Making People Cry Isn't a Good Nonprofit Mobile Strategy

I write a lot about the important role emotion plays in cause marketing. If you don't lead with emotion, you're toast. I also talk a lot about mobile technology, which will be a key driver of cause marketing in the years ahead. But here's the rub: emotion and smartphones may not be a good mix.

That's my conclusion after reading a post by Mediapost's Steve Smith on research by A .K. Pradeep, founder and CEO of Nielsen NeuroFocus, on the connection between brainwave analysis and ad response. I won't repeat what Steve has done a fine job of summarizing, but I will share what I like to call his Famous Last Words - that thing we should remember after all else is forgotten.

As screen size decreases so does the viewer's emotional response to what they are watching.

Think about the implications for nonprofit marketing. You've worked hard to create a strong emotional message with your nonprofit videos but on smartphones it will fall on blind eyes.

So, if you can't make people cry on their smartphones, what should your goals be?

Get their attention. Just because you can't engage people emotionally on smartphones, that doesn't mean you can't get their attention. You might need to grab them with something totally unexpected, or emphasize another component such as audio. The background music to a video, among other things, may play a bigger role in getting and keeping a user's attention.

Timing is everything. The impact of emotional messages depends on where and when it's viewed. This makes sense to me. When I had the chance to add a QR Code on a pinup sold at the register I didn't link it to a video on my nonprofit. Who has time to watch a video when you have to lug the groceries out to the car? Instead, I linked it to a question and answer page on the program so people could quickly find out to what they just gave a buck to - a common question/complaint after shoppers donate at the register. But you might be more successful with a video if the QR Code is on a cause product that people can scan after they get home and have the time and inclination for a good cry.

Focus on tablets. Nielson's research shows that some of the emotion lost with smartphones is restored on their big brother, tablets. Nonprofits may want two mobile strategies. One for tablets, the other for smartphones. That latter may require a more practical, utilitarian approach. If sales of Apple's iPad 3 are a good indicator (3 million sold in 3 days compared to the 80 days it took the first iPad to sell 3 million units) the word mobile, at least for nonprofits, should mean tablet.

Of course, Nielsen's research isn't the final word on emotion and mobile technology. A lot depends on what emotion is being engaged .

I'd love to talk about this more, but my 9-year old just sent a video to my phone that he says will make me LMAO. Gotta go.

Better Cause Marketing with the iPad

We recently got an Apple iPad as a gift. I knew I would like it because I love my iPhone, and in many ways the iPad is really just a big iPhone. But at first it was a little bit too much like an iPhone--just one I couldn't put in my pocket.

But the more I used it more I liked it. I downloaded apps for the iPad. I also bought the keyboard dock so unlike my iPhone I wouldn't be stuck pecking away one letter at a time on the screen's keyboard.

The keyboard dock dramatically changed my experience with the iPad. I felt liberated!

It wasn't long before I started thinking how I could use the iPad for cause marketing. Here are some of the ways it's already become a helpful tool.

Blogging. The keyboard dock was an absolute must here. While I've read that some bloggers type posts right from the iPad's keyboard, this wasn't for me. Next, I needed a platform on which to type my posts. iPad wouldn't let me type them on the Wordpress web interface as I usually do. Using Apple's Pages or iWorks didn't seem the right solution as my desktop and laptop are both PC's. Ultimately I went with the Wordpress app, which is nothing fancy but it works. I still have to jump on my PC to add photos and links, but all the writing can be done on the iPad.

Meetings. This is where the iPad really shined. It's so easy to share with everyone in a room. We all know how much more difficult this is to do with a laptop, or with an iPhone, which is too small. But the iPad is a perfect size. I made it even easier to use in meetings by adding the Evernote app. I've written glowingly of Evernote as a cause marketing tool before, but the Evernote app for the iPad is impressive. Evernote has been a great way to share everything from cause marketing campaigns to videos to pinups to pictures.

And having an iPad for meetings has a coolness factor that can't be beat! Just make sure you sign up for the 3G service if you plan to go online. Don't be like me and learn the hard way that the company you're at doesn't have Wifi. Because as I learned, well, that's just not cool.

Another iPad app that's helpful in meetings is FastFinga. Instead of typing notes I can just write them with my finger, turning the iPad into a real writing pad. I can even ship these notes off to Evernote. Give Fastfinga a try.

Presentations. I share Chris Brogan's frustrations with the iPad for creating presentations. But the gorgeous Dropbox app for iPad makes viewing and sharing them with others a breeze.

The iPad truly shines in meetings when you want to share examples of cause marketing campaigns or other types of media. But I plan to stick with it for blogging posts like this one. It won't be long before Wordpress improves its app so I can write my posts start to finish (links, pic and all) on the iPad.

How do you think you might use the iPad for your fundraising?