40 Days To Find A Bone Marrow Match For Amit Gupta

For Markerters, a Challenge: How to Reach a Target Audience to Help Save a Life

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If you're among the 25% of the marketing population (my estimate) who have not heard about Amit Gupta, let me get you up to speed: Amit is a young, South Asian entrepreneur. Three weeks ago he was diagnosed leukemia. As of today, Amit has 40 days to find a perfect bone marrow donor match.

As marketers, we often think about messaging strategy or what the best call-to-actions are for an advertisement. We face challenges such as determining how to move people down the marketing funnel from "awareness into action." Sometimes we lower our price or, we improve our product. But for Amit and others in his scenario, there is no magic marketing bullet. We can't put the product on sale. We can't use Groupon or Loopt for a group or location-based bone marrow match promotion. Our call-to-action, please tweet and swab, is very straightforward, from the heart, and needed immediately.

As part of the advertising community, we also know the benefit of reaching the right audience at the right time. That said, being the good marketers that we are, we want ask you to get involved in the campaign for Amit.

Our request is simple--we ask that you and your friends take a cotton swab test to see if you are a bone marrow match for Amit Gupta or others.

For the direct marketers in the group, you'll notice the sentence above is bold and in italics. That, of course, is another marketing technique we do in attempt to reinforce the primary "ask" of the messaging. We've also got one other marketing component to point out—target market. The audience we need to reach is the South Asian or Indian population. If you have media contacts or know any South Asian celebrities or techlebrities, your connections could help Amit get the word out.

To be crystal clear about our message and call to action, we hope you'll visit bit.ly/swabacheek right now to sign-up on line or www.amitguptaneedsyou.com to find a cotton swab event near you. Your tweets and retweets are working to spread the word. According to Peoplebrowsr, from October 1st to October 13th, stories about Amit had 4,236 mentions, 2,674 retweets and a total reach of over 13,258,947 people on twitter. Amit's original post has been Tumbld over 7,300 times. This caught the attention of bloggers, and soon enough, Amit's story was featured by the likes of Seth Godin, TechCrunch, BoingBoing, Laughingsquid, Flickr, Kottke.org, and Beth Kanter.

As is often the case with news that receives widespread interest in the social mediasphere, the story continued to move upstream. First, CNN Money ran a story, followed by SFGate.com, Ad Age , The Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

Adding to the media attention regarding Amit's story has been an incredible amount of organizing. Dozens of individuals have stepped up to organize bone marrow drives in high schools, colleges, and community centers fueled by student-run groups 100K Cheeks and organizations like DoSomething.org. As of 10/1, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) had 188,181 South Asians registered. Because of social media and your efforts, we've had 687 sign-ups online and at college events which is great. But, we have 40 days left to move more of the tweeters into swabbers. Sign ups and swabbing will save lives.

You can find a list of those drives at Amit's website. If you haven't already, we urge you to attend one of these events to get swabbed or volunteer. Or, organize a swab drive of your own. It's really that easy and The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and DKMS are dedicated to helping anyone host a drive, and the test only takes a few minutes and a Q-tip-like swab inside the cheek.

In a recent New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that , "the revolution will not be tweeted." As we've already seen in Amit's case, it isn't just a single tweet that creates massive change. It's a single tweet, followed by a few more, followed by a few thousand more, followed by some blog posts, followed by even more blog posts, followed by main stream media attention that brings the cause to the people at large. Most importantly, it is a combination of these things followed by real life action. So please, get swabbed or help Amit get the word out today. Amit's life, and the life of many others, depends on it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Porter Gale Porter Gale is former VP of Marketing at Virgin America. She is a public speaker, marketing and social media expert and contributor to AdAge and The Huffington Post. Porter is working on a stealth start-up that will hopefully launch next year. She can be reached at @portergale.
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