Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Mark Zuckerberg will end up being right.

Admittedly, as a software guy, I get a little jealous when someone else's seemingly crazy idea begins to pan out as true.

We've noticed something interesting at CURE.

1. The growth of our Facebook presence is pretty massive. (up from a starting point around 2,000 to over 11,000 at present)

2. The growth of our Google Adwords campaign resulting in over 100 clicks a day. (Courtesy of a grant through Google)

Of course, I expected to see a net increase in site traffic to However in watching the trends, our traffic remains relatively flat. I thought, "OK, well Facebook has accounted for an increasing share of our traffic, up from below 1% to nearly 7%, and Google CPC starting at an obvious 0% up to nearly 10%. Yet, we remain flat?

My first initial thought was that CPC was cannibalizing organic Google traffic, (it does,maybe a little > 1%) but the discrepancy was too drastic.

So whats the deal? Then I got to looking at our Facebook stats... Nearly 160,000 post views in a month (vs. ~ 60,000 page views on and over 9,000 monthly active (out of ~ 11,000) users on Facebook vs 16k uniques on CURE (out of the entire web).

Then it hit me. Mark was right.

The future of non-profits and likely all brands will be living within Facebook.

Why?, that's much easier, the people are already there. It isn't that they don't like the design of, it is simply easier to support a cause they believe in, consume relevant up to date information and, in the future, give right there within Facebook.
So, my prediction. In the next 2 - 5 years, the vast majority of traffic non-profits receive will be through Facebook. In the long term, believe it or not, it will supplant the need to have a web presence outside of the Facebook ecosystem at all.

Sure that seems scary (maybe crazy) and is likely very far off. Facebook has a ways to go before we at CURE could even consider this (our CUREkids program for one can't run within Facebook) but with increasing capabilities for integration and just watching the data tends it seems not only reasonable that, at least for this non-profit, we'll be staking a greater part of our future on the support of our base within Facebook.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Market like you like

I've been doing "marketing" now as a "job" for nearly 3 months. Yes, this is the reason I didn't blog at all, laziness had nothing to do with it *cough* yeah right *cough*.

In that time I've learned a tremendous amount about personal marketing both by developing things that work and things that just don't work.

I think the biggest lesson learned so far is that you shouldn't market in a way that isn't personally compelling. That isn't to say that just because you create a campaign that is compelling to you, it will be compelling to everyone else. No, it's merely meant to say that, if you don't like it, its likely that no one else will.

This basic premise goes for "tactics" as well. Take for instance non-profits and their donation raising strategies like sending you a "you missed your annual donation" letter. Yeah, that really makes me feel loved and appreciated. Thanks. We've ALL seen these before numerous times and increasingly fewer of us respond to them, some of us are actually insulted by them. (Hint Hint It's ME!) Yet, "we" press on using the same tired "tactics".

That said here's a few pro-tips:

1. Don't be afraid to market outside of the box, reaching everyone with a single campaign just doesn't happen anymore.

2. Try something new, don't be afraid to crash and burn once in a while.

3. If YOU wouldn't respond to what you've just created, don't ship it, because no one else will either.

4. Know your base. I can't stress this enough, you have have KNOWN you base at one time but they change, just like you. So take time to re-know them every once in a while.

Happy marketing and God bless.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Obvious and Upfront Value

As a, now former, product guy, I've done lots of thinking about what makes a product "worth while" in the space. Over time, I've developed a litmus test to ensure that product decisions, whether large or small, are good ideas. Now, this test isn't an end all be all but that said, I think you'll easily be able to see where it applies.

Often times, product folks, (or marketers) are in a position to make a decision about the future of your product. (For the sake of argument lets agree a product can be something tangible, including software, or intangible like giving a gift to charity, anything a person will pay for and derive some type of value from) Its equally as common that you have to make a decision between multiple features each of which are likely compelling. So, how do you choose?

Now the obligatory nod to the entire industry and many groups of practice around how to make these choices. Admittedly, I'm a practitioner of Pragmatic Marketing, of which I am a big fan, but sometimes even that process, as good as it is, can be a bit heavy. So how do you choose if you don't have time to spare on a process or a tool?

There are two questions you should ask yourself:

1. Does this feature provide value to one of your user groups?

If yes proceed to question 2. If no, rethink your feature.

2. Is the value provided by this feature obvious and "upfront"?

Meaning, will your customers recognize the value it provides easily and quickly?

