Marketing Monday

Marketing Monday: Giving Tuesday 2014

Not matter how you feel about giving money, donating, tithing, or volunteering, I think we can all agree that it’s fun that online has their own version of Cyber Monday in the way of Giving Tuesday. Sure it’s a poke at the consumerism of the season and vaguely self congratulatory but it’s hash tag heart seems to be in the right place.

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It started a few years ago as a hashtag and a way to raise awareness about non-profit causes but now they’re a lot more organized. There is a website and coordinated efforts between Crowdrise (an online donation platform), Indiegogo (an online fundraising platform), the White House, and others.

If you look at the Giving Tuesday logo, you’ll see it’s a pretty clever mixture of a hashtag and a heart. Nice!givingtuesdaylogo



Whether you give your time or money or both, Giving Tuesday asks that we all give something today.

Leading up to this event, we have seen lots of marketing efforts in the way of educational videos and the use of the hashtag #UNselfie on especially the more visual social networks like Instagram to raise awareness about giving to those in need. Here are some things last week already showing up:

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Despite being a global idea, the Giving Tuesday website is highlighting campaigns in specific geographic areas as well:

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It also seems as if organizations have taken this time to use this time to educate their user base. This Heiffer International post and accompanying infographic I thought were particularly good examples of taking the opportunity to have a conversation:

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So we hope you consider doing something, online or offline, for Giving Tuesday. It’s a great sentiment and something we could all stand to remember this time of year where we spend lots of money to realize we could spend some of our finances and effort on something that makes a bit more impact than that scarf your brother probably won’t even like anyway.

(And if you know someone who needs one, we’re doing online donation forms for dayz.)

Happy #GivingTuesday!

Marketing Monday: Project Unbreakable

Domestic violence is a cause pretty close to my heart, for a mainly selfish reason.

I (at one point) thought I was too smart, too straight-forward, too butt-kicking to be in an abusive relationship. It was years ago since it happened but I still remember the yelling, the put downs, and one fateful night, a shove against a wall. He left the apartment and I felt small and powerless. I remember calling my parents (they were super calm and helpful). I hung up the phone and looked into the darkness, vowing to myself I’d never be there again and, if it were in my power, if I got out of this, I would do everything I could to keep even just one other person out of that situation.

I really appreciate all the work the internet has done, in particular in the last year, to really putting domestic violence, sexism, and harassment out in the open. Because let’s face it, no one starts by just walking up to a woman and hitting her or worse. There is an escalation… and an acceptance that turns into actions.

This video (where a woman is repeatedly harassed while walking in New York City) shows that it doesn’t matter what you wear, where you go, how much education you have, or anything else that we live in a society that treats women as objects: to be looked at, commented on, and even acted on at times.

And while it’s nice to wear purple and donate to charities that support anti-abuse programs, there is something really powerful about sharing your story and showing the world ‘this happened to me too.’ Not only the individual stories but the sheer number of people can produce change, in small and large ways.

This step can affect your friends and family… but most people don’t want to start a whole website about an abusive incident, several incidences, or a relationship. There is power in collecting these stories and sharing them with each other on a website and/or social media account already set aside for the purpose.

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Project Unbreakable has done just that. With their Tumblr blog, website, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Facebook page, they are accepting submissions of photos and sharing them with the world.

What I like is not only can the victims share what their abusers have said (as long or as short a quote as they want), they can also decide whether to show their faces or not.

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In our bite sized, social media world, the message is short and clear. Also women (mainly women are victims anyway), are getting supportive comments through the sharing of their story:

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As a visual share, we are able to connect with victims from identifying with their surroundings to identifying with a phrase, even if it is written in another language (the caption is usually translated into English).



The popularity of this group has allowed it not only to fundraise and grow for itself but has made it visible enough to partner with other websites like Buzzfeed to increase the general awareness of domestic violence.

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And whether submitting directly to Project Unbreakable itself or using the hashtag, people can take part in the message:

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No matter what cause is most dear to you, whether it’s animal rights, the rain forests, or anything else, we’d like to encourage you to not only get involved in the way of donating and volunteering with these organizations but follow them online and help them spread their message by contributing your part to the story. Use a hashtag or submit your idea to the organization itself. Yes you are just one voice but by connecting with others, you are creating powerful forces for good.

