The Long, Sad Chain of Events

Imagine a nightmare scenario

You are out walking, carelessly stumble and break your ankle. You can’t afford medical care (or it simply isn’t available) so you have to live with the pain and just wait for it to heal on its own. Because the break was never set properly, it never heals properly and you spend the rest of your life hobbled with a severe limp and a weak ankle which is prone to breaking frequently.

Sounds extreme? Unlikely?

Not if you’re living in Nigeria.

Here, in one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world, minor illnesses and injuries can be a big deal.


Enter a Hero

Sue K. is a Registered Nurse at a teaching hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. She’s been invited to participate in a two week long medical mission to Oyo state in western Nigeria.

Once there, Sue and the other doctors and nurses in her group, will do three valuable and important things:

            1. Provide free medical care to all who need it.
            2. Train local doctors and nurses in the latest western medical practices.
            3. Donate approximately 50 cases of medical supplies and equipment to the hospitals and clinics hosting their group.

Sue Needs Your Help!

Once in Nigeria, all of her expenses are paid for by the charity sponsoring the mission. However it’s her responsibility to get there and back.

All told, Sue needs to raise about $2,300 in order to make the trip.

That may seem like a lot but she really only needs 200 or so people to kick in $10 each and she’s basically there.

And what if she falls too far short of her goal to afford to go? Or — best of all worlds — actually collects way more than she needs?

Well if she doesn’t collect enough, the people of Nigeria would miss out on the services of a dedicated and experienced nurse. (Sue’s been an RN for 13 years and has even trained dozens of other nurses, since she works at a teaching hospital.) However, she has pledged to donate all the money received and use it to buy even more supplies to give to the Nigerian hospitals and clinics.

If she collects more than she needs, any excess will be used to buy supplies to give to the hospitals and clinics.

What’s In It For You

Aside from the wonderful feeling of doing something truly good in the world, Sue is offering two bonuses for those who support her. The fact that they are small allows her to devote 100% of the donations toward helping the people of Nigeria.

  • While in Nigeria, she will take her camera and take pictures of the work that the mission does. Those photos will be posted in a private portfolio online. Only those donors who give $10 or more will be given access to view the photos.
  • For anyone generous enough to donate $100 or more, Sue will find a local Nigerian vendor and purchase a small handcrafted souvenir. Upon her return home, she will mail the souvenir to you along with a note of thanks. (Plus you’ll also get access to the online photos.)

To see a video of Sue talking about the mission in her own words and find out more, go to

Adopt an Orphan App

Whether you already have a smartphone app for your business or not, you might consider “adopting” an existing app. LL Bean did this recently with the “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder” app. This handy little app lists public parks and recreation areas within 100 miles of you (or any location you specify). It’s searchable and the list can be filtered.

But most relevant is that the app caters perfectly to the very same demographic as LL Bean’s customers. By adopting and co-sponsoring the app, both LL Bean and the app’s makers benefit. LL Bean benefits by being able to serve its customer’s interests better without incurring any cost for doing so. The makers of the ParkFinder app obviously benefit from exposure to LL Bean’s very large customer base.

So what existing apps can you partner with and just what might be involved in such a partnership? Let’s start with the easy part.

Forging A Partnership

The terms of the partnership you establish with the maker of an existing app will almost certainly be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Having said that, here are some things you might consider offering or asking for:

  1. Promote or distribute the app to your customer list
  2. Ask for sponsorship mention within the app, such as on a splash screen
  3. Paid advertising placement within the app (provides income to the developer and advertises your business to the app’s users)
  4. Highlighting or priority placement of your products or locations in lists returned by the app
  5. Provide content for lists and/or information used by the app
  6. Offer to host all or part of the app’s online content on your web server(s)

A partnership could involve some form of financial transaction but doesn’t need to so long as both parties receive value from the arrangement.

Finding An App To Partner With

It’s much more difficult to generalize about finding apps to partner with. This is where personalized assistance would be beneficial. (Please contact us if you would like to have a professional marketer handle this for your business.)

So let’s just examine some hypothetical ideas to get a sense of what’s possible and what angles to take.

  • If you’re a veterinarian
    • A pet medical records app
    • Listing of pet-friendly hotels
    • Holistic pet food recipes
  • For dentists
    • A game where players extract teeth from a crocodile
    • Dental care alarm clock with alarms for brushing, flossing and even checkups
  • Auto Mechanic
    • Troubleshooting and diagnostic tool
    • App to find the best gas prices
    • Auto accident reporting checklist
    • Flashlight app
  • Hotel or Bed & Breakfast Owner
    • Vacation planner
    • App that makes restaurant recommendations
    • Calendar app
    • Road trip app (i.e. to help you find the world’s largest can of spinach)
  • Skating rink or skate shop owner
    • Roller derby apps (used by officials to run a derby bout)
    • An app that shows skate-friendly paths (similar to jogging or biking paths)

The connection between your business and the function or focus of the app you adopt needn’t be direct. The ParkFinder app has nothing to do with LL Bean’s business of selling clothing. There should just be some logical correlation in order for the partnership to benefit both parties.

