Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Good Fight

[This is not a marketing article. It's personal, and it is a great cause. For those wondering, "What is crossfit?" you may go here for information.]

Crossfitters, by nature, are battlers. We are warriors. I have had the honor to fight alongside each of you, as we’ve battled the Filthy 50, Murph, Dr. Tabata … even Fight Gone Bad. The important part is we have battled together. We have fought—and will continue to fight—through the pain and our own limitations, physical and mental. Today, in that context, I want to tell you a story and call your attention to a different fight: "The Good Fight."

Twenty-five years ago a battle ensued. It wasn’t between countries, companies, or people. It was between my father and his brain. His brain began to fail him, in little ways at first. Ordinary, routine things we all take for granted, like counting out money after getting a haircut, driving home from work without getting lost or knowing which kitchen drawer is the silverware drawer, were suddenly difficult, puzzling or impossible. The battle had begun, and dad began to fight. Oh, how he fought!

Rewind the clock. My dad, Jerry Sherman, was a strong, proud, successful man. He owned his own insurance/real estate business in downtown Williamson, WV. Like all of us today, Jerry was getting fit and eating right… way before it was cool to do so. He quit smoking. He took walks every day. He was even counting carbs--in the late 70’s. Then he discovered golf. It became his passion, and he finally enticed my mother into taking up the game. My sister Carol and I soon became "golf orphans" on the weekend mornings. My parents’ retirement dream after all five daughters were grown, was to travel the East Coast and stop at every golf course along the way.

Stop the tape. Cut to black and drag the needle across the record. The retirement dream never became a reality. Alzheimer’s Disease started to attack my father’s brain at the age of 52, way too young. Within a few years, my father had to close his business. He could no longer drive or be left alone for fear that he would wander off or unintentionally hurt himself. By the time my father died, seventeen years later in 2002, he was bedridden. He had been unable to speak for several years and needed round-the-clock care. Sadly, he never got to know my wonderful husband or my two beautiful children. They missed out on a relationship with an amazing man, my father.

Today, Alzheimer’s Disease affects over 47,000 WV families. It is the nation’s 7th leading cause of death, and the direct and indirect healthcare costs related to Alzheimer ’s disease amount to more than $148 million each year. The Sherman family, with the help of CrossfitWV, is hosting "The Good Fight" fundraiser on Sunday, October 25 at 2 p.m. at the box. Athletes will participate in the Fight Gone Bad WOD and pledge money for each rep performed during the workout. For example, if an athlete completes 250 total reps, based upon a pledge of $.50 per rep, the amount raised will be $125. Pledge a lot… or a little: every dollar helps in "The Good Fight." Get your friends, co-workers and loved ones to sponsor you (for an agreed upon per-rep amount -- $0.25, $0.50, $1.00). Every pledge will help the caregivers and families of those affected with the disease here in our state. All proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association of WV, and in accordance with their policy a portion will also go toward Alzheimer’s research.

Please join me and my family for this worthy cause!!!

Yours in good health, Lisa Sherman Lineberg

[Anyone interested in sponsoring or participating please post a comment, and I will get in touch with you.]

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Is E-Mail Overload Hurting Response Rates to Online Surveys

For the past several years, we've had great success in reaching our audience with online surveys. Such surveys have been a great way to accomplish marketing research objectives including:
  • Testing concepts
  • Measuring customer satisfaction
  • Gauging public opinion
  • Improving and evaluating special events
  • Learning about the marketplace in general

But, alas, the world is always changing. This is especially true, I believe, in our high-tech, communication overloaded world.

Here's a recent example, which I think illustrates the situation. For the past six years, we have conducted a "reader survey" for one of our media clients. This year, the response rate was markedly lower.

2007 Survey
4,900 invitations sent via e-mail
3,000 e-mails successfully delivered (60% distribution success)
659 e-mail invitations opened (22% open rate)
363 completed surveys obtained (12% effective conversion rate)

2009 Survey
6,742 invitations sent via e-mail
3,200 e-mails successfully delivered (50% distribution success)
484 e-mail invitations opened (15% open rate)
260 completed surveys obtained (8% effective conversion rate)

Despite having a larger list, we were negatively impacted by a lower open rate and a lower conversion rate. Granted, we still had a good overall result, eclipsing industry norms. According to the information that I have studied, a 5% conversion rate is typical. However, my gut says that those 3200 invitees who received our email invitation had to wade through extremely cluttered inboxes to evaluate our message.

Tell me, marketing geniuses, what do you think? Do you receive too many online survey requests? If you send email invitations to online surveys, have you seen a drop in your open rates or conversion rates?

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