Movember: Mo Money, Mo ‘Staches

 

 

Fundraising campaigns are everywhere you turn this time of year, and honestly, seeing all that goodwill makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy. One of the fuzzier campaigns being the recently popular Movember, where men spend the month cultivating ‘staches that range from cringeworthy to glorious (Ron Swanson, anyone?), but it doesn’t matter, because it’s for a good cause. I remember when guys were participating in “No Shave November,” which is a bit more flexible in terms of facial hair and grooming (more on the guidelines later), but this was more of a “let’s see how crazy my beard can get” than “let’s grow facial hair for charity” situation. The only thing better than a man with a beard? A man with a beard who cares about charity.

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How did someone come up with this, anyway?

The Movember movement originated in a bar roughly eleven years ago. It started as a friendly mo growing competition (Aussies call mustaches “mo”s, because they have cool names for things) among friends, and was ultimately fueled by a few beers. These facial hair sprouting gents had kind souls, and decided to turn this competition into something that would benefit others. So, they chose some charities which they found relatable, and away they went. The original 30 members paid $10, and it’s been growing ever since(…get it?).
“By encouraging men (who the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.” – The Movember Wiki Page

 So, you just grow a mustache?



Well, not quite. There are rules for partaking in Movember. At the beginning of the month, men start with a clean-shaven face, as rule #1 suggests. My favorite is #5: “Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman…” The rules are straightforward, much like the rest of the Movember marketing plan.
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Why is it successful?

Movember isn’t just about who can grow the best mustache (though it’s definitely an incentive). The idea is that participation becomes a conversation starter. It raises awareness/increase funding for programs that aid prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. In the past, men haven’t exactly been encouraged to talk about their feelings or illnesses. There’s been a stigma attached to men expressing a certain sensitivity, which I personally find absurd, but it exists. The Movember project is cool because it encourages men to be open and involved with their health. Going back to its roots, Movember represents a conversation.
It’s also an inclusive conversation: women can participate, too. Even though the foundation raises money for male-related issues, it doesn’t mean that ladies have to be cut out of the conversation. Women can still show their support, regardless of their ability to flaunt a ‘stache. This approach allows the discussion to grow- if the goal is to increase awareness about certain topics, limiting the audience is going to limit growth.
Another way the foundation has spread the conversation is collaborating with some corporate sponsors, such as Adidas, College Humor, Discovery, Toms, Jameson Black Barrel, and The Prevention Institute. They have a free App available for iPhone and Android, sell t-shirts and hats on their store, or offer collaborative items (shoes from Toms, razors from Harry’s) on their online store, too. In other words, they’ve taken the time to make connections and partner with other organizations that have similar target audiences or missions.  This shows that they’re serious about their own mission and are willing to do the legwork to get some big names on board.
The Movember Foundation’s philosophy is simple: do something fun for a good cause. For “Results We Seek,” the foundation has written “Havin’ fun doin’ good.”  Now, there’s a mission I can get behind.

Marketing Monday: Casper Mattress

Casper-Mattress-boxtoscaleYou know what I appreciate? Someone who looks at something that works well enough, then changes the way it’s done.

Like haven’t all of us did the awkward 5 minute (ok 2 minute) mattress test in a furniture store then spent several hundred dollars (or more) on a bed, hoping it was going to work out?

Casper is an interesting company, for many reasons. Let’s look at it from the product, service, and marketing points of view.

Product

A high quality product packaged in such a way that it’s an experience to get.

So these beds come in a box. They warn you to open the box in whatever room your bed will live in. If you go on Youtube and look up ‘Casper mattress’ there are literally hundreds of videos of people opening the box and unpackaging the mattress, you know like this one:

The reviews to back up the claim.

While it is one thing to let people leave reviews, it’s another thing to collect ages, how they sleep, how long they sleep, and who they sleep with as part of the experience.

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It makes the reviews left on this site seem more real and believable than they otherwise would be.

Not a ton of offerings.

Do they have 9 different mattresses? Nope, you just pick your size (twin, double, queen, or king). Too many choices is paralyzing and Casper has chosen to carry one good kind of bed and sell it.  They also eliminate a lot of the reasons why people don’t chose to buy online (yes this is one chart but if you look at others, you’ll see they are all pretty similar):

LivePerson-Top-Reasons-Abandoning-Online-Purchase-Jan2013

 

Offering free shipping, clear offerings, a simple but responsively designed website, and one step checkout means customers are less likely to navigate away… plus it helps that they are pretty much the only online mattress game in town.

Service

The trial period is 100 nights.

