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Zilber Hall, Office of Marketing and Communica...

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Year 1: A church with thousands of members had historically used physical mail, and some email, to communicate with its congregation on an annual basis to confirm funding commitments for the upcoming year.  The biggest challenge for the church was having all the members fully appreciate the vast numbers of goodworks that members and staff were doing in the local community and globally through the missions.  Working with the church, we assessed that a more effective and efficient approach would be to leverage more regular communications on “channels” that would better fit with the congregation members’ desires in receiving information from the church (and we also assessed that there needed to be an approach to assure that everyone got the information regardless of the channel). Thus, we decided to implement daily “digest” emails that had the consolidated information that was also being “shared” throughout the day over other various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr).  We also had two “in person” events to encourage direct participation – 1) a prayer vigil that we held over a weekend for 60 hours straight and staffed by volunteers, 2) delivery of information packets to every home of every member by volunteers.  The results were very favorable for all involved.  Initially there were approximately 200 people connected via social media channels, currently there are close to 1,000 people connected via social media channels.  Expenses for the efforts have dropped by more than 75%.  The ability to communicate with the congregation through any/all the channels has been greatly simplified allowing the staff to focus on the content itself and working with members – and new approaches continue to be explored.  Funding commitments have risen approximately 15%.   Most importantly, however, members and staff have commented how much they appreciate the regularity of the communications, the insights they have gained, and their increased awareness of, and engagement in, what goes on at the church on a daily basis.
Year 2: Following a similar approach, but with a year of content and asset collection/development in place using the implemented infrastructure from Year 1, increased attention was spent on recruiting neighborhood volunteers (diligent geo-coding, map visualization, and assessment of neighborhood “hubs”) to deliver information to their neighbors, text messaging was implemented for daily scripture delivery, Pinterest was implemented to augment Flickr, and message timing was more closely aligned with weekly themes.  The results spoke volumes – commitments increased by 15% while expenditures stayed about the same and the time spent by staff and volunteers decreased by almost 90%.  The counts on the social media channels have increased to equal almost the total number of members – this does NOT mean all members are connected electronically – but a growing number are connected allowing for a more rapid and richer ability to communicate with the community in the ways they prefer to get their communication.

Start-Up Software Companies

Some software start-up companies with a new applications for smartphones were interested in getting the word out to a large number of potential users for get a handle on adoption metrics and to test their software applications.  Ultimately, they decided on an approach that would highly target specific contacts in specific organizations (hard to beat this approach, btw!).  We worked with them to source the contacts, assure that the contact information was validated/verified, and provided services to do the initial phone call, postcard, and email outreach to the prospects.  As soon as the correct contact (and contact information) was confirmed by the prospect, the “live” leads were passed on to the companys’ internal teams to work towards closed deals.  By collaborating on custom contact flows that would allow for efficient hand-off’s to the internal teams, we were able to assure that timely follow-up was delivered to the prospective customers while minimizing the chances of opportunities falling through the cracks.

Market Research Firms

Some established market research firms were looking for ways to help clients get into the market and establish themselves in new market segments.  They asked us to help innovate approaches that would be cost effective to get in front of the largest potential audiences, generate specific and pre-qualified leads, while sticking to restrictive budgets to demonstrate their ability to drive new customers to the end client.  Our approach has been to work within existing competencies in market research and develop lists of 100k’s of relevant contacts to engage a simple surveys that provide market insights to the end client while also generating specific leads for the clients to follow up with directly. These approaches have been so successful for the market research firms that they are now offering this item as a standard offering for new clients to open the door and demonstrate immediate and unrefutable value (read ROI).

