Simple marketing ideas work


I recently tried a simple marketing concept at work.  A well-regarded faculty member was celebrating his 60th birthday and he didn’t want his friends, relatives or former students to send him presents or wish him well on his birthday.

Instead, he wanted them to donate to a scholarship endowment to help students who faced hardships during their externships.

I talked to the professor and came up with a simple idea. Why don’t we highlight the professor’s age and encourage everyone to donate a minimum of $60 on his 60th birthday? Next, we focused on identifying the best medium to disseminate his message. The professor, a great Peanuts fan, had an office adorned with Schulz and his characters. We created a simple, yet humorous e-blast featuring a Peanuts character and a message from the Professor urging well-wishers to donate $60 to the scholarship.

We planned two dates to disseminate the e-blast. The first was send a week before his 60th and the other hit in-boxes three days before his birthday. The idea worked and over 50 individuals gave varying amounts to the endowment.

This effort generated many well-intentioned conversations. The Professor felt proud and said he couldn’t have got a better 60th birthday present than the response from his friends, former students and relatives. We made a simple iphone thank you video and emailed it to all who donated and they also received a hand written note.

Sometimes, simple marketing ideas generate larger conversations. They create deeper impact than complex, metrics driven content marketing.

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Be Someone. Houston!


My latest article for School Planning & Management Magazine highlights hurricane Harvey’s impact on school systems in Houston. Interviews with a leading facility planner and architect shows the City’s resilience and school districts’ efforts to ensure that all children can return to school and pursue their education. Read complete article here

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