A marketeer’s dream

21 06 2010

I’ve lived a marketeer’s dream for the past few months. I had a product that everyone loved and an event that everyone was looking forward to attending. I had a community of people who wanted to share. And I was tasked with raising awareness, strengthening the community, extending its reach. In marketing speak that’s basically strengthening the brand, driving retention, and generating more demand. Oh, and here I am living in the age of social media.

The product: a charity that brings happiness into the lives of seriously ill children. The event: a weekend-long bike ride that gives 100% of its donations to that charity. Dan's legThe community: a special group of volunteers, riders, and sponsors connected by a series of stories. Stories about their own children helped by that charity. Stories about friendships made over years of riding. Stories about helping one another through the good times and bad. Stories about fundraising. Stories about training. Stories about life and love. In marketing speak, that’s content the likes of which is rarely seen. Oh and did I mention the community is so dedicated to this charity, a few members even had the logo tattooed on their leg? Now that’s brand affinity!

Here’s where the road meets the Internet. We created an information architecture for this community, using its website for logistics info, using facebook for informal chatter and discussion, twitter for event updates, and an email newsletter and blog to share the stories. We took the online community from zero to several hundred in a couple months. Our riders and volunteers contributed more stories and pics and videos. We extended the event from one weekend to year-long. Because the community is more than the day of the event. Because social media extends the bounds of space and time.

As Seth said so well, you’ve gotta have passion about what you’re marketing. So yup, I’ve lived the marketeer’s dream.

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