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Gratitude Inspires A Super-Human Feat October 7, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Donor Development, Fundraising, non-profit, Peddle For Pennies, Philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children.
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John Nightingale- Peddling for Pennies

John Nightingale- Peddling for Pennies

The other night I had the great privilege of doing a phone interview with John Nightingale, a grateful parent of a child undergoing treatment at the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina.

As a display of his gratitude for the help doctors and hospital staff have provided his family, John is riding a bicycle over 1,800 miles from his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Boston Massachusetts raising money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The route includes stops at six of the Shriners hospitals including Greenville, Cincinnati, Lexington, Erie, Philadelphia, Springfield and Boston.

During the interview I asked John how he was holding up on the road, his answer was one of the most selfless I’ve heard to date. “When I don’t feel well, my legs hurt, I want to quit … I think about the kids who can’t be unbent, unbroken, or unburned, and yet they always manage a genuine smile- that is what compels me to go another day. ”

John also talked about the human kindness that he has received on this journey. As he puts it “seeing America from five feet above the ground at ten miles per hour gives you a different perspective.” For me, this conversation with a young man intent on giving back no matter the personal toll has bolstered my viewpoint on the viability of our country’s future.

His campaign is called Peddle For Pennies. John is providing a daily update to his blog and sharing thoughts from his phone as he makes this amazing trek to help children in need of specialized medical attention. To follow John’s progress and learn more about his quest, visit

 

http://www.pedalforpennies.com

 

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Planning for 2015- Starts Now July 28, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Customer Service, Event marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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A client new to the marketing field recently asked me when to begin planning for next year’s integrated marketing activity. Typically I advise clients to begin serious work in August/September of each year.

Depending upon whether an organization works from a calendar or fiscal year will impact this rule of thumb, however, late summer, early fall is a good time to begin work.

While facilitating marketing planning sessions, these are some of the key areas I cover:

  • Results– what has worked this year?  What have we learned?
  • Research– what are the clients saying? Are you providing answers to their “pain points”? Is there something new they desire?
  • Social for the sake of being social– is there a distinct strategy behind your Marketing and strategysocial media or are we doing this because everyone else is?
  • Objectives where are we at year-to-date? Where can we realistically aspire to be? (This is the tough conversation that requires “looking in the mirror” and resource allocation.)

Of course there are many more finite areas we cover in a planning session, but these are the non-negotiable items from my vantage point.

Another issue that leaders often fail to cover is accountability and “policing” the plan. Have you established clear responsibility centers? Which individual(s) are responsible to maintain the marketing calendar and help everyone stick to the plan?

As we all enjoy what remains of the fast-moving summer (here in the midwest anyway), August is often a great time to organize a planning session. And hey, you can meet outside, no one said we can’t catch a few rays while getting the work done…

If you have any questions on marketing planning or facilitating your strategic planning meeting, please feel free to contact me at jmacholl@wisdombridgemarketing.com or on my Skype line (847) 305-1594.

Enjoy the day.

Jack

 

The Power of Thank You January 27, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, non-profit, Philanthropy, Referral marketing, Sales.
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Whether you are acknowledging a present, business referral or expressing gratitude to a donor at a non-profit, sending something to express your gratitude should be standard procedure.  In our hurried SMS text and e-mail world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is astounding.

Part of my weekly routine includes sending written thank-you cards to people who have helped with a business (or personal) matter. Today getting “snail mail” is often as infrequent as a fax. Granted there is a cost and some inertia to overcome, but what is the price of an impersonal thank-you?bigstock-Thank-you-vector-stamp-24628313

Book Review- Small Town Rules January 21, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Branding, Chamber of Commerce, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit.
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I recently completed Small Town Rules by Barry Moltz and Becky McCray a very interesting read that likens the connected world to a small town environment where every customer can talk with one another.

Today many businesses (including the  large companies) are quickly learning that people are seeking genuine interaction and a local connection. One of the most interesting takeaways was the desire of consumers to learn the “story behind their purchases.” Instead of mission/vision statements and value propositions, many humans want some history on the business and how it adds tangible value to the community. For many that connection may prompt a consumer to bypass a cheaper option and purchase the local product because they feel  personally involved with the product or service.

