Category: Marketing

Life Lessons: Don’t Be A Dick

Being good is just a matter of temperament in the end.
– Iris Murdoch

I recently tried out a couple of blogger outreach services. One of them presented me with the following signup page, and signing up to the Pro plan seemed like a better option, because the “free” option wasn’t actually free to use. No-brainer, I thought, if I don’t like the service I can cancel in the first month, $20 is not such a big deal.

When a 240 dollar charge showed up on my bank statement, I was understandably disturbed. I re-checked the page and yes there is the Billed annually there but come on, font 6 shouldn’t officially count. As the service wasn’t quite what I needed anyway I immediately sent a rather cocky email to the service, asking for a cancellation and refund.

The reply didn’t take long to arrive:

I am sorry that you don’t like our price, but we don’t actually refund clients. I will make sure that your subscription is cancelled.

And cancel my service they did ie. I could not even log in to download a receipt, which of course didn’t make me happier. I contacted my bank to cancel the payment, sent out a condemning tweet and sent another email to the company, threatening them with spreading the word about that approach of yours. I heard nothing back and so I sent another bitter email. Still nothing.

After my bank told me that small print on the web is not their concern, I realised I was in the state often referred to as “fucked” in customer service speak. I had parted with my money, got nothing in return and was on my own.

A couple of days later I realised I still needed an receipt. I contacted the company again with a much more reasonable tone, having accepted defeat. The reply was quick; I got my receipt and even promised access to the service. I was pleased that someone was answering my emails again, so I decided to ask for refund one more time, politely explaining that I didn’t need the service and that this money would come from my own and not very deep pocket.

And guess what, I got a reply back that they they can make an exception to their refund policy. I felt glad, and really stupid. Why had I taken the threatening position in the first place when an honest friendly explanation did the trick? We hugged (read:apologized each other via email for mishandling the situation) and went our separate ways.

The service is Blogdash by the way – not what I needed but maybe works for you.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– Plato (or someone else. Long story )

To companies, especially startups: don’t be dicks. Not refunding people for a service they don’t need is plain wrong on one hand, and bad for business on the other. We do have this thing called social media after all.

Note to self and everyone that is a customer of something: let’s not be dicks. At the other end of the keyboard there is a human being who is most probably not the cause for the thing that annoys you. Little bit of friendliness can go a long way as I believe I’ve now proved.


I needed to cancel another service a short while later. Coincidentally, I had troubles accessing my account there, too, and my first email was without a response again. My lesson still fresh, I wrote them a second email which wasn’t bitter:

I became a paying member and now wish to cancel my account and stop all payments to you. Nothing personal, I just don’t need the service.

I can’t login with [my email address] as your system doesn’t recognise the email address for some reason.

My accountant will kill a kitten every time you take a payment from my card and I don’t have a receipt. Please close my account, stop taking money from my account and end this crime against cats. They deserve to live. Please confirm receipt of this email.

Thank you,

Andrus Purde
Kitten lover

I was answered this:

We are animal lovers here and will do whatever it takes to preserve the lives of kittens. J

As requested, your account has been removed from our database. You will not be billed anything additional.


Instant proof of concept for Achoo

So last week we publicly launched Achoo which was kindly covered by TheNextWeb and ArcticStartup. It’s a big thing for me but until we have good lessons to share, I won’t bore you with details. I’ll share just one thing that made me smile the day before the launch. Someone contacted me on LinkedIn, saying:

Hi Andrus! In Ducksboard we are big fans of sales CRM company Pipedrive emails, and I saw in Achoo that you were responsible of the copywriting. Would you be interested in a freelance position as a copywriter?

So heartwarming! Being able to track down people behind work you like was one of the main reasons we set out to create the service. And not just to hire them but to know what they’re up to, learn from them and ask questions from them. If you’ve accompished something you’re proud of, and haven’t added it to Achoo yet, you may be missing out..

