Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Customer Evidence, Crowd Sourcing and Giving Back

Yesterday while out riding my bike I got to thinking about Day 3 of the SOBCon conference in Chicago this past April. Day 3 was dedicated to Giving Back.

I thought about the passion that was inspired by several groups imageseeking our Crowd Sourced advice on how they might want to move their efforts forward. We focused on Vitamin Angels.

We didn’t have much time to come up with ideas so I used a model that I have been using for a few years for capturing customer evidence. In this case I was thinking of Stephen Covey’s “Begin with the End in Mind” mantra.

Our goal was to think like a teenager about how they could help build awareness while doing something to help children get the critical vitamins they needed. My notes are in the picture below (no points for penmanship here).

Vitamin Angels (SOBCon) - Vision, Value, Pain, Solution (Benefits)

My simple model is this:

  • Vision
  • Value
  • Pain
  • Solution / Benefits

Usage: Identify and Define each point. If you can’t put a sentence to each point keep working. Ideally each point can be validated from the perspective of the customer or target audience in this case.

For this particular scenario we were making some assumptions and coming up with ideas of what success would look like and feel like. We came up with an idea that teenagers might be willing to take up that time-honored tradition of selling something to raise money for a cause. The idea was that they would sell seeds with the (semi)-logical connection to the fact that food that would be grown with the seeds includes vitamins. A portion of the revenue generated would be transferred back to Vitamin Angels.

Not bad, not bad. But …

The Farmville and Burpee Connection

We think we came up with something better. Why not leverage the success of Farmville and connect them with a seed manufacturer directly. That way it could tie-in something teenagers may already be doing in a virtual world with a revenue generating tie-in to a firm that is already entrenched in the physical world. Hence the Farmville + Burpee connection.

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The Big Idea

The idea is that teenagers (and other kids) using Farmville would plant "virtual crops” with virtual Burpee seeds. When they did this and then harvested the crops an agreed upon amount would be transferred to a fund setup for Vitamin Angels. Everybody wins!

It Scales to the Masses

This could easily be extended to all Farmville players – that is, adults might want to get in on the action too. Of course, since it’s virtual it can easily span the globe. More players = more virtual crops. Again, everybody wins! And wins BIGGER!

Cause Marketing Made Easy

We thought this would be an even easier way to directly affect the goals of Vitamin Angels while allowing both teenagers and adults to get in on the action. Of course, Burpee gets in on the action too. Burpee generates good will, drives more sales and gets a chance to be part of one of the hottest games on the planet while jumping into a Social Media head first.

What’s Next?

This was a fun exercise and I do hope the Vitamin Angels team took our advice to heart and put it into action. What made it fun SNAGHTML2479d7f6was the fact that I was on a great team of creative and talented people – including @JayJayFrench, @sharhope, and @caroljsroth. My apologies to Ben and Nicolette – I did not have your twitter handles. Thanks to the team for crowd sourcing this idea and for the SOBCon attendees for helping to suss it out when it was presented to the whole group.

What do you think?

  • Will this work in the real world?
  • What process do you use to help tell your success stories?
  • Does Success need to be financial in nature to really be considered a success?

The intent is to make it easy, not formulaic, to capture customer evidence. Sometimes a simple mnemonic like VVPS helps. In this case we used it as a tool to crowd source ideas. Maybe it will help you too.

Please share your comments here or drop me a line at any of my contact points below.

For more information about Vitamin Angels --- See their web site and follow them on Twitter - @vitaminangels

For more information on SOBCon – click here. I highly recommend attending the upcoming event in Denver this September. Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker put on a great event with excellent speakers and the attendees are the best of the best.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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