Today I received a receipt in the mail (yes, the real mail) containing brilliant marketing ideas. It was from The Fred Hollows Foundation for a small donation I made before the end of the financial year. Nothing terribly unusual in that. There was a newsletter-y thing too. Again nothing unusual.

So what prompted me to write a blog about marketing ideas?

Two things.

1.  The receipt was printed at the bottom of a letter from the CEO, Brian Doolan. Of course I had to look at it because I was searching to make sure there was in fact a receipt. But the letter was so warm and engaging, it spoke to me as a real person, not just a wallet. The language was perfect – there really is no other way to describe it. It was like I’d just caught up with my (now new) friend Brian, over a glass of wine and he was telling me a great story of a mate.

Only at the very end, did they include the standard achievements. In 2012 the Foundation and its partners;

  • Performed 98,088 cataract surgeries and 306,827 other sight restoring procedures
  • Trained 174 surgeons and 45,0545 medical and support staff
  • Upgraded or renovated 98 medical facilities
  • Supplied $5.8 million in equipment

which, you have to agree, is totally remarkable for a bloke who started something on his own in the bush because he thought he should do something. The note on its own made me want to donate again.

2. But then I saw the small card. It was a little bigger than a business card. It asked me in very plain language to look through a large-ish clear plastic dot. When I first saw it, it was up against another piece of paper and I could perfectly read though it.

But when I lifted it to my eye, I could barely make out my computer screen.

I even tried to beat the piece by bringing my phone’s backlit screen to my head to see if I could see any better.

Nope, nada, nothing.

The view from my office window with cataracts

I actually got to experience what it was like to have cataracts – even if it was just for a brief second. I find my reading glasses irritating enough. I can’t even begin to think what cataracts would be like to deal with day after day, year after year – especially when it’s something that can be fixed sooooooooooo easily.

So thank you Brian to opening my eyes and allowing me to really ‘see’ what my small donation could fix. Now there’s some WIIFM.

I’ll be calling my new friend Brian (or at least one of his helpers) to set up an ongoing donation right after I post this.

What’s the marketing ideas lesson?

Business owners go to so much effort coming up with lots of marketing ideas, producing marketing campaigns, lots of pieces and especially online s_xiness, etc – when sometimes all they really need is something simple and heartfelt – that talks straight to the emotion of the recipient. Yes, even if you’re in B2B.

Everyone wants to engage with a real person, not an organisation, that they feel like they know, like and trust (or at the very least that they’re prepared to have a go at knowing, liking and trusting).

So I guess the question all this has led me to is – how can you better open the eyes of your customers to the problems your business can solve.

If we can help, I’d be delighted to chat further. You can drop me a note or give me a call.

And if you feel so inclined to help restore someone’s sight – you can do it for just $25 (which let’s face it, is less than you probably spend on lunch/coffee in just one week).


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