Industry Dossiers/Lead Letters

An industry consortium was interested in recruiting additional premium members to help advance the mission and assets of the consortium.  Their need was to have a deep view on those elements that would most motivate the prospective members to consider joining and paying for the privilege of being a member.  Portraits were developed of each of the target companies and assessment of public documents (and subscription based resources) provided insights into the evolution of issues, emerging issues, and areas of investment that further helped to confirm the company’s relative commitment to topic areas that were of mutual interest to the consortium.  These multi-page portraits, summary “touch points” sheets, multiple contacts, and initial lead letters were provided for each target company to help the client get the ball rolling and transfer the knowledge through the initial introductory emails.

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Global Directory

An organization we work with was interested in being the premiere source of information globally for their high end sport.  They wanted to develop their brand in such a way that they could access the top participants in the  sport (as well as the teams, the advertisers, and sponsors).  We worked with them and identified an approach using an online directory with content that was important to the spectators, fans, and participants in the industry to access on a regular basis.  The global directory includes listings from top performers, industry events, news, and other important aspects of the industry from around the world.  Starting from scratch, the team has lead (and is leading) the creation of the site, the logo, the messaging, collateral development, lead generation, site population, outreach, sales, and support.  Initially, thousands of members will be supported on a daily basis through the offerings of the site and direct participation in premiere events around the world.



MBA Students at lecture

MBA Students at lecture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business Schools

Business school programs have enlisted us to help them identify strategic contacts to help grow their local, national, and global brands.  Consistently, their primary needs are to increase their communication and recruitment of new students, participation of alumni, and build relationship with existing and future strategic corporate partners.  Typically, we work with the schools to identify thousands to tens of thousands of potential contacts throughout relevant industries.  Some of the programs are interested in growing globally – especially in emerging countries – and we work with them to access prospective employers and employees in these countries.  Coupled with partner offerings in developing communications, conducting surveys, and assisting in campaign development we help the schools ranging from a project-by-project basis to turn-key implementations.


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University Department

Initially, a department in a university approached us with an interest in establishing itself in the Top 10 National Rankings.  They believed that being in the Top 10 would attract the kind of student they most wanted in their program – and at a minimum they would have more students submitting applications to join their program.  After exploring the elements of the ranking requirements, their current assets, and their actual objectives as a program, we worked through a strategic planning facilitated session to assess what they collectively could agree were the most important things for them to invest their resources in accomplishing to achieve their objectives.  The findings were: that they were really happy with what they had in place, they loved the culture and “family” they had developed and did NOT want to lose the closeness within the department.  They wanted students to apply that would also see this “culture” as something desirable as they studied, graduated, pursued graduate programs, and perhaps even joined the program after graduate studies as professors.  They also recognized a need to increase participation amongst existing students and other programs at the same university (and even other area programs through invited lectures and maybe student exchange in classes).  Ultimately, the most surprising resulting decision by the group was the need for a Director of Marketing Communications – they already had established the program they wanted and now they mainly needed to make sure the message could get out to those students who specifically and uniquely wanted join that type of program as a potential lifestyle.  Being Top 10 would be nice, but it wasn’t what they really wanted to be or what they would have to give up.


handshake isolated on business background

handshake isolated on business background (Photo credit: s_falkow)

The dream of owning your own business, especially for people who haven’t run a business before, can be made easier when purchasing a franchise and making use of the franchises collective knowledge, processes, buying power, marketing, advertising, etc.  However, when selling franchises, you have to sell using more traditional approaches of outreaching to prospective franchisees.  We worked with a client to iteratively develop a set of criteria to enhance the selection of people to call and engage in a discussion about a new franchise in a growing industry – all across America.  The iterative approach allowed us the opportunity to work with our client (partner) to explore their initial ideas of the “ideal prospect” and test their assumptions with some inputs of our own.  Overall, the result was a hybrid approach that led us to an agreed upon set of candidates that we used professional calling services to directly connect and set up appointments for the sales people to do what they do so well.  Along the way, we had our sales callers look for other opportunities during the call.  The result?  Identification of some other needs to share with our client (partner) that led them to other franchises to consider offering to their other clients.  We are constantly looking for ways to find additional business growth opportunities for clients, partners, and their customers.

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