Marketing Archie

By: Howard Feldman

I am often asked how to measure a successful marketing campaign. Obviously, one could set a base line and note a tangible increase in sales, or market penetration. More often than not, however, it is far from that simple and many parts of the campaign, and the success remain obscured.

This weekend, I had an experience that might assist in understanding this a little better.

Our rescue cat Archie who is 5 months old, went missing. We looked everywhere but sadly, no one had seen him since Thursday afternoon. By Saturday our children were distraught, and I was trying to keep it all together. Worse was the fact that my wife is in the USA for a family function and I had been in hospital on a drip with the worst bug I had experienced. Keeping it together, whilst normally not such a challenge, was not so simple at all.

I knew that I had no choice but to find the cat, even if slightly unconventional methods were to be employed. Unless the cat was dead, I was going to find it.

Fortunately, like many, we have a neighbourhood group, which although I curse from time to time, seemed the logical place to raise awareness.

The message I sent was as follows:

Good evening all. Our ginger cat (Archie) has disappeared. He does tend to walk about and very rarely leaves a note or message of any sort. He has not returned since Thursday and though I honestly couldn’t care pretty much either way, the kids seem to be taking his disappearance seriously.  I am not setting up a prayer group…so don’t stress…but if you have seen him, please tell him we would like a word. Or call me so that we can get him back. Thanks. Howard Feldman

My children were furious. They considered my message to be callous and uncaring. I was plain and simply insensitive.  How dare I write something humorous about such a serious topic.

In response, and whilst we waited to see what the response would be, I asked them to answer the following:

  • What is our goal?
  • How do we make sure that the message is read?
  • How do we get as many people as possible to see the message?

I explained that whereas I clearly didn’t want to appear more eccentric than necessary to our neighbours, as long as I stay within the range of their expectation, that I am unlikely to do damage to my  “brand” as a neighbour.

I have no idea if the explanation worked, because half way through the discussion, I received a text from someone on the group saying, “ Your message was so funny that I read it to the family. My father in law is visiting us and he remembered seeing a message on another list (he is not ours) about someone having found a ginger cat.”  He sent the contact the details. I made contact. And Archie is now home.

He read the message out loud because it was funny.

Marketing Lesson learned:

  • Define the objective
  • Understand the best way to achieve it.
  • Stay within the confines of the brand
  • But Be Courageous.

Your kids, and Archie, will thank you for it.

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About Howard Feldman

Howard Feldman is one of South Africa’s leading entrepreneurs. His experience is global and extensive, spanning more than 20 years of working as a business strategist, keynote speaker, published author, both locally and globally, social and political commentator, morning drive show host and philanthropist.

Feldman provides insights into strategic thinking, motivation, facilitating solutions and addressing organisational challenges.

Feldman has used his experience and innate understanding of markets and business to also take his career into the fields of writing and radio. He is the author of two successful books – Carry-on Baggage and Tightrope: Musings of Circus South Africa. His third book; Smile, dammit – is scheduled for release in March 2019.

He is also the Morning Mayhem host on ChaiFM from 6am-9am, Mondays to Fridays.

Part of Howard’s career includes a 15-year stint building a global commodity trading business. He found significant conventional success, but lost himself along the way. His journey is an exploration of authenticity and meaning. Armed with business and academic knowledge as well as a brave and unflinching sense of humour, Howard uses his personal experience to educate and entertain.

Howard Feldman works extensively in executive and corporate training. His delivery draws on real-world experience, recognising the value of people and relationships without compromising the energy of entrepreneurship and career growth, providing audiences with applicable wisdom and the tools needed to thrive within a mercurial and challenging business world. He has a unique, positive outlook and courageously engages in conversations that most would prefer not to have. Through humour, insight, and disruptive thinking, Howard unravels complexities, unlocks talent, and ignites potential.