We’re pleased to welcome Aaron Strout, guest blogger for the Austin AMA, and Chief Marketing Officer for Powered Inc., an Austin, Texas- based company.
For the last three years, I have had the pleasure of participating in a great cause called Movember.
Movember [from Wikipedia] is a portmanteau of the words ‘moustache’ and ‘November’ and is an annual month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November. While I haven’t been personally affected by men’s cancer, I have dozens of friends that have lost father’s, uncles, brothers or have even survived this horrible disease themselves.
I was asked to be a part of Movember three years ago by friends, Todd Defren and Doug Haslam. My obligation at the time was limited to a Photoshop-ed mustache on my Twitter avatar and a promise to tweet out a few links to help create awareness. Since then, I’ve stepped up my involvement significantly and agreed to lead a team of Austin-based men and women in 2009 and 2010 in what has come to be known at the Digital Challenge. In 2009, the Challenge was limited to just Team Austin vs. Team Boston. Combined, we raised about $45,000. It was a lot of fun and a great jumping off point for 2010 where instead of just two teams, the Digital Challenge grew to 25 teams hailing from all across the country (and Canada). And while the final numbers are still trickling in, it looks like the combined teams from the Digital Challenge will raise a combined $325,000.
Of course Movember is a great cause but that isn’t the purpose of the post. As promised, here are four of the marketing lessons Team Austin and I learned along the way:
- The More the Merrier – In 2009, we had about 50 team members. Of which, about 80% were fairly active. In 2010, I set out to build as big a team as possible and ended up with close to 180. This ensured that even with a lower participation percentage, we still had north of a 100 people spreading the word and collecting donations. We were able to recruit many of our members through a mix of social media, word of mouth and and sheer determination.
- Set Up Events – Nothing energizes a crowd like a face to face get together. In the case of Movember, we had casual coffees, organized lunches and even a Million Mo’ March on the lawn of the Capitol. While we live in an age of digital and social, sometimes the thing we all need to help break through the clutter is some face to face time.
- Reach Beyond Social – The beauty of social media is that it’s relatively inexpensive and once you’ve invested in it, it becomes an annuity versus a pay-to-play commitment. However, because of the fact that there can be such a volume of information and so many requests for help in places like Twitter and Facebook, we found it helpful to reach beyond these social channels into places like the phone, e-mail or even sometimes overlooked LinkedIn.
- Create Content – One way to keep your audience engaged is through content creation. During the six weeks that the team spent on Movember (the month of November plus the week immediately before and after), we created videos, pictures, a website, a Facebook group and a Twitter account. All of these helped keep the team and its followers up to date on progress (both monetary and in the facial hair department).
The end results of the Movember 2010 campaign are still being tabulated but what I can tell you is that Team Austin raised $32,000, created a lot of awareness and ultimately had a lot of fun doing so. Did you participate in Movember or maybe another type of fund raiser recently? What marketing lessons did you learn? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Aaron Strout is the chief marketing officer at Austin-based social media agency, Powered Inc. At Powered, Aaron not only focuses on the day to day marketing activities but also provides a social voice for the company. In this role, Aaron continues with his speaking, blogging (recently syndicated on socialmediainformer.com), podcasting and social networking activities with an eye toward creating awareness and lead generation for the company.