Fri, March 06 2009

Why you should care about the jewelry store across the street

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Parking around my office is a challenge - few spots, metered, and all pricey, so it’s hard to find enough change to pay for it.  Most of the businesses around the neighborhood have reacted this way: they post little signs in their windows saying “we don’t make change for the parking meters.” 

Then there’s a jewelry shop across the street from my office.  They have a sign that is the rare exception: “We will gladly make change for the parking meters!” it says.

I bet they get a lot more in-store traffic than they would otherwise.  And maybe most people don’t buy jewelry when they come in for change, but I bet people browse or make conversation because they feel they feel it’s nice to do when they’re getting change.  And in making conversation, people forge a personal connection with the owners.  That means perhaps when they are in the market for something, they’ll go back to the store. 

I wish more organizations thought like that.  Is your nonprofit on a street where you could hand out parking meter change?  I bet people would donate part of their change.  Are there other favors or nice things you could do for the people who might become your supporters someday?

There’s also a larger lesson here, about how you choose portray yourself.

Nonprofit marketing folks and fundraisers:  Don’t define yourself by who you are not - or what you refuse to do for others.  Define yourself by who you are - and what makes you special.

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Wed, March 04 2009

I just gave $336 to a stranger who knocked on my door…

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

I really did.

It was this guy, a canvasser for Save the Children:

DSC00499

I answered the door because it was 15 degrees outside, and I figured a canvasser holding a clipboard must be awfully dedicated to something interesting to be out on a night like this.

He was raising money for Save the Children.  Little did he know who he was getting behind my door—a professional fundraiser who might actually end up blogging his visit.  But he was friendly and open and not too freaked out when I told him I knew all about Save already, but what I really wanted to know was why they were doing fundraising via canvassing.  He said because it worked wonderfully.  Most of Save’s child sponsors sign up via canvassers, apparently.  Save is focused on this approach, scaling back TV ads and other broad-brush, less effective means of getting recurring, monthly gifts—a great gift that pays off for their programs many times, over time.  It didn’t hurt that he added my neighbors had donated, too.

Made sense to me.  I just gave him my credit card number and a year’s commitment of $28 monthly gifts to sponsor a child in Africa.  Oh, and a copy of my book and a pitch about Network for Good too, of course.  And I made him pose for a picture.

The lesson?  Nothing beats the personal touch. I say this all the time, and I’m a skeptical marketer, but even I can’t resist it.  A nice guy going door to door to personally and earnestly ask me to help a girl in Africa on a very cold night was just too personally compelling to refuse.  Really.  I’ve politely hung up on half a dozen fundraising telemarketers in the past week and thrown away ten pieces of direct mail, but this was too hard to turn down.  And more rewarding as a yes.  Well done, Save the Children. 

I’m not saying you need to hire a group of canvassers like Save to do face-to-face appeals, but do try to make your asks more personal.  Get your volunteers to spread the word to their neighborhood.  Or to hand-write your donor thank-yous.  Helping children?  Include their drawings in your communications.  Encourage your supporters to tell their friends and family members why they love you.  Or at the very least, segment that mass email campaign according to some audience groups smaller than “everyone on my mailing list.”

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Mon, March 02 2009

What happens when you try to mash up the wrong brands

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

It’s a snow day, so this is going to be fun.

People, people.  It’s all about authenticity.  Your marketing.  Your brand.  Your use of social media. 

How to be inauthentic part one: Hip hop suburbanites? 

Part two: tweet and then disown

 

If you fake it, you won’t make it.  Not in this day and age.

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Tue, February 24 2009

The 25 intelligent optimists of Ode

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Personal •

Ode Magazine has published a list of “25 intelligent optimists” and my hero Seth Godin (3,000 posts!) was kind enough to name me as one.  You can read the article here.

But more importantly, read about the other inspiring folks here.

(PS - in the article my story is portrayed a little out of order - if only my life were that linear or logical.  CARE was one of my first jobs and the need that really got me was what I saw in Cambodia and Madagascar.  But I’m still an optimist and try to be intelligent on my good days.)

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Tue, February 24 2009

Playing to the Magnetic Middle

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

People are conformists.  They do what they think other people are doing.  This is the basis of social norms theory and plenty of effective marketing.

What does this mean to you if you’re marketing greener behavior?

Don’t tell people to save the planet.  Show them what their neighbors are doing if you want them to think about their behavior.

There’s a great analysis of a study that did just this at NeuroMarketing blog.

The study found if people think their neighbors are using less electricity, they lower their usage.  If they think they are using more, they may increase their usage.

One of the smartest minds on marketing in the world and an expert on social norms theory, Robert Cialdini, calls this phenomenon the magic middle in his new book Yes

If you’re marketing greener behavior, keep this in mind. 

If you’re marketing anything, keep this in mind.  The magnetic middle works for raising money, too.

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