Archive for August, 2010

Bloopers rule

DATE: August 30th, 2010

This summer Neopost launched a series of business machines that are smart and intuitive — the next step forward in connectivity.

They challenged us to produce a launch campaign that would not only intrigue clients and potential clients, but also intrigue the sales team. As we all know, the sales team is a tough crowd. The campaign needed to be clever, attention-getting and attention-keeping and give a good overview of the fundamental differentiation of the product.

Ultimately, mail machines are boring.

So we thought we would spice it up a little. We found the perfect little business man — just 5 years old, but clever enough to use the intuitive, smart design of the new business machine series. Our 5 year old had a couple of advantages over the usual 30 something executive.

First of all, a regular user of webkins, Ninetendo DS, the Wii and play station, he already had intuitive digital environment figured out.

Secondly, he was not at all confused the the overall point of the machine. Within seconds, with no clues or hints, he could describe the purpose and function of the Neopost mail machine. In his own words: “You put the paper in this end and it comes out in envelopes with stamps on that end.”

Finally, he was filled with curiosity and fun. Unlike his adult counterparts, he didn’t think the idea of a mail machine was boring at all — he thought it was pretty cool that it could do all that!

Take a look at the ads at:



For just a bit of fun, we couldn’t resist putting together a blooper tape….

Neopost is excited about the reports. The series of Smart commercials and collateral has, unlike the Jays, hit a home run.

The Future of Fundraising

DATE: August 19th, 2010

Discover Tuesdays has been an amazing part of our summer at Barefoot — each week 5-10 experts have come together to talk about their craft. This last week, we gathered several leaders in fundĀ  raising and challenged them to think about the future of fund raising.

We started our discussion by asking a simple question: how has fund raising changed in your career?Here are a few insights:

  • There is a new openness to invest in infrastructure and data based fund raising tools that increase the effectiveness of acquiring and cultivating donors.
  • Loyalty must be earned and is no longer transferred from one generation to the next. Churches, investment partners, major donors and individual donors are sophisticated philanthropists who look for intersections of interest and relationship.
  • Running a non-profit is much more complex than it used to be.
  • Move towards using trained professionals and fewer volunteers. Although some organizations are re-discovering the benefit of volunteers.
  • Constantly changing tools. Web… then email… then Face Book… then You Tube… then Twitter….. then Mobile advertising…. there is some confusion in deciding the right mix and just how to invest.
  • Board members are actively encouraging marketing directors to engage with social media tools. However, the tools have yet to prove themselves.
  • Increased desire for information and increased accessibility to information about organizations from other sources. (ie. donors can go to public web sites and research revenue figures for specific charities).
  • While there are many avenues to distribute information, there are still challenges related to: getting accurate information, building a strong brand message so everyone tells the same story and having the time to populate social media tools with engaging copy.

This is just a taste of the conversation — I’ll give a few more glimpses of our conversation over the next week.

Disruptive Technology

DATE: August 3rd, 2010

We are standing on the cusp of change.

Yesterday, technological innovation ruled progress. Today, we are scrambling to understand the technology. Tomorrow, innovative leaders will be maximizing client and donor relationships through the use of technology, well, algorithms, really.

Innovation that disrupts actually changes the way we do things.

The light bulb bumped the lantern out of the way. The floppy disc gave way to the hard drive. i-Tunes continues to work at displacing CD’s (which displaced the 8-track and cassettes). Web technology, including social media, is working to disrupt our dependence on traditional marketing sources.

Today, UNICEF acknowledged an increase of donations for Pakistan Floods because of a quick Twitter campaign. Just this morning I marked more than 100 messages to my blog as spam. I almost missed the messages that were real. Last night I watched my favourite TV series from a download — evading the commercials.

When innovation disrupts traditional sources, society takes a little time to catch up. In some cases, portions of society refuse to succumb. Like my friend who just had several films developed after a trip. He just happened to take his old camera along and when the digital glitched, he transferred to old-fashioned film — prepaid from the 90’s. He’s pretty impressed with the results and may just move to traditional.

For marketers, especially those who are early adopters, we need to be careful that we don’t discard traditional sources too quickly. It’s challenging. Because we have to maintain several systems until the world begins to switch. While mobile advertising is easily accessible — it’s still the exception, not the norm. While social media is being used by almost every charity, direct mail, television, events and face-t0-face are still pulling results and providing the foundations of growth.

The future of television is a bit of a mystery. Many marketing innovators are struggling to discover creative and effective alternatives to interruptive brand advertising generally placed on TV.

I started the blog with: “We are standing on the cusp of change.”

That’s not new. We are not a unique society that must adapt. We are people, innovators, creators, change agents. The role of marketing hasn’t changed at all. Our job is to tell the story in the most effective mediums with the most effective words with the sole goal of increasing client revenue.

In 1999 Sergio Zyman wrote The End of Marketing as we Know It… and introduced direct response principles that had already been in place for over 25 years. In 2007, Seth Godin observed that marketing leaders were out of sync if they contained their activities in brand advertising — leaving the social media out of the story is marketing suicide.

There are a lot of simplistic statements about marketing, brand, direct response, brand direct, social media…. but marketing is complex — and that won’t change. To market well you need to be intimately aware of your product — not HOW it works, but the benefit of it working for you. You need to be intimately aware of each market segment understanding how your product will intersect with their real or felt needs.

Yes, we are standing on the cusp of change. We are leaders. We are creators. We are innovators.