Maximizing ROI and Changerators

Yesterday I met Cate Newman-Marshall again at Nineteen Squares for a proper meeting to talk about the book. I had sent her some pages in advance, as far as I had gotten with writing and translating. (A lot of the work is translating my checklists.) She had a lot of good questions of understanding, coming from her deep understanding of the topic, but reading about the business campaigning® concept for the first time. One major discussion point were the meanings of expressions, which form the foundation of the concept, expressions like pulling out all the stops, guidelines, tools etc.

I had a sentence “Campaigning is all about achieving goals effectively at minimum costs.” Cate’s feedback showed me that there was one important point missing, which is so clear to me (but maybe not to others): Campaigning is also about motivating people. And, and this is most important: it is not about  cheapness. Campaigning can be very costly indeed. But it delivers a real and measurable Return on Investment (ROI), and so it is about maximizing ROI. The discussion went on to the fact that campaigning is also about generating new insights that take you to a higher level of understanding your business and integrate a wide range of tools, domains, fields and disciplines.

When she asked me what I meant with “To be able to find the most effective and efficient tools you need to be aware of any possibly helpful tool, approach, tactics or technique.” I explained it by the help of a real example. A few years ago the owner of a small headhunter agency met us, because she wanted us to do PR or advertising for her. (She had heard, campaigning was cheap PR or advertising…) Her business had been going down since 5 months, starting in April that year. We discussed various options and decided to sleep one night over it and make a decision next day. However, during the next 24 hours I could not get out of my head that she had mentioned four times during that meeting of one hour, that she had a car accident in March with a whiplash trauma as a result. My guts were telling me there was a connection. (Today I see it more clearly: such a trauma can have a huge impact on a person’s appearance, which in turn can have a huge impact on her staff’s performance in such a small agency.) So, I took all my courage, called her and told her I had a feeling she should wait with a PR campaign and instead try a trauma therapy. I also gave her the number of a friend of mine who is a trauma therapy specialist. I never heard of her again and gone was the new business… But… a few months later my friend told me that I had been right. After a few sessions the lady’s business was back on track. I had chosen the right tool.

At this point Cate intervened and asked about the right expression. She said, trauma therapy was not a tool, rather an approach or technique. I said “Yes, that’s why I keep talking about the wide range of tools, techniques and approaches that a campaigner needs to know”. Cate said correctly that this was pretty complicated. But we came to the conclusion that our languages (English and German) do not provide any expression that expresses exactly what I was meaning to say. Maybe we need to create a new word! (Like the word motorbike as created when there were motorbikes etc.)

After playing around with the different words we came to “changerator“, derived from change generator. Because every tool, approach or technique is about delivering the change that you aim for.

So, what do you think about this? I am curious to know!

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