Marketing reading list

I was recently invited to a Sunday guest workshop/lecture about startup marketing for DDVE Master’s students. One of the questions I was asked was good books and other resources about marketing. Here’s the list I sent over, with some later additions:

  • Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg gives a good overview of evolution of viral marketing concepts from Tupperware parties to just before the time companies like Zynga took viral concepts onto a completely new level. Apparently every new employee in the Facebook marketing teams gets to read it.
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. If you’re building anything on the web, you’ll want to read this. Perhaps not the latest thinking in UX and web design, but author makes some points that were just as valid 7 years ago than they are now.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Not really a marketing book, rather a book about the applications of psychology into marketing and selling. A useful read nevertheless.
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank. Not one for a beach holiday – and I’m speaking from the experience. A bit textbooky, but the good news is that it covers the process of customer development so thoroughly it’ll probably stick with you forever. Must read for tech startup builders/marketers.
  • Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Dharmesh is the king of inbound marketing but he only shares the very basics in this book. Great if you’re new to content marketing, a little light if you’re intermediate to advanced.
  • Clockwork Pirate (free ebook) by Kelvin Newman. The guy behing The Internet Marketing podcast has put together this short and very practical book on link building.
  • …and don’t forget the classic Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
  • All these were Amazon affiliate links by the way. If you choose to buy any of these books, I’ll use the proceeds on liquor, women and gambling, so don’t worry, this won’t result in more reading lists.

    When it comes to blogs then there are more good ones than a mortal could ever read. I try to stay on top of Conversation Marketing, SEOMOZ blog and Startup Marketing blog and count on twittersphere to bring me the rest of marketing news and trends.

    Also, I’m a big fan of podcasts because I can use my commute or otherwise “empty” time slots for consuming them. I regularly listen to Internet Marketing podcast which is practical and SEO-focused, and Six Pixels of Separation, which is a collection of interviews with authors and thinkers in the field of communication.

    Any good ones I’ve left out?

    Dilemma: gambling money vs. good causes?

    This week a UK-based link marketing agency emailed me and offered me 170 dollars for posting an ad for a gambling site. I don’t need or want to earn money from this blog, so at first I thought I’d just ignore the email. Then it dawned to me I could use this money for Kiva microloans, or just donate it to charity. But I couldn’t quite make up my mind whether this would be 100% kosher from the ethical point of view as the money is somewhat stained with an addiction that has ruined the lives of many.
    So hereby I turn to you, the four or so readers of this blog. Should I take the cambling companies money and use it for a good cause or tell them to take their money and … use it on cunning campaigns elsewhere?

    Update March 9th

    I’ve gotten some feedback face-to-face, on Facebook and here (cheers, Sepp!). And it seems I may have over-dramatized this offer. There’s little harm in having an online gaming company fund your Kiva account. So, dear /NAME REMOVED March 12th/, consider yourself linked to and thank you for letting me have a nice Kiva budget!

    Update March 12th

    The agency contacted me again and asked for the reference to the gaming company and agency to be removed as the advert that we asked you to place may come across a little negative to your readers. However, the email also said since this money is going to charity, we will still pay you the $175 as agreed. Though this partially motivated by not wanting any negative coverage by the sometimes-so-unpredictable bloggers , it’s still a somewhat kind thing to do. Kudos to the Gaming Company that wants to fund my Kiva account anonymously!

    Update March 21st

    I had removed the link and emailed my contact person in the unnamed Marketing Agency, but heard nothing back for almost a week. After my second somewhat sarcastic email last Friday I finally received 175 dollars on my PayPal account two days ago. Apparently the person making payments had been sick, silly me for starting to doubt their word [insert smileyface here]. I’ve now made my first gambling-funded Kiva loans to a micro-preneur in Mongolia and a farmer in Kyrgyzstan. To conclude:

    • I now feel a tiny bit more respect towards a certain gaming company and a certain marketing agency.
    • My blog has been useful in many ways, this was the first time the benefit had been financial. (Despite the money not going to me). If you like to write and don’t yet have a blog, you’re missing a trick.
    • Two people out there are closer to their funding goals. You too can contribute via Kiva, even without shelling out your own money when you use this link.
    • Marketing is not all bad, it seems.

    I guess all is well that ends well, especially when the events unfold in such interesting manner like they did this time.

    The one Google Plus profile I really hate

    Recently I looked at a Google Plus profile and immediately wanted to punch the owner of this profile to the throat. The problem was, it was my profile. All that’s there is a bunch of more or less promotional messages about various start-ups I am involved with. It all smelled like a guy with a shiny haircut and crap shoes on a trade fair.

    My logic at the time of posting was I’m not really using G+ that much and my friends are not there, so nothing to lose. And if someone takes action after seeing my post, it’s all gravy. There’s some sense in thinking like this but the fact is I have turned into a social media spammer. I have shat into a communally shared backyard, which to be fair I don’t use that much myself, but which is an important picnic spot for some of my online neighbours. Furthermore, as the result of this was near-zero, I had wasted my own time.

