The Chattanooga Medicine Company pioneered a large number of the direct-marketing and advertising techniques at the turn-of-the-century. Working to overcome limitations in the fragmented transportation system of the day, the Company marshaled a legendary sales force to blanket the rural American landscape on foot, on horseback, or by buggy. It was no accident that many of the enlisted salespeople were also sign painters.
The Chattanooga Medicine Company was one of the first businesses to recognize the value of outdoor advertising. Many painted sales messages appeared across the landscape usually on stores fronts and sides of barns located near well-traveled crossroads. Often the sales representative would bargain with the farmer to install a new roof on his barn in exchange for the space to paint a huge "Black Draught" or "Wine of Cardui" message on the side. Interestingly, barns painted with product advertising from the Chattanooga Medicine Company actually predated advertising from another Chattanooga landmark, Rock City, and their “See Rock City” signs.
The Chattanooga Medicine Company was also a pioneer in direct marketing with the printing and distribution of millions of Cardui wall calendars and church fans. But perhaps the most famous of all promotional pieces was The Ladies Birthday Almanac published by the Company as early as 1891. The almanac contained weather information, important dates and, of course, ads for all of the Chattanooga Medicine Company products.
The almanac, along with the popularity of the Company's products, generated a massive amount of correspondence between the Company and its customers. Although many of the publications were distributed through the retail trade, millions of them were distributed through the mail. In fact, so great was the volume of mail that the Company soon found itself the largest generator of mail in the entire Chattanooga area. The shear volume of correspondence forced the United States Post Office to open a dedicated post office on the Company's premises!