Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Fundraiser:

Your name could be Obama or Romney or Something Else. I have the same question for you:

Why are you all over me? Why do you send me a dozen appeals for money every day? Sure, you personally are not sending all of them. Your friends (the XNC, the XXCC, the RedWhiteorBlue Committee, and every political party candidate running for reelection in the fifty states) also writes me. And you all want the same thing: money. But why? 

See, I'm irritated because ...

• My job was to help you get elected. I did as much as I could. Now it's your job to carry out what  you promised you'd do after the election. It doesn't matter if you won or lost. I paid you anyway and you promised. So get on with it.

• Don't keep marketing to me -- at least not until the dust settles. If you want to talk to me, fine. If you want me to sign a petition, I'll do it. If you'd like my opinion, maybe. But do stop selling me all the time. Please.

• I keep wondering: Can you discuss issues without asking me for money? Can you tell me, in clear terms, what's up.. without saying the whole country is absolutely screwed without my cash? Can you treat me like somebody with a brain larger than a pocketbook?

• Would you thank me, or at least acknowledge that I tried to help get you elected -- and, no, it doesn't count if you ask me for dinero in the same email.

• Sure you know my name, and my email address, and even my home address. But do you know me ... and do you care? (I know, that's silly. But you've asked a lot from me in the past year and I'm feeling petulant.)

• Come to think of it, do you ever visit my Twitter page or my Facebook page or my website? Maybe you'd learn something about me (and your other constituents) that you didn't know. It's called research.

• Seems like you've got enough technology to email me a dozen times a day from every IP address on the planet, but you can't figure out how to engage in a social media exchange with me. For example: You want to know what I think? Ask me (you never have, you know ...)

• Oh wait .. you do know something about social media after all. You know how to ask me to contact all my friends on Facebook. Sorry, I don't use my friends that way ... but I guess you wouldn't understand that.

Like I said, I'm irritated.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Print Marketing Less Travelled

Oddly enough, with the digital tsunami drowning us, print has become more personal than many of us imagined.

That thought prompted me to consider options for less-often-seen print marketing. Here are a few possibilities.

1. Personalized print products used post-purchase to solidify relationships. We've got the usual, of course -- gifts, coupons, invitations, clothing items, etc. -- but how about "activity projects" like a personalized puzzle for the kids or flat cardboard that can be folded to make a box?

2. Transpromotional customer relationship building -- for example, mailing a personalized pen with a refund check or a useful informational brochure with the bill from the doctor's office (e.g. 10 Healthy Foods) or auto service center (The Truth About Oil Changes).

3. "Handwritten" notes on embossed stationary with"person-ality." Isn't this the reasoning behind the very effective holiday notes and cards given away in fundraising appeals-- that we can't throw them away? Could this be expanded to notes that reach out, for example: "We're so glad you dined with us on August 31. It was a pleasure to have you."

4. Less common printed products with history (for example maps, comic books, small books). Covenant House does this very effectively with its small books/stories sent to select patrons. What "must-keep" print product can we offer to strengthen the bond with customers?

5. "Real" -- and increasingly rare -- photographs. When personalized to an individual, a locality, a pet, a car, or a hobby, who can throw away a "real" photograph? (Note: the line here can easily cross from cute to creepy, so "generic-personal" would be the right balance, of course.)

6. Local and special interest magazines. We see these distributed everywhere. Many are free; all are geared to the local or specialty market. Often these magazines are supported by advertising, not subscription. Successfully used by many nonprofit organizations, print periodicals remain a favorite with senior execs.

7. 3D-printed products. Personalized printing has been around for a long time (premiums? t-shirts?), but imagine the "things" we will soon be able to print and sell with 3D printing. It's a brain boggle, from gadgets to jewelry and clothing ... to household items and art ... to things we never thought of (yet). Catch your idea here from this array featured on 3D Printing Examples on Pinterest.

8. Print that thrives with the unplug movement. Print is precious.