Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great Marketing in the Oddest of Places

My new job is going well, thanks everyone for asking! One of the "benefits" of my new job is that I get to ride the train from Bridgeport to Grand Central on Metro-North railroad every day (it's working out fine if you're wondering).

When I boarded the train this morning, I was surprised to find a newsletter from MTA on all the seats. I didn't expect much, but was totally surprised to find myself enjoying each article and piece of information.

They did so many good things that I decided to make a list! Each of these good things should be noted and applied to how you market your newsletters, emails and you non-profit brand.

  1. Interactive. The newsletter recapped 2006 results, which were stunning. MTA's 97.8% system-wide on-time performance is pretty amazing. The information also clearly acknowledged that much of the data they collected had been used to directly improve their services. For example, they offer more early AM trains which came directly from the newsletter. MTA was smart enough to ask for input, but smarter for making the results of that survey available.
  2. They have a sense of humor. The newsletter actually made me smile at least a few times. Yes, some of the humor was cheesy, but no matter, it's refreshing to know that there is an actual person behind the writing of the newsletter.
  3. Transparency. The newsletter not only reported on the good parts of the survey data, they actually picked out the bad news and highlighted it, then explained it in detail. Overall condition of the trains declined from 86% to 83%. They go on to explain that there is a huge discrepancy between different lines which resulted in the downgraded statistics. If you are wondering, the outer New Haven line dragged everyone down with an 81%. I wonder if they put these newsletters on that line as well?
  4. It was useful. The newsletter included a courtesy corner which clarified for me that while there is no rule against using cellphones and that courtesy is important. Obvious, but useful. The newsletter also included a "safety rule" of the issue - WATCH THE GAP. I'll be more careful, I promise.
Take a look at your communications pieces... how do you measure up to MTA?



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