    Google Plus is full of such opportunists, as is Twitter and some of it even happens on Facebook among “friends”.

    Work wise I can’t quite ignore Google Plus but this was sobering. Not quite Saul to Paul moment, but I’ll aim to either remain a passive observer (which seems to be the most popular G+ user status anyway) or improve my shit-to-backyard to share-the-love ratio. AJ Kahn sums it up in his comprehensive post about Google Plus SEO.

    Really use Google+. Using it for the express purpose of SEO won’t be successful. Do or do not. There is no try.

    Everything I’ve learned from marketing in 10 years (5 years later)

    In the process of moving this blog from the old rusty diesel engine to the new shiny WordPress engine, old post drafts popped up like dead fish in a pond after an accident involving lots of chemicals. One was titled Everything I’ve learned about marketing in ten years. It didn’t have an ending or a beginning yet, it was just a sketchy list but surprisingly it made a bit of sense. So I dusted it off and edited it to be readable, but didn’t add or remove anything. Here goes:

  • Stand for something. A little bit better than the competition leaves everyone cold. If you have nothing to say, there’s no need to shout about it.*
  • One message at a time.*
  • When conducting market research, ask only whether the message you are sending out has been received as intended, and nothing else. The one thing you definitely shouldn’t ask your customers is “what would you like to have”. *
  • Always put 10% of your budget in risky channels and promotions ie. where they might bomb but, if successful, that generates a healthy ROI.*
  • Work for a boss that wants big change.**
  • Test where the limits that shouldn’t be crossed are, with advertising or whatever you have to play with. ***
  • None of the above tips apply if you just want to sell a bit of goods, and not do something remarkable.

    Footnotes AD 2012:

    * Fully agree to this day, I thank the year 2007 version of myselt for the reminder.
    ** 2012 addition: or be an entrepreneur that wants big change.
    *** Back in 2007 most of my marketing career had been in media or FMCG, where there’s hardly any disruption in the business itself. So it made a lot of sense to push the limits with communications, because this was all there was. With startups, you’re so much closer to disrupting businesses and business models and there’s much less of a need to do scandalous communications.

    Please help me complete the commandments of marketing. What have I missed?

    Pay a Blogger Day, a lost bet and 945 pushups

    As I’m writing this my hands are a bit aching from making 290 pushups (out of 945) which I said I would do if Pay a Blogger Day minisite doesn’t get one million unique visitors. I lost the bet, the site only got 45 thousand uniques over the first week. A shameful lost bet, but I’m doing these pushups with a victorious grin, because Pay a Blogger Day worked like a charm.

    Some background: my client Flattr provides a simple way to make small donations online, which is really handy for software developers, bloggers, charities, etc. It’s a service Dave McClure would call a vitamin rather than pain killer, in the sense that although it’s a good thing you never feel an acute need for that. There is not a single person in the world that wakes up one morning with a desire to make a small donation to his or her favourite podcaster and types “small donations service” into Google. So how do you find more users to a service like Flattr? One of the ways is to make people think (about the various people that deserve their money). Or so we thought.

    The basic idea for Pay a Blogger Day formed quickly and naturally, almost by itself. The thinking was that if we make more people to pay bloggers at least one day a year, more people would want to do it regularly, and of those, a share would want to use Flattr for that. Grow the pie kind of thing.

    So we created a minisite, prepared a video, got a few partners aboard and talked to some bloggers and journalists. So on Nov 22th Mashable wrote a piece about Pay a Blogger Day. GigaOm soon followed, as well as Telegraph and more than 50 other blogs around the world. There were lots of great quotes, like:

    While the day is obviously a great marketing ploy by the micropayments website it’s also an easy way to pay fractions on the dollar to your favorite writers.

    See them all on Storify (also embedded to the end of the post), along with many great tweets. Almost all of them mentioned Flattr too, so from purely from coverage point of view it was a (if not raging then at least growling) success.

    Flattr needed more than just PR though, so how about other metrics?

    In terms of donations we don’t know how many more donations and purchases we drove that day. Looking at anecdotal evidence it’s probably a number in thousands of euros. One blog reported receiving 70 dollars, another one 150 dollars, Jeremy added a donations button just for a day and collected even more, this beer blog got about 10 dollars, and so on. Number of flattr clicks was 10-20% bigger than on previous Tuesdays, but this figure has been known to fluctuate quite a bit. So, in terms of donations this day bought coffees to some hundreds of bloggers, but (we hope) no one quit their day job just yet.