Every product must show value. That much is a given. No one pays for, or even uses, products that don't have value. People LOVE a product that shows its value simply by existing and being used.

What does that look like? How do you know you've gotten there? Well, lets take an online software system of any kind. You know you've gotten there when your users no longer ask questions like "where do I go to find this data". That should be obvious to anyone using the system. In a CRM system for example, users should never have to ask the question "how are we doing with sales this quarter" answering that question should be obvious and upfront in the daily usage of the system.

What about donating to a charity? People donate for a variety of reasons, one of which is to feel they have done something good. Usually, people will donate to a cause that they feel does the most good. So for you .org types, that means your product needs to easily display the value it gives to its cause. What is the "value" of my dollar? What did my donation accomplish? That information should be obvious and upfront when donors are making the decision to donate and it should be reinforced after the donation.

Try asking those 2 questions about your product decisions for a week. Post the results back here and share any thoughts you have!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Change is Coming

Just a quick little update for those that follow this blog:

Effective January 10th, I'll no longer be in the technology industry. I have made the jump over the for non-profit space and will be heading up marketing at Cure International. That said, the focus of my blog remains the same and is exceedingly relevant to my day to day.

Check out for more information.

Drop us a quick prayer if you're feeling up to it!

- Matt

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Consistency & Individuality

From time to time, I fill in for our campus pastor on stage at the church. We have about 800 to 1000 people in attendance over the course of two services in a given weekend. On top of that, our church uses a campus model. That basically means that we have several campuses broadcasting the same message to about 10,000 people each week, so consistency in message is important.

Lots of organizations today have a similar issue. They have a large, diverse and disbursed base that they need to communicate a consistent message too. All things considered, that's pretty easy to do with the web these days.

The problem comes in with people. Sure, you can "enforce" every word that comes out of your peoples' mouths but it sounds that way. In sales, the individual style of the rep is often times the factor that wins the deal. Recently, when selecting some new technology to partner with, the style of the rep was what "broke the tie" between two very similar technology choices.

Back to my church for a second. While they place a high value on consistency in message, they place an equally high value on "sounding like yourself". When preparing remarks that I'll use on stage, I'm free to be myself within some guidelines. This makes the message delivery sounds more genuine, which leads people to listen and receive it more effectively. This, of course, leads to greater buy in and continued attendance.

The same principles apply to coaching your sales reps. Give them guidelines, but don't give them exactly what to say. Let your reps be themselves and do what they do best, deliver your message and build relationships with soon-to-be clients.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Early and Often

Anyone in the software space has heard the phrase "release early and often".

Many folks regard this as a high risk strategy. With complex systems, early releases can be regarded as careless and even dangerous, so most organizations tend to stay away from the idea.

On the flip side, I've yet to meet a client who didn't want an issue or enhancement addressed quickly. In fact, the happiest clients I have are the ones who believe their provider to be flexible and responsive. They seem to look past issues if they know the provider is ready to fix them quickly and efficiently when they come up.

As it happens, early and often doesn't only apply to software releases (or software in general). Think of early and often as a communication strategy.

Clients feel more engaged when you communicate with them frequently and on a personal level. No not an email that "feels" personal but on a real personal level. Pick up the phone or pen an email directly to a few clients now and again. Let them know what you're thinking, invite them to the table to discuss the future of your organization and do it often. Share your organization's thoughts with them even if they aren't completely polished, you'll be surprised how much you will learn and how little you really know about those you serve. Having conversations with your base doubtless will save you time and money (or read more properly money and money). By talking to them and presenting ideas and thoughts early, you can gauge the response and change course if necessary before wasting.... you guessed it time or money.

Doesn't sound like "traditional" marketing huh? I challenge its likely to be more effective. By communicating early and often you'll forge a sense of partnership while constantly reinforcing your brand's presence.

This strategy isn't meant to espouse carelessness or frivolity, but flexibility and relationship. Clients who feel like partners in your organization's journey are usually in it for the long haul... even if things don't always go according to plan.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Downgrading from perfection

In today's world what is valued more? How messaging is said or how authentic the message is?

I challenge that being perceived as authentic is more valuable than being polished.

Today, over anything else, customers value relationship. Maybe instead of spending time grooming our images attempting to come close to perfection, people (including customers who, by the way, are people too), would find it easier to relate to business & organizations who are a little less perfect..... just like people.