It’s one thing to try on a pair of jeans and send them back and it’s another thing to take back a PITA item like a bed back. But these guys do it. Pretty cool. (It seems like a courier from the company picks it up and either donates it to charity or recycles it, just FYI.)

They include a hand written note and tools to help you open the bed.

It’s kind of like when you send in your Mac to get repaired and they send you three pieces of precut tape to close your box. Do they need to? Of course not. Is it a classy touch? Sure is.

It looks like getting a Casper bed is a pretty custom experience.

Marketing

They are using email.

No one thinks email marketing is sexy anymore. Trust me, I actually try to sell it to people.



But Casper gets it. The only way you can follow up with someone after they come to your website is via email (social media posts can get lost in the shuffle or even sometimes not even appear for the person who ‘likes’ your page in the case of Facebook). They ever have a fun way of asking.

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They are still a little corporate though.

Do they have an Instagram account with user generated photos. Do they have a Pinterest board of bedroom decorating ideas? Nope, these guys are sticking to Facebook and Twitter, which is fine. They still seem a bit corporate though (using the same well taken photos regularly). I kind of want them to bust out a little!

So if you are in the market for a Made In The USA bed with good reviews that doesn’t involve an awkward exchange with a salesman, this may be for you. Here’s hoping you like us were inspired by Casper today.

 

Tech Thursday: How to Fundraise Online

If you have a project or product that you’d like to get some additional funding for, the internet could be a great place to get started. One popular platform for fundraising online is GoFundMe, which you can use to pitch ideas and get donations from people online (that’s a huge audience!)- even for something as silly as potato salad.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of people trying to raise money out there. How can you increase your chances of being heard (and more importantly, getting people to donate)? First and foremost: is your idea compelling? Will people be interested enough to think, “Yes, that IS a great idea! Take my money!” Next, you want to make it personal. Don’t just throw a Powerpoint presentation online, put a face on the project! This not only shows dedication to your campaign, but assures people that they aren’t just giving their money to some sketchy, random dude in a basement.



Last, but not least, remember that you are FUNdraising. Okay, so that was corny…but showing people that you are fun and grateful for their contributions will go a long way.

BookIt Relaunch Is Good Will For A Company That Needs It

Pizza_Hut_Book_ItI was a kid who always loved to read. So when I was in first or second grade and I realized I could earn pizzas for my love of reading, I was pretty psyched.

Lots of us (ok lots of us nerds) have fond memories of the BookIt program where you’d read books to get personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut. There were also the buttons, the stickers, and other fun stuff. I remember this being an entirely positive experience.

With this 30 year anniversary of the program, Pizza Hut is looking to get a lot of nostalgic and social media goodwill from its latest campaign.

Here’s why they probably need it:

1) They have been at about 1% growth the last 3 years in the US (they’re doing much better in China). As anecdotal evidence, I was last in a Pizza Hut 12 years  ago and Kassie can’t remember the last time she was in one.

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The second graph is from Bloomberg Business.

2) Even if you don’t count sales, Pizza Hut doesn’t do well in comparisons between the other popular pizza brands in the US.

I didn’t have to look far to find articles comparing the national brands (Papa Johns, Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesars) and none were impressed with Pizza Hut’s offerings.

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/editor/2014/01/taste-test-pizza-delivery.html

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/02/what-is-the-best-delivery-pepperoni-pizza-dominos-pizza-hut-little-caesars-papa-johns.html 

3) Pizza Hut has had some PR problems over the last couple years.

It’s one thing to have declining sales (paleo and low carb movement, etc.) and a medicre product but it’s another thing to have PR problems added to that. From their 2880 calorie pizza to a worker recently fired for not so sanitary behavior, Pizza Hut hasn’t been in the news in a good way… until now.



Championing reading and supporting teachers is a pretty easy cause to get behind, and relaunching a well loved, widely popular program is one way there.

From their video story (see below) to their new app to their collaborations with authors and celebrities, BookIt is in it to win it.

And no need to be a student or a teacher. BookIt has an alumni program to get regular adults involved (a free personal pan delivery when ordering online- still waiting for the email to tell me how many books I have to read to get it.) But if Pizza Hut gets people like me back through the door to retry their pizza, I’ll be curious to see what the American sales numbers are next year.

They’ve certainly invested in this launch from an app to teacher kits to social media campaigns (#BookItKid). Here’s hoping this next generation of kids in school has some fond memories of reading and pizza… and here’s hoping this gives Pizza Hut the boost it needs.