Thursday, February 25, 2016

Increased Awareness

Some more honesty. As discussed in a prior post, some of the original Cardz for Kidz! members have marketing degrees. Now, here’s something we learned in one of our classes. There are primarily 3 different types of marketing campaigns. First, there are some campaigns that try to increase AWARENESS – simply get more people to know your brand/product. Others that are TRANSACTIONAL or action based – trying to drive action ranging from purchasing a product to downloading new software. Finally, there are some campaigns that are referred to as LOYALTY campaigns. These initiatives are dedicated to strengthening the connection between consumers and a brand. Originally, when we officially became Cardz for Kidz!, we were strictly focused on the last two initiatives - trying to get new groups to host events and retain groups who have participated in the past.

If you need confirmation, just check out the website and you’ll see our order:
  1. Participants - Loyalty
  2. How To - Transactional
  3. Donate – N/A
  4. About Us – Awareness
  5. Contact Us – All of the Above

For the ‘Loyalty’ part we made sure that the Participants tab was one of the first section anyone sees. We’re using the second meaning of one of our main hashtags, #EveryCardCounts[1]. We figured this way groups know they’re being recognized and other people can see how many cards they have created. We thought this might increase competition between groups and they may be interested in continually making more cards – seeing their numbers rise. Also, we thought this would be a way to get more groups to Stream It[2].

Next for the ‘Transactional’ part, we made sure that EVERYTHING anyone would need to start an event is on our site. If you check out the How To page, you’ll see a lot of information and the exact steps you need to do in order to host an event. This ranges from how to set up an event, where to send the cards, and where to send pictures. And since we wanted to make things even more efficient, we have files people can view or download that show what art supplies you need, little signs that can be placed on the tables, as well as PowerPoint that can be played in the background.

Based on missing our 2015 goals, we have modified our approach. Originally, we thought simply having more people know about our organization was not helping disheartened children at all. Although it may be impressive if we had 10,000+ fans, that would not mean we would consistently have 10,000+ cards. After things fell through and we weren’t able to meet our 2015 goal, we had to stick to our promise and tell personal stories to get more people to the website and to start telling others. Although this wouldn’t necessarily get more cards, we’re hoping that more people would begin to talk. Also, we have reached out to a couple different newspapers and stations to try to improve awareness that way. In addition to that, we got small stickers that can be placed on the back of cards.

Some members of the board have been recommending this for a while, but what actually led to the follow-through was an incident at Lurie Children’s Hospital. When we handed a card to a child, their mother asked where they were from. We started to explain and she followed by saying, it’d be nice if it said it somewhere. That request finally got us going, we got the stickers and have also been asking the different leaders for each group to have all their participants not only sign their name, but add their city and/or group as well. It’s a bit hard to see on the actual cards, but Girl Scouts Troop 13 did a wonderful job since a lot of the girls wrote names, group, cities AND troop number! Thankfully, they added all of that without interrupting the layout of the cards.

If it all works out, the families who receive the cards will now know, or be more aware, of where their cards are coming from. We’re hoping that everyone’s INCREASED AWARENESS and our consistent gratitude inspires more groups to either start hosting events or continually participate in uplifting spirits. 

#IncreasedAwareness #UpliftingSpirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, visit our Google+ page, and/or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out a couple videos on YouTube!

[1] First part is since each card is delivered room to room a child will receive each card, so every card counts.
[2] Independently host Cardz for Kidz! events without any member of the organization checking in to see if they are still interested and/or requesting cards for a special event.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Michigan Difference

It will take A LOT for anyone to get close to DePaul University in terms of the wide variety of departments that have hosted an event. Currently, it includes special student groups, athletics, modern language departments, alumni, and more! Thinking about it, it’s no wonder they’ve made 1000+ cards (1,164 to be exact)! #EveryCardCounts

DePaul University has had an array of groups participating, but we’re also impressed by the variety of ways the University of Michigan has also joined in. Similar to how a lot of DePaul’s connections were sparked by our founders (DePaul alumni), Michigan’s contributions were led by  Dr. Katherine Burson, a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business.

Here’s some background. Did you read the post where we talked about what we wanted to become WHEN WE GROW UP? In that post, the ‘protagonist’ (aka founder of Cardz for Kidz!) described studying for exams a month after going through brain surgery. The goal of that post was to show how hard it is for students to go through difficult health conditions AND still do “well” in school. Therefore, when we grow up, we’d love it if we were able to help provide scholarships for kids who’ve gone through difficult physical conditions. 

As mentioned in the post, the student was having trouble remembering a lot of the simple phrases and themes in marketing. That all took place in a Marketing 300 course that was taught by Professor Burson at the Ross School of Business. The University of Michigan had a special setup where students with disabilities got extra time on the exam. Since it was his first time going through the procedure, he didn’t reach out in time and unfortunately wasn’t able to find a time that worked with Dr. Burson to take the exam at another time. Once the exam started he began working, trying to remind himself of the 4 P’s, STP, types of targeting, etc. After a bit of frustration, he sighed popped his head up to the sky, and on his way down, he made eye contact with Dr. Burson. She motioned for him to get his stuff then come down. Turns out she found a grad student to sit with him during the beginning of the exam while she was with the other students then later came and sat with him for the extra time. One could say, her helping a student helped inspire our desire to help future college students.

Next Cardz for Kidz! has consistently been striving for ways to connect with more universities. This ranges from alumni to current students. We’re always reaching out to friends and others to see if they have ideas on what we need to do to expand. Thankfully, there was one time when we didn’t need to do that. It was real exciting/shocking when Dr. Burson reached out and told us she’d like for her students to create and present new marketing plans to us. Here are a couple quick snapshots of their PowerPoints.

Those recommendations were used to make our next connection via Dr. Burson, Lauren Nopar, and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Dr. Burson connected Lauren and our founder a couple months ago to spark some networking. Lauren conveyed that Dr. Burson insisted that she check out the Cardz for Kidz! social pages and website before she reached out. Thankfully, Lauren followed her recommendations and at the end of the chat about networking, they discussed how her sorority could participate. After their first event, they created a total of 151 cards AND already scheduled a date to make their next set of cards.

Currently, the University of Michigan, primarily thanks to Dr. Burson and the marketing department, has impacted approximately 180 patients. Although we appreciate cards and gifts from ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE, we’re thankful we experienced THE MICHIGAN DIFFERENCE; producing cards AND creating marketing strategies. Thanks for your contributions.

#TheMichiganDifference #UpliftingSpirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website, like us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!