    In terms of Flattr signups Pay a blogger day added some hundreds of users, which is less than I personally expected but it’s still a decent number.

    So in terms of hard numbers Pay a Blogger was a moderately successful campaign. However, in terms of raising awareness there are now some hundreds of thousands of more people that have given some thought to the need to pay bloggers, and that now know about the existence of Flattr. As the numbers suggest, the vast majority of these people didn’t do much ie. they didn’t pay a blogger and sign up to Flattr immediately, but a seed was planted. Not everyone is an early adopter and most people need to be reached a couple of times with a message before they start taking action. Brian Chesky of AirBnB talked about their PR stunts at LeWeb this week, and he mentioned a similar dynamic.

    Other learnings
    Lots of tweets are no silver bullet. We planned (and built in) three main traffic sources for site: tongue-in-cheek widgets people could create, tweets, and the video. Banners worked like a charm, Little Gamers alone generated more than 10000 visits to the site when they embedded the widget. But the huge amounts of tweets we got (at peak 4-5 per minute) drove relatively little traffic. According to each tweet only got us about 3.1 visitors. So in our case banner/widget real estate on a blog or website paid off better than lots of tweets and RT’s. Video had the least impact, though people really liked it. Should have added some bare skin on kittens…

    Allowing users to interact in simple ways works, be it entering URL, Twitter name or doing the FB connect. Almost 10% of people that came to the site entered a blog URL and generated the forementioned banner.

    Invest time in doing press and blogger outreach. More than 10% of blog posts and articles came from people we reached out to, including the Mashable piece which sparked about a third of coverage. So even if your campaing is interesting for bloggers and viral, it doesn’t spread itself.

    Partners buy you credibility, especially if you’re a relatively small startup. Having Posterous and some other names listed on the site or in an email to a writer from Mashable greatly helped. Also, in our case partners added info about Pay a Blogger Day to their newsletters, which generated much more traffic than their tweets or blog posts.

    All in all a great campaign, with some great learnings. Shout outs to Flattr folks for buying into the idea and getting this somewhat risky campaign out. But I guess that’s what all startups need to do, take some risks and do things that are paid attention to.

    Continue reading

    A neat viral marketing concept

    Went to a TechHub workshop about viral marketing on Thursday and liked it to the extent I wanted to write a quick post about it. Toby Beresford has developed a simple framework for viral marketing which he calls this the petal model.

    In a nutshell, there are four kinds of viral loops. First there is direct viral loop (inviting friends)  vs. indirect viral loop (eg. leaderboard that everyone sees). A Farmville example of an active loop is sending someone a tomato plant as a gift, a passive loop is coming to Farmville for the first time and seeing your friends there with nice farms.

    The other dimension is positive loop (what do I get if i return every day/week) vs negative loop (what will go wrong if I don’t come back). In farmville positive is getting a crop, and negative is when your plants dry because you haven’t watered them.

    Like petals on a flower there is no limit to how many viral loops your product or service may have. No rocket surgery here, but I thought this is a really good framework for hanging your viral loop ideas onto, and seeing whether you had missed any of the loop type for your app or campaign.

    I’m looking forward to beta testing Pailz, Toby’s new project, which should have all the differents loops covered. Especially as it’s a business app, not some Facebook game with raison d’être just to kill as many hours as humanly (or robotly?) possible.

    Learning how to make the best of customer complaints – the hard way

    Knickermail-lg.jpgWe’ve had a good number of KnickerMail orders since the launch in December. It’s hardly the next Amazon, but a healthy niche e-commerce site that makes a bit of money and puts smiles on faces of customers around the world.

    What I love most about KnickerMail is that it’s taught me more about ecommerce in a couple months that I’ve learned in the last ten years. And one of the biggest lessons has been solving customer complaints.

    Before starting KnickerMail we knew what Royal Mail could and couldn’t do in the UK but we weren’t counting on receiving the majority of orders from the US and mainland Europe. Royal Mail’s website led us to believe that the basic delivery service works almost as good as the more expensive options, so that’s what we usually opted for. Big mistake. The basic service works well about seven times out of ten and is hopelessly late rest of the time.

    This meant we’ve gotten around ten emails from worried customers. Some have just enquired about the delivery time, others have been less forgiving and have asked for a refund right away.

