Relay for Life Dropped the Baton

There’s always someone putting posters, flags, signs or something along the walkways in the Quad.   I’m sure I’m not alone in having trained myself to ignore most of what goes up out there.  However, today’s display caught my attention.  It was a collection of staked posters sharing facts about various common cancers and encouraging readers to get screened (or donate to Relay for Life).  I was originally caught because they had boards about colon cancer; my father happens to be an eminent colon and rectal surgeon and I have spent many years running the front desk of his surgical clinic.  So I know a thing or two about colon cancer.  More than the average English-BA-possessing communications grad student at any rate.  Needless to say, colon cancer is not a common topic of conversation.  Less so, at least, than breast cancer or skin cancer.
Upon  closer inspection, several of these signs had calls to action; find out about risk factors, call this number; visit our website for prevention tips, etc.  Yet, none of them had any interaction points.  No QRs, no NFC.  Nada.

This was a huge opportunity to gain mobile traffic, to really hook the audience, to plant some bit of data on their device as a seed for future interaction (i.e. get them to save your website and come back later to view info or sign up for a relay.).
These tactics are particularly crucial considering the audience.  The signs are on a college campus.  Ergo, the primary audience is college students.  A majority of the students walking through the quad regularly (multiple times per day or per week) are undergrads.  Lets be honest, how many undergrads are actively concerned about their chances of getting cancer?  That’s right.  NOT MANY.  A lot of undergraduate college students (including myself, once upon a time) still haven’t fully realized that they are not immortal teenagers immune to harm, injury, and serious illness.   Information and calls to action are not going to be enough to get these people to stop and pay attention, not to mention remember and take action later on. True, there are a fair number of older students and faculty who pass through the quad and could have seen the campaign.  But we’re still talking about a very sizeable opportunity lost!  Seattle, particularly UW, generally has very high adoption rates for technology, and a simple QR campaign would have gone a long way.
By not creating interaction points on this campaign, Relay for Life virtually guaranteed that this campaign would fail.

What should they have done?
1. Mobile optimized website,
2. QRs on each poster.  Depending on the poster content, a QR would open the mobile website for that content (tips on sun safety; screening procedures for colon cancer, etc), or launch the call to action (call this number, join a relay)
3.  The mobile website would need easy ways to save for future interaction.  Maybe download some info as a document, send into to friends or social networks, create a contact.

These signs might have worked it a fair or exhibition setting, where they could be augmented by a sales person generating interaction.  Lacking that, mobile interaction should have been a top priority.

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One thought on “Relay for Life Dropped the Baton

  1. Classic case of what I call ‘Forgot Mobile.’ It’s not too late, though. Based on some of the online mobile web tools we’ve seen they could have a basic mobile site with very little cost and then print QR code stickers to put on the signs. Optionally, they could point the QR code toward the UW Relay (mobile) Facebook page.

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