Friday, March 19, 2010

Technology: Friend or Foe?

Have you recently invested in an online platform that has dynamic applications ensuring a rich user experience?
If you've seen Fun with Dick and Jane think about the 3 minute sales pitch that Dick uses. Chalked full of buzz words, he may be selling air.
Because Barefoot engages highly interactive strategies for online marketing, we are always looking for innovations. We hear the sales pitch and think -- WOW, there's something there. But after digging a little deeper we discover, well, air.
I looked up web providers who were selling a "dynamic" experience. You may have heard that word bandied about. I discovered that for $500 I could purchase a dynamic web site. Some of you reading this probably wish you had purchased that software because you paid a lot more for your dynamic experience.
Of course, those dynamic web sites were simple templates with some ability to content manage, usually online. (One does wonder how else one would manage an online tool, but I may too old to understand the complexities of the online world).
I am also intrigued by the many social media applications -- especially in fund raising. As if social media will suddenly revolutionize the hard work of raising funds. Engaging social media is simply today's version of my mother who volunteered for the Cancer Society and went door to door to gather money for a worthy cause. With social media we can open doors that are further afield, but it's still a volunteer activity that will render low results (with the exception of high profile, media supported emergencies).
Technology doesn't change foundational marketing intelligence.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Middle Donors

If you're a non-profit and raise money from private donors, we would like your help in understanding middle donors.
About 45-50% of our clients are working in non-profit sectors -- many dependent on private donations. Growing revenues in an adverse economy is a challenge. Middle donors are an often neglected donor group that has high loyalty, consistent giving and, over their lifetime, significant contributions.
One of our clients took an extremely bold leap a couple of years ago. They stripped the middle donors out of their regular monthly fund raising mailings. Considering that this group gave substantial funds, this was very brave!
But it made sense.
We created a unique stream for them. The mailings always contained a strong profile of need. But we extended the format so we could explain more clearly and with more detail. We increased the offers and always included a reach offer. The giving multiplied by many times. These donors gave less frequently, but they gave much higher gifts.
On April 1 we are starting a middle donor research project. If you choose to participate, you will get a complete copy of the research and a personal research paper that focuses on your donor segment. We will also deliver the results in a private meeting with, well, me. We will need an interview with your lead development person and the e-addresses of a segment of your middle donors.
So if you'd like to participate in the middle donor research study contact Larry... or 519-571-5058 x 206.......... results will be distributed in August!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Design Intelligence

Kev and I were chatting about the influence of design in marketing. He has great insights into design intelligence. Like most great insights, it's stuff that is floating in the back ground of our minds but too often we don't let it come to the forefront and really impact our work.
He sees design intelligence for marketing as one of the most critical components for impacting and motivating choice. But too often marketing teams don't use design intelligence. Some designs are totally consumed by layout. That's the technical skill behind great design: white space, typography, use of colour, clean lines, careful attention to grids. While great layout makes the piece pretty -- it's doesn't push the edges towards brand personality, marketing principals and offer insight.
On the other extreme are the marketing teams who sacrifice design intelligence for fine art. Fine art is focused on the visual experience -- not the message. The message is often subtle or determined by the viewer. It belongs on living room walls and museums.
Great marketing motivates and inspires action.
Design intelligence starts with understanding the overall goal, the underlying challenge, the audience, human motivations and, maybe most of all, takes the designer out of the picture.
As we were chatting, we were musing about a piece that we did for a client many years ago. Both of us hated it. While the offer was intact and the design intelligence was strong in understanding the overall brand and the motivations of the direct audience -- our visual minds were really turned off.
It was the second highest performing acquisition piece that year.
That taught us a lesson. Our overall goal was to communicate to the audience. Frankly, neither of us were the audience. While neither Kev or I would be motivated by this piece -- we were not the people the client wanted to motivated. The biggest mistake marketers make is to allow our own preferences to interfere with truly understanding the audience.
One more story.... when my son was about 2 years old my husband and I worked in a kid's program. One of the features of the program was a dorky beanie that had a helicopter blade on the top. On the way home I was nattering about the lack of sophistication of the premium when Chris piped up from his car seat: "I can hardly wait until I can get one of those hats!" The designer of the program was bang on in assessing the level of sophistication of the audience.
Design intelligence refuses to be tainted by personal taste. It is objective, rational and results oriented.
Barefoot Creative is looking for a designer as I write. Without a question we are looking for a designer with design intelligence!