    How do you deal with an unhappy customer?

    I wasn’t sure. I had read books, and had spent a good couple of days working at the customer service team back at my Skype days. But I wasn’t sure what to reply when the first less than friendly emails started to arrive.

    It didn’t help that at first we weren’t sure what the problem was. Might the delivery be done on the next day? Was this related to one particular area? Are they simply not happy with the purchase and are looking for a delicate way to get their money back?

    I decided to use the mantra that Skype employed back in the day – delight the user. This meant offering a full refund straight away if the customer wasn’t happy. I figured it would take the pressure off if people knew that all they needed to do is say the word and they’d have all their money back. And I thought this would open them up to wait a little and, if worse came to worst, accept a new delivery instead of refund (which was better from our perspective – selling with lower margins vs. not selling anything at all).

    Naturally, I also wanted to apologise straight away and answer as quickly as humanly possible. Apparently that’s the best thing you can do with an unhappy customer, as I vaguely recalled from some book or article. This sometimes meant typing emails to people in the US at 2AM from my phone in a mildly intoxicated state. The emails went something like this:

    Hi name,

    Really sorry to hear the recipient hasn’t received the package yet. The delivery time to US is usually around a week but we’ve learned that it can take up to two weeks to for KnickerMail to arrive to the US. I’ve updated the information on our site but I know this doesn’t help you much right now.

    If KnickerMail doesn’t arrive in a couple of days please do let me know and I’ll either get you a full refund or send you a new package with the most expensive courier service out there. Really hope this didn’t dampen any plans!

    Andrus I KnickerMail

    Did it work?

    Absolutely. Only one of the ten or so people that had contacted us have asked us for a refund (and immediately gotten it). And with many of the people I’ve developed a friendly email exchange where we’re both looking for ways to get KnickerMail to the lucky recipient. And in the end we’ve received emails like:

    Thanks again for this example of good customer service. I’ll be sure to recommend your service to others.


    I want to thank you for your customer service and timely response and effort, it says a lot about the people behind the product and I do intend to use it again and spread the word.

    I don’t really see the need for a refund, so hope I can come back to you for your offer of a next time free order as soon as you have new models available.

    Heartwarming to get emails like this from people you’ve kind of let down.

    PS. We’ve added a section with pessimistic delivery times to the site and are using premium postage services now. Perhaps the best way of dealing with a problem is eliminating it in the first place.

    How to market your startup at SXSW


    SXSW Interactive is a super-sized festival for technology enthusiasts, early adopters, influencers, visionaries and web innovators, or ‘spring break for geeks’ in other words. Among other things it’s an ideal platform for marketing for startups as a large part of their target audience is handily in one place. It is this Austin event where Twitter and Foursquare got serious wind in their sails. The challenge is that there are almost as many startups marketing as there are participants, so a bit of planning is in order. Here are my two cents on how to make the most of SXSW as a marketer after my first gig there.

    In a nutshell, SXSW is a collection of panels, random or nor-so-random chats, and entertainment. So there’s your formula for a successful SXSW promotion – panels, parties and people.

    Get on a panel

    By far the best way to get the word out there is being on a panel. Thousands of people will look at the description and speakers, tens or hundreds will be there in person, you can invite your partners and followers (and hand them out some swag) and can get your community involved before the event – even if they’re not present at SXSW.

    The good thing with SXSW is that you have a straightforward way of getting onto the schedule. Any- and everyone can submit their ideas, and the festival’s panel picker has a 30% influence in separating the wheat from the chaff (SXSW staff is 30% and experts decide the rest). This presentation has more background on which kinds of topics are submitted and picked. Hint: apparently the design topics are underserved.

    I asked the good people doing the said presentation what were some of the common mistakes that people submitting their ideas make. Their advice was blindingly obvious:
    – Specialise your content ie. don’t submit a generic or obviously self-promotional idea.
    – Avoid a ‘funny’ headline for the submission, it’s substance over form at this stage.
    – Take time to write well and make sure to avoid typos.

    Throw a party

    Of course, not everyone can get on a panel. Another good cornerstone for your SXSW marketing is throwing a party, or sponsoring one. Larry Chiang is the crowned king of throwing parties for the tech crowd, very much unlike yours truly, so take his words.

    My educated guess is that parties work best if you’re well-networked and/or you your startup is already burning hot. If you don’t tick either of these boxes, it’s down to the third marketing cornerstone – the hustle.

