With a war going on and anxiety levels high, some local women decided it was time to take action. They mobilized the neighborhood to send care packages to soldiers stationed near Gaza.
I offered to help.
But, much as I would love to spend hours rolling socks and counting packs of gum, having small children doesn’t really allow for that at this point of my life.
So I offered to help get donations. Like a true marketer, I divided my campaign into two target markets.
1. Schnorring for Cash: I live in a chareidi neighborhood on the northern-most edge of Jerusalem with over 35,000 residents and not one cafe. In other words, no disposable income. So this meant emailing my friends and relatives in Australia (where I grew up) and letting them know about the campaign. Wowee, was that hard for me! But bless my generous friends and relatives in Australia who came through and paypal-ed me some cash, which bought a fair amount of socks and gum to ease the discomfort and loneliness of the lads in uniform.
2. Recruiting local help: Rather than collecting a few agorot from each cash-strapped neighbor, we decided to ask them for donations of snacks, bug spray and other stuff that could be useful to a bunch of sweaty guys living in tents in the burning heat and fearing for their lives. I offered to make a sign and hang it up on every lamp post on our street. (Yes, only on our street. In this car-poor, double-stroller-rich Jerusalem neighborhood, we do hyper-hyper-local marketing.)
This is where the simple marketing lesson was learned – or rather re-learned. Because who among us does not understand this intuitively?
When I hung up the first round of signs, it was Monday night. I knew that the organizers were planning to send a shipment on Thursday at noon. So I wrote on the sign that all donations should be brought by Wednesday night.
Monday night, brought a pack of baby wipes.
Tuesday, brought a few solitary bags of snacks.
Wednesday morning, the collection crate was still looking kind of pathetically empty.
But you can guess what happened Wednesday afternoon, right?
The crate overflowed several times!
That was great.
But then came Thursday.
Though the organizers were now preparing for the next shipment, the local donations completely dried up. They asked me why.
I responded that I would hang a new round of signs.
This time I thought I’d be smart. Rather than setting a deadline that passes quickly, meaning that all donations stop, I’d just issue a general call for donations, with no deadline.
So I went out with my tape gun and did another round of “content marketing” (AKA known as handmade signs stuck to lamp posts).
I also improved the signs in many ways. I even did the Hebrew copywriting myself, for all my Israeli neighbors to smirk at!
The outcome: the second round of signs was much less successful than the first.
The main reason for that is that it didn’t have a deadline.
Yes, creating a sense of urgency is one of the key ingredients in any marketing campaign.
If folks feel like they can do it “whenever,” they will drop the “whe” and just do it “never.”
Retailers use urgency by creating “48-hour sales.” Web marketers turn it up a notch and tell you that the product will disappear entirely in 48 hours.
And that’s why so many advertising campaigns use those cliched sales lines:
While Stocks Last
Limited Time Only
For the First 20,000 Callers Only
It’s all about creating a sense of urgency, a sense of scarcity.
Hopefully without straight out lying and manipulating. (Or worse, using a tired old cliche.)
The best campaigns have the urgency built in in a natural way. E.g. you really want to buy that Esrog before Sukkos, you want to sign up for that program before it’s over, you want to buy your kids swimsuits before summer vacation so they’ll get the most wear out of them.
So before you do you your next marketing campaign, think if it conveys urgency.
If not, your results will likely suffer.