they were going to do, they decided to take their product to their customers. Their customers were coffee drinkers like them, so they went to Starbucks, who agreed to sell the game and Cranium became the first board game Starbucks sold through their stores. Cranium became a runaway success partly because of the unique distribution channel.
Have you used this type of strategy with your company? Or have you seen this strategy at work at another company? And what do you think?