5 Sweet Marketing Tricks my Dentist Uses

My dentist is terrific at marketing. And I’m not entirely sure that he even fully realizes it. He’s a very smart guy and his marketing efforts are far from accidental, I’m just not sure that he has enough basis for comparison to realize how much better he is than the average schmo who hasn’t studied marketing.

Here are five things my dentist does that make him a marketing machine:

1. Testimonials

In his waiting room — which, incidentally, looks more like the lobby of a nice hotel than a typical doctor’s waiting room — he has a small digital picture frame on one of the oak tables. The frame changes images every five seconds or so. Every single image on the frame is a photo of an actual patient paired with a pull-quote from a testimonial that patient has given. He has dozens of these testimonials. Both the quotes and the photos are all top-notch.

2. Upsell

His staff is absolutely genius at the art of upselling. Dr. Rosen himself tends to stay above such things and is just the good old friendly doctor. He never sells a thing. But don’t be fooled into thinking he isn’t the puppet master pulling the strings on all his staff. They never go for the hard-sell. It’s always a “recommendation”. If you don’t buy, they leave it alone but their pitch is good enough that most patients buy.

3. Email

He uses an autoresponder to keep in touch with patients. I always get a reminder about two weeks before an appointment and a second just a few days prior. I also get a follow-up the day after an appointment inviting me to review and give feedback on the services I received during my visit.

The emails are beautifully formatted and very inviting.

4. Text Messaging

Social media is great but it’s a means for communicating to anonymous masses of people. Dr. Rosen augments his social media presence with direct one-on-one text messages. These are also of the autoresponder variety and mostly appointment reminders, but they’re highly effective. After all, if appointments are canceled or forgotten, he doesn’t make money so these reminders reduce the number of missed or canceled appointments and thus maximize his income.

5. Free Gift

On their first visit to his office, every new patient is given a very nice electric toothbrush. I have seen these in stores selling for around $35. Why would Dr. Rosen give away $35 toothbrushes when every other dentist in the world gives out cheap $1 toothbrushes with their name and number embossed on the handle? It’s all about making a lasting first impression. His services are not inexpensive. I just had my teeth cleaned and the bill came to $220. How many times do you think a patient needs to come back before he makes a profit? That’s right. Just once. If he can make such an impression that all or most of his patients come back for just one more service, he’s made a profit. If a large percentage of those patients are like me and become regulars for a long period of time, he makes a huge profit. Dr. Rosen knows the lifetime value of a patient so he knows exactly what he can afford to spend to attract a new one.


Without great service, the best marketing in the world is just a revolving door. You might get customers in but they won’t stay and you’ll find yourself in a constant (and expensive) pursuit of new ones.

Dr. Rosen’s sweetest marketing trick of all is that he and his whole office provide excellent service. He has so many repeat customers that he doesn’t really have to go out and actively market for new ones.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane — Cha-ching!

I’m sure you’ve heard of They wanted to be Facebook and LinkedIn before either of those sites existed.

Although I joined Classmates early on, I never paid for the service and always had a really sour opinion of them because of their business model.

Classmates has the proverbial plate glass window. You can join for free and see all those people from your misspent youth that you could connect with… if only you’ll pony up a few bucks for their premium service.

Unless you pay for a premium membership, there is essentially nothing useful you can do on Classmates. Not only has this always hampered their growth and success but it crippled them when Facebook and LinkedIn came along. Both those sites let you connect with the very same people from your misspent youth for free. (Both sites are also quite profitable, I might add.)

But this article isn’t a slam on Quite the opposite. I’m writing to applaud a brilliant move they made recently.

I received an email from them. No big deal, I’ve always gotten lots of emails from them. I think the only saving grace of the whole site is that they’re such savvy marketers.

The email I got the other day was different though. It included a graphic of a two-page spread from my yearbook. Not just a yearbook, but from my yearbook.

Classmates apparently has been going around and collecting up yearbooks from all the graduating classes and all the high schools all over the country. (I have no idea how complete their collection is.) They’ve digitized the ones they’ve got and now you can flip through the online pages of the yearbook for your own graduating class.

Not just that, but you can tag photos, identifying the people in them and linking to their Classmates profiles.

In a rare turn, all of this seems to be free.

So how do they hope to capitalize on and monetize this?

The most obvious thing I’ve seen so far are offers to sell you reprints of your yearbook in case you lost yours. Or just want another copy, I guess.

Now, I’m not one of those people whose glory days were when I was roaming the halls on my way to gym class. Those never were my best years even when I was in them. I remember all the people I knew back then and I’m sure that most of them are terrific people. I might even be friends with many of them if we met up somewhere.

The thing is, I now live something like 2,000 miles away from where I went to school. I haven’t been in touch with any of those people in more than 25 years. There’s only one person from high school I am still in touch with and we’ve been friends since before high school.

Still, for many people, the past was where all their best memories were made. And high school was the best of the best. So for Classmates to offer such a personalized trip down memory lane is simply brilliant.