Since the Great Recession began in 2008, there has been a resurgence of the Shop Local movement which is covered in-depth. The authors cover many important points about businesses needing to do more than place “Shop Local” placards in their store windows and call it a success. Taking the Shop Local concept to an urban level is also reviewed with examples from the unique neighborhoods of Chicago, a major metropolitan market with numerous chambers of commerce.IMG_0190IMG_0197

Having worked in bank marketing for decades, I found the Bank Local section particularly interesting. Many community based banks did not participate in high-risk lending practices and actually made it through the worst of the financial crash with minimal impact. During the 1990’s and 2000’s,  many larger U.S. banking organizations eliminated local community banking charters, creating large-scale branch banking networks seeking the efficiency play. Some years later the wisdom of that strategy is questionable, as more wary consumers want a “small town type” relationship with the people managing something as personal as their money.

The lessons of minimalist business management, planning for “zero years” (storing surpluses) and exactly how small town businesses have survived for generations is wisdom many business owners large or small will surely find useful.

A devoted website www.smalltownrules.com is also available to remain connected for updates from the authors.

Telling the “Local Story” September 13, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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Over my years in marketing management, I’ve seen many companies miss opportunity by over analyzing business and marketing strategies.  I field questions like “should we have a QR code?”, ”  do we need to be on this Four Square thing?”- and the list goes on.

Sometimes taking a few steps back and reviewing the business purpose (core strategy) and how you will convey your “story” is much more productive than charging to the latest software or “app” (tactics).

Businesses who are winning in this world of consumer insecurity are those making a connection with customers. Explaining why they should do business with you versus the firm down the street or across the globe (value proposition). If your phones are answered locally and not by a call center 3,000 miles away, by all means tell us. Being locally owned and operated by employees that have kids on the same little league team as your child can be a strong differentiating point particularly in a world where many people feel “burned” (e.g. the financial crisis) and want a relationship with the people they’re doing business with.

Beyond telling a great “marketing story”, actually delivering on the promise (customer experience) is the true tale of the tape, as  hopefully delighted, repeat customers often lead to the sought after 20%  that account for your profitability (80/20 rule).

Not to say that apps or online commerce is bad, it’s not. The punchline- small steps, strategy first, then ensuring top-notch processes/operations are in place, then tell your story.

I’d like to hear your local success stories and what works.

Academic Outreach December 15, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility, Donor Development, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Philanthropy.
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Graduate Students Giving and Learning

In these times of chronic bad news, cutbacks and political fighting a positive movement has begun with my  graduate Integrated Marketing Communication students at Roosevelt University. In lieu of a Masters thesis, students in Roosevelt’s IMC program work on a complete marketing campaign for an actual company.

This year instead of working on an assignment with a corporate partner, we “adopted” a not-for-profit organization WINGS (Women In Need of Growing Stronger). This group located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago provides emergency services, sheltered living, legal help, employment training, child care and job search services for abused women and children.

WINGS creates a large percentage of its operating fund via three resale stores in suburban Chicagoland. Two student teams worked on integrated marketing campaigns designed to raise awareness of WINGS brand, its mission and the wide selection of quality, brand name merchandise available in their shops.

A formal client “pitch” that emulates a “real world” agency new business presentation was delivered to members of WINGS leadership team. An array of low-cost, high-impact creative concepts and “guerilla” tactics- events, advertising and social media approaches to build brand and drive store traffic were delivered for consideration.

In addition to creating a plan book  and numerous cost-effective tactical ideas, the students delivered more. Many were so moved by the trials and cutbacks WINGS leadership has been required to make for survival, they opened their own wallets to help. Members of both teams donated bags of “wish list” items and donated clothing that will help meet the daily needs of the women and children served.

The talent and generosity shown renewed my faith and hope that better days are ahead in spite of the madness we see and hear on cable news each day.

The essence of guerilla marketing is action– these talented and generous leaders of the future did just that-they delivered.

To learn more about WINGS and the meaningful work they do, visit

www.wingsprogram.com

Yes, a Dollar Matters December 7, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility, Donor Development, non-profit, Philanthropy.
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Working in the non-profit sector has opened my eyes not only as a marketer, but also as a human. For many years I automatically said no to the “do you want to add a dollar to your purchase?” question. Today I’m much more in-tune with the tremendous amount of human and financial resources required to provide services to those in need.

This small yet elegant display was at a Jones New York store (instead of sitting in the “guy chair” I elected to do something constructive and take a photo for this post). A tasteful point of purchase display and ribbons attached to the sales ladies clothing set the stage for a friendly ” register ask” to support St. Jude’s Hospital for Children in Memphis.

Certainly the economic times have created a multitude of donation requests from dollars to canned food. I’ve heard many people ask, what difference does my dollar make?  A lot when you are on the other side of the equation.