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3 posts from July 2008

How to Create a Fair Exchange

080721a In developing good incentives to get prospects to sign up for an email newsletter or any kind of free club membership, the issue of 'fair exchange' is often overlooked. The incentive you're offering and the commitment they're making need to have approximately the same value.
"Tell me your birthday, and I'll give you a birthday treat" isn't just fun, it's also sensible and fair. What can you do to make your incentives sensible, fair and fun?

MarketingSherpa: How to Grow an Email List From Nothing to 2 Million Loyal Fans in 2 Years, 2008-Jun-11(subscription required)

It seems that everyone likes free ice cream on their birthdays. All of the steps taken to make the birthday club emails attractive, functional and abuse-free produced an outstanding response. Almost 2 million birthday club members have signed up -- already 400,000 more than their regular subscriber list. This translates into 45% of recipients downloading and printing the coupons.

How to Spot 'Campaign Thinking'

080711c As Ben McConnell correctly notes below, there are two kinds of thinking among marketing communicators. We have "campaign thinking" and we have ... something better. Ben calls it "evangelism thinking" because his book is Creating Customer Evangelists. I prefer to think of it as "systems thinking." Drew Neisser calls it "marketing as service." Whatever you call it, it runs all the time, bringing your audience closer and closer to your company. "Campaign Thinking" is not just short-term, it's incredibly wasteful, one-time-usage thinking. Old-line advertising agency make their money by replacing worn-out campaigns.

Your company should foreswear "campaign thinking" and find something more sustainable and meaningful--something that supports a growing circle of customers and well-wishers.

Church of the Customer Blog: Closing a Disney community. 2008-May-20, by Ben McConnell

Disney envisioned VMK as an 18-month promotion, not a long-term loyalty effort. The closing of VMK illustrates a schism prevalent today at many companies, especially larger ones: the battle between short-term campaigns vs. long-term evangelism. Campaign thinking is a byproduct of the last 25 years of business school education. The formula has been to create a short-term project using established metrics, execute, then start over with a new idea. Move the needle quickly. The formula for evangelism thinking is: Create a project where the community of users become part of the process and most importantly, are considered a tangible asset. The needle may not move as fast because the investment is for the long term, but it's less likely to have wild, up-and-down swings.

How to Handle the Obligations of Brand Community

080703b Once you've committed to a brand community, you accept some leadership from them. You DO get to set boundaries, but within those boundaries, you have to let the brand change. Not just evolve into something more successful, but to follow where its market wants to take it. That's very, very hard to do.

Adweek: These Brands Build Community. 2008-May-12, by Brian Morrissey

"The community changes the brand to suit them," said Jeffrey Kalmikoff, CCO at Threadless parent Skinnycorp. "We don't have expectations of what Threadless will be. We just manage the parameters." That includes trying to manage the perception that the brand is getting too big. It turned down offers to sell its shirts in department stores, for example, and chose to open retail stores in markets like Chicago and Boulder, Colo., rather than New York and Los Angeles.