Making a Difference around the world

One of the things I love about blogs, Youtube and other online tools is the ability to stay connected to the causes I care about. Here is a perfect example:

I won’t give to many details because its personal, but its exciting to me to stay informed of such a great effort that I have been personally involved in. I had the opportunity to visit in person Choluteca Honduras last year, so I love being able to see videos and pictures of the great progress being done.

One of these is Casa Hogar Vida whose mission is to provide options for a better future for those infected with HIV/AIDS. A 64 Acre compound has been donated and will be used to create a large, self-contained community that will include the following:

· Houses for families caring for their HIV/AIDS members.
· Homes for orphan children
· A factory to make bricks
· A clinic
· A meeting place to worship God
· A food distribution center
· A separate area for sports and recreation
· Farmland to grow fruits and vegetable

Ultimately, this is what excites me about communication and technology — bringing people together (like the two recording artists, an American mega-church, and some small church in Honduras) to make a difference in people’s lives.

How can offline marketing support online marketing and vice versa

I came across a great question in LinkedIn Answers and I think I’ll share it here. The question from Ann Lacres was, “How can offline marketing support online marketing and vice versa?”

Here is my 2 cents:

Online marketing can serve as another way to better segment your marketing dollars. So, while you can do “email reminders” to reinforce direct mail drops, you can also allow customers to choose how you communicate with them, giving them more control over how they interact with your company. This will allow you to increase the relevance and the effectiveness of each channel.

Another approach is to use offline marketing to drive customers to an online “funnel” where you can identify the customer and serve-up targeted offers or content. The value of offline is that you can do mass-communication reaching millions, but the weakness is that it’s not interactive–the customer can’t respond to your offer on-the-spot. So, use offline marketing to drive to a micro site where you can provide more depth, as well as breadth, of information–and customer-unique targeted offer.

I’ll ad to my initial answer that another power of using online as a response tool for offline marketing is that by using an “opt-in” mechanism, you can actually measure your promo costs ahead of time and get more “intelligence” out of the whole campaign. At my current employer, we do opt-in promotions tied to a customer’s spending habits, so we are able to track ahead of time what the total max cost of the promo is going to be months ahead of when the rewards are delivered.

A couple other LinkedIn members had some good ideas, including this one from Ms. Jennifer Woodard:

If you have an brick and mortar store, your online marketing can support your offline marketing my including your address to your store and hours on your website. You can offer specials on your website that have to be presented in the store to be taken advantage of. You can offer in your store places to sign up for your company newsletter, refrigerator magnets with your company information and website address, etc.

I think the key here is to let the customer choose his/her preferred “channel” to shop, rather than having pre-conceived notions about what customers want. Otherwise, you won’t see the response rates you are hoping for.

Raising money for charity

I’m an avid user of LinkedIn, and today I saw a question that caught my attention and interest — enough so that I wrote up some thoughts and ideas.

The question is:
What are effective methods for raising money for charity in an event or adventure-driven manner?

I’m currently on a solo, round the world motorcycle trip for charity. I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association, the Pulmonary Fibrosis foundation, and RAINN. Currently I have a website setup for blogging and displaying pictures from my travels. I’m looking for ways to use that site and my trip to raise money for the 3 aforementioned organizations. I’m looking for ideas like allowing those who donate to use my pictures for commercial use, hiring myself out for travel journalism, charging admission to slideshows after the trip has concluded, etc.

The site is viewable at:

http://www.bylandandsea.org

Several other LinkedIn users provided some good ideas and suggestions, but I didn’t see anyone mention Facebook Causes, as well as some other viral marketing resources available out there. Here was my answer:

You have a lot of important and valuable insight in the other responses above, but one idea I didn’t see is for you to set up a Facebook page and a Facebook Cause page. Facebook Causes already allows you to collect funds for charity, and with a facebook page, you can provide a viral tool for people to let other friends know about your charity fund raising efforts.

Its a great place to upload pictures, updated, and link to your blog — as well as to the charity sites and donation pages.

Related to that, make sure to ad a “tell a friend” or “email this page to a friend” tool. You want to empower those supporters that already believe in you and make it easy for them to recruit more donors and supporters for you.

The YouTube video clips idea is a great suggestion — I’ll add another tip. Use Flickr to upload pictures of people you meeet, place you visit, etc. Keep a sort of “picture blog” on Flickr. The power of Flickr is that it has viral elements to it which allow current supporters to spread the word.

All these things, by the way, should include links back to your main blog and donation pages. This will all help increase your organic search engine rankings, which in turn can make your web efforts more visible and easier to find.

Bold: Modernista goes “siteless”

Marketnig Vox is reporting that Boston-based Modernista dismantled their site, and is going “web 2.0″ with their new modernista.com destination. I think this has to be the gutsiest web strategy I’ve seen, specially when considering it’s from an ad agency.

When users “Google” the agency and click on Modernista, they are brought to the same results page — with an added nav bar. Clicking on “About” brings you to either Modernista’s Wikipedia entry or Facebook page.

The agency’s past work appears on Flickr, YouTube and del.icio.us. For company news, users are directed to Google News.

As MarketingVox points out, it’s risky as it means that competitors and potentially disgruntled ex-customers might have a way to place negative information within their web destination. You have to give them credit for walking the walk when it comes to the web.

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