Monday, February 27, 2006

3 names went into the sky while I typed this (Pam)

It's been a week since last I whined about my need for speed and breeze.

In the meantime, we've launched an online campaign with MSN using a variety of different channels and creative executions, all text-based. The impact has been interesting.

Our acquisition rate has quadrupled, which is fantastic. But, we need it to gajillion-uple. The process of optimization is quite interesting and terrifying, particularly if you've got tracking issues and don't have all the answers. Each day, results improve.

Apparently, I need to be more patient.

The response to our acquisition direct mail is insane. We've got 58% more monthly donors than we would have expected. All that action is coming from our house lists. Looks like the reason is some sort of combination of the urgency of the issue and the creative.

Overall, we've raised close to a couple hundred thousand dollars so far. Still a long way to go from here.

On another front, one of my staff is in Gland, Switzerland, trying to get a job at our international headquarters. I know that once they get a load of her, I can kiss her goodbye. Very sad for me. Very good for her. All she wants to do is save the world, and working for our international team gets her one step closer to Kofi Annan's job.

Looks like I'll be needing a mid-level on-line marketing-type person real soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Woeful longing for wind and nausea (Pam)

This is a totally personal post, apropos of nothing except my longing for summer.

I miss my motorcycle. Was pretty bad on those days in January when people were jogging in shorts and I saw so many bikes on the road.

Mine is in storage, so I can't just wheel her out.

Just thought I'd share. My misery is in search of company.


This is me with my Vulcan 800 Classic in July last year. She's so pretty, all pimped out in chrome. Here, we're on our way to Orange County Choppers in New York (about a 10-hour ride from Toronto). Went to see them about commissioning a WWF chopper that we would auction. The money didn't make sense, though. I saw Paul Sr., but didn't talk to him. He's huge.


This is me on a rented Harley Fat Boy at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park in California in October. My husband and I took this trip to celebrate our first anniversary. It was almost our last anniversary. Just a few hours after this pic was taken, we were up in the mountains where my concentration broke as we were riding through a blind, hairpin turn and I wandered into the on-coming lane. Right after, I pulled over to have a smoke and consider my immediate future as a motorcyclist - how the hell I'd get off that mountain without ever getting back on a motorcycle again. I wanted to cry, but chicks on Harleys don't cry, so I didn't. But, I did ride back down that mountain, only to relive the incident in my nightmares for some time after. I feel nauseous whenever I think about it.

Yet still, I long for the wind to make a bird's nest of my hair and my goggles to make big, red, semi-permanent indentations around my eyes as I ride my bitchin' machine.

Oh, and our big Internet push on MSN starts tomorrow. Having serious tracking issues on the net. Something's getting lost between our ads and Web Trends. A major worry that, I'm hopeful, will be sorted out one way or another tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Consuming thoughts (Pam)

As you might imagine, I get lots of calls from suppliers who think they can solve all of WWF's problems.

Just got off the phone with a fella who does "word-of-mouth" marketing.

Here's the situation for WWF. We don't have a lot of money. (The bean counters at FCB have recently figured this out. Ahem.) So everything we do has to be smart, really smart. What that has meant for me in recent weeks, as I begin planning for our next fiscal year (which begins in July), is that I'm reconsidering every single channel we use.

Direct mail. DRTV. Advertising. Internet.

What are we doing and why? What's missing? What's on the decline? What's new out there that we need to investigate?

The sky has been falling on traditional marketing channels for a long time. Or so we've been told. (And have experienced in some cases.)

In a previous post, I talked briefly about these new/newish marketing channels called "viral," "experiential," "buzz," "word-of-mouth". Lots of hype. Lots of interesting little one-off case studies. But once you scratch the surface, you find, well, just some more surface.

This "new marketing" growth industry suffers from too much Anna Nicole Smith, not enough Einstein.

Yet, I remain intrigued. I feel that if I dismiss it, I do so at my peril. Seems to me, just intuitively, that there's something there. There has to be, right? Right?

Here's a scary thought. What if it's all bullshit? What if technology and how consumers use that technology eradicate our ability to get our message to our people?

(ponder....ponder....ponder)

Nah, can't happen. Just because the consumer is in control, doesn't mean they don't want to hear from us. I read Star Magazine. I read The Enquirer. Consumerism is alive and well. Consumers are called consumers because they consume stuff that we give them to consume. They're never going to stop. They'll just do it differently.

So those who figure out this "new marketing" will be the winners.

I think I'll give it a go and just hope for a little Einstein along the way.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Eyeballs needed (Pam)

Something wonderful is happening.

Our direct mail responses are coming in at fairly good pace. What's interesting is that about half of them are for monthly donors. Usually, for every 20 one-time gifts, we get a monthly donor.

Not this time. At least, not so far. There aren't enough responses yet to know why, but I will. Is it the issue, climate change? Is it the creative? Who are these people who are donating monthly? Fascinating.

www.saveourclimate.ca is still seriously in need of eyeballs. To see what we can do about that, we've got a pretty cool little plan in place that starts on Thursday. All Internet-based.

Making our revenue targets for this fiscal year (ends June 30) now rests squarely on the shoulders of this site.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A magical moment in time (Pam)

Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am to work where I work at this particular time. There's this magical moment in time where every eye is on the same prize.

For about an hour or so I took the management team through the intricacies of my plan and budget and answered many, many pointed and smart questions. I was tested and challenged. There were many questions that I couldn't answer as I forgot my crystal ball at home. In those instances I relied on the fact that this group of people has vision and trusts me.

It was a good meeting. It looks like we're going to move ahead according to plan.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Circling the wagons (Pam)

Well, today I go before the Management Committee in order to save my budget.