    Try Hustle A or Hustle B

    There’s two kinds of hustling. One is when you know exactly who to talk to and make your way to these people via networking, rounds of drinks, clever use of social media and such. The more you prepare the more you’ll get out of SXSW. At the very minimum let everyone know about your SXSW plans and keep an eye on Plancast and Twitter updates of people you’d like to meet. Do that, follow Colette Ballou’s evergreen networking tips and you’ll do fine.

    The only thing I would add is: don’t be a human logo. If you wear a colourful branded T-shirt, you kind of stand out but perhaps not in a good way. There’s a trade show at SXSW, you may come across as someone that has escaped from handing out pins in the booth, not the respected co-founder of the next Facebook.

    The other kind of hustling is when you just want to get the word out there without spending an arm or a leg of your startup aka guerilla marketing. There’s a ton of it SXSW, some good and some really bad. My advice is straightforward

    Keep your promotion related to the product. Example: Squarespace was giving out free meals a block from the convention centre with an enormous banner next to it. The banner didn’t talk much about creating websites, neither did the cardboard flyers they handed out to people in the queue. I know what Squarespace does but I’m sure the company doesn’t have a 100% awareness even with the SXSW crowd. For someone lured in just with the promise of free junk food it’s too easy to forget what the product behind it was.
    Simply showing your logo is not enough. GroupedIn had plastered their logo all over Austin but I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one who just couldn’t bother to check out what the company actually does.
    Random handing out swag like T-shirts is as effective as always. Not very effective, that is. The real influencers have their swag bags filled already, and only relatively random people will stop.
    – A side-note on T-shirts – if you do decide to hand them out, for instance to people coming to hear your panel, then keep in mind it’s not the real America. I made the mistake of trying to be clever and ordering more XL T-shirts to be handed out, only to find out that the crowd is more European sized than the Europeans. Bring lots and lots of M-size shirts.
    Stickers and posters get overstickered and overpostered (two new words!). Relying on impromptu poster, flyer and sticker distribution can work as a support whatever else you are doing, but doing this alone won’t get you too far as there is too much noise. Every available space gets more than three layers of posters and stickers on it every day.
    No babes handing out swag. A couple of startups tried that on street corners, somehow felt very our of place at a festival about innovation.

    There is also a fourth way promote yourself at SXSW, which is to rise at the level of creativity (and budgets) of AOL and Microsoft marketers and become an official sponsor, and/or have a booth at the trade show. I’ll not cover this here, there are much more reputable blogs and books for that.

    Additional reading:
    Quore: What have been the best and worst promotional investments for startups at SXSW 2011?
    How to promote your startup for free at SXSW

    Hope this was helpful, and happy to answer any questions regarding promoting at SXSW, just comment below or email.

    Flattr at SXSW

    I was at SXSW with Flattr, the social micropayments service. My brief, which I received a whole two weeks before the event was to think of ways to leverage Flattr’s panel presence at the festival. I recommended the classic “Educate, leave breadcrumbs, save the world, amuse — and then fix if it doesn’t work” – strategy.

    I’m pleased to say this worked rather well.

    The focus was on demonstrating the product through amusing. Flattr is sometimes described as the tip jar for the internet. And a couple of months ago the company launched Flattr Offline, which makes any real-live object flattrable. I wanted to put the two things together, so we hired a couple of street artists that did their thing and had Flattr posters instead of hats.

    The results? Flattr accounts of artists kickstarted, hundreds of visits to their mobile Flattr pages, thousands of south-byers seeing the performers and banners and many more learning about Flattr at SXSW from blog posts and tweets:
    Guardian’s Jemima Kiss
    BBC News (scroll to 3.32)
    Tweet example

    Screen%20shot%202011-03-29%20at%2001.46.10.pngThe T-shirts we printed were not given out randomly but handed to people that came to listen to the Flattr panel. The shirts featured a QR-code which, if scanned with a smartphone (do not try this at home or at a non-geek conference, at least not for another 1-2 years), took people to mobile-optimised Flattr pages of known charities. Close to the product, yet not over-promotional, wouldn’t you agree?

    The breadcrumbs bit ie. plastering stickers with mysterious charity QR codes was something we prepared for but didn’t end up doing too much, after we saw how fast they are covered with a new layer of fellow stickers. But owing mostly to luck, and in small part to the ingenious idea behind the stickers, Guardian used it as the main illustration for their long SXSW piece. A nice cherry on top.