It's that time of the year. The end of the first half of our fiscal year.

I'm particularly concerned because I need approval to spend a fair amount of dough on getting some eyeballs to www.saveourclimate.ca. Still, the site is not getting enough activity. Conversion rates remain pretty solid. We're testing headlines and are seeing a bit of improvement.

So, I've built my case and am ready for them to bring it on. (And I'm wearing some kick ass footwear, so I feel good.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cagey creative (Pam)

I drive our receptionist mental.

Every morning, at 10 or so, I call her to see if the mail has come in. She knows my next question will be, "How many you got there, lady?" She's aware of my mail count obsession. I think she might feel a bit sorry for me and wonder what in my life might make me happy aside from Canada Post. I can see it in her eyes sometimes.

Today our first responses to our climate change direct mail came in. The next four weeks will give me a pretty good read on how well we'll do.

The package for this campaign is the best of my career...at least I think so. We'll see what the results are. DM is so fickle. Just when you think you know how people will respond, they do something different.

(People who are direct mail specialists like to talk about how scientific DM is. Well, maybe measuring it is scientific, if you call spreadsheets and databases "science". Otherwise, I'm pretty convinced that it's no less art than brand advertising is.)

Anyway, check this bad boy out.

The outer envelope has a giant window through which a personalized brochure is showing. On the brochure are a bunch of name tags of people at an international global warming summit. In the foreground is a name tag on which is lasered the recipient's name...on an angle and centred in the middle of the tag. The personalized name tag image is repeated again on the letterhead.

Genius!



Believe me when I tell you that this kinda fancy lasering gets DM production wonks all hot and bothered.

Me, I think it's a real cagey use of personalization. The power of one's own name is actually very profound. Much as one might profess differently, it's all about oneself at some deep psychological level. The ego must be fed and seeing one's name on a full-colour hunk of mail gives the ego a belly full. Here, the use of a person's name paints a mental picture where the recipient can envision herself at an international summit. She wants to find out what the hell she is doing there.

That's right. People are going look inside this package.

It was the brain child of FCB Direct -- led by the best dressed creative directors in the city. (Dean Maruna and Scott Pinkney wear suits every single day. Abnormal. Vaguely unsettling. And the suit thing is weird, too.)

Check out the whole package.



The challenge here was to reinterpret the TV concept in direct mail. I had a very difficult time imagining how it was going to be possible and was quite anxious as we waited to see concepts. The second they unveiled it, I knew it was a winner.

This concept came to us in the middle of our struggles with the development of the print ads. I felt so strongly about this creative that the agency indulged me in working this up as a print ad. In the end, we chose to continue working with the original print concept that we had.

Credit to the agency for their lack of inter-departmental rivalry (or at least hiding any whiff of it from me...they kept it in Vegas, so to speak). It's an uncomfortable position for all involved. I've been agency side, I know what time it is.

So! Now we count the mail and see what this super sexy DM does. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Elusive viralness (Pam)

It's been two weeks since our launch. We don't have enough names in our sky at www.saveourclimate.ca.

Conversion rates are holding strong. Not getting enough traffic.

We're in market with TV (doing okay, not great, but okay, with our PSA pick-up), radio (doing very well with PSAs), transit in Toronto, magazine (full-page in Macleans election issue and a bunch of insertions in Dose, Today's Parent, etc.), some on-line ads.........all not driving to web in numbers that we need.

As we have experienced with our past campaigns this year, we're getting a lot of feedback from our donors and Canadians from all over. Almost all positive. People are seeing it and understanding it. It's building awareness, but it's not making people go to that web site.

So we have to look to the success of our Do Not Drill campaign (which just won at New York Festivals, ahem), where tens of thousands from all over the world went to the web site and signed a petition.

What made the difference for that campaign?

Well, there was a lot of coverage in the press about the U.S. legislators' vote on drilling in Alaska. In that coverage, our campaign was almost never mentioned, though. There's lots of press coverage right now about climate change, but it's not making a difference to our site visits. So press coverage doesn't seem to be the issue.

Offline media support for Do Not Drill was less than we've got for this campaign. So that's not a factor.

Creative. Well, the creative approach was very different. The Do Not Drill campaign was about the issue. The climate change campaign is about how WWF works to solve the issue. Very, very different. It was absolutely necessary to take a different approach this time for branding purposes. Canadians do not have any idea that we are active on climate change. We had to tell them that and tell them how we do it. Canadians already know about what climate change can do to the planet. We couldn't rationalize investing resources telling Canadians what they already know about climate change over telling them something about WWF and why they should donate to us.

It's an interesting question though. Would Canadians donate to us in greater numbers if we just scared the hell out of them? Or are they more rational and need a reason to donate to WWF specifically?

Or are we simply expecting this creative to do something it can never do -- drive traffic to the web?

We've always known that absolutely none of our offline creative units are built for direct response. We've always known that for www.saveourclimate.ca to succeed, it must have viral qualities. People have to tell their friends about it.

THAT'S what happened with the Do Not Drill campaign. It became viral. It did it on its own. This viral phenomenon is terribly disturbing to me because I can't control it. I don't know, for sure, why it happens, so I can't make it happen.

(Anyone who says they have the answer to this viral stuff is an artiste de merde boeuf, pardon my French. I've seen all those books out there about buzz, viral, experiential marketing. I admire these authors for their tremendous skill in packaging common marketing sense and making it look like it's something new. Props to them.)

Viralness (my new contribution to the industry's lexicon), as it is commonly defined, can only happen on the Internet, so the Internet it is.

Have set up a meeting of a SWAT team of Internet industry gurus who are going to help us get more names in the sky at our web site.

Will tell you what comes of it.