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Becoming digital with Pain and Solution Marketing


19 February 2015 at 11:12 am
Xavier Smerdon
Humans are biologically configured to fixate on problems to ensure they don’t cause ‘pain’. If Not for Profits use digital innovation to show their audience how they can solve their problems, they can be the pain-relief, writes digital marketing expert Richenda Vermeulen.

Xavier Smerdon | 19 February 2015 at 11:12 am


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Becoming digital with Pain and Solution Marketing
19 February 2015 at 11:12 am

Humans are biologically configured to fixate on problems to ensure they don’t cause ‘pain’. If Not for Profits use digital innovation to show their audience how they can solve their problems, they can be the pain-relief, writes digital marketing expert Richenda Vermeulen.

Research shows that Australia is ranked as the world’s worst country for cyberbullying.

Last week the Alannah and Madeline Foundation released a revolutionary program to help kids become smart, safe, and responsible digital citizens by earning their eSmart Digital License.

They created a product which solves a problem and reinvents service delivery with a digital edge.

The lesson? Digitising your products and services is the way to survive in the always-on world. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the game.

Digital can make life easier; better.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation identified the problem of Australia’s dwindling cybersafety. They recognised parents and teachers were feeling ill-equipped to navigate the online social world and children’s relationship with it. The Digital License calms these fears by delivering a product that makes digital literacy easy to learn for those most vulnerable to its negative side effects.

Your organisation could be thinking about how your services can become digital. Are there ways you could be helping people online? Talking through social media channels rather than face to face? Is there an app that can marry a problem your clients face with a digital solution?

What are the problems you can solve?

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation created the eSmart Digital License after they saw how fragmented the resources for learning about online behaviour were. As a charity dedicated to keeping children safe from violence, they were the perfect fit to solve the problem.

Conduct a problem/solution audit of your audience and/or clients. What frustrates them, what are their concerns, how/where do they receive your services? Ask them questions and pay attention to their responses. They may have the digital solution already.

Watch your competitors. What problems are they promising to solve? Can you offer a better solution or is there a way you can partner for larger impact? Pinpoint what differentiates you or find other organisations and platforms to leverage – perhaps this is a corporate partner.

It’s not just being on digital, it’s being digital.

With an impressive online presence, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation have a clear commitment to content, posting regular updates across their social media channels to a strong active audience. The eSmart Digital License webpage is well-designed, incorporating engaging video content, graphics, and e-commerce functions. They have also made important partnerships with key influencers, such as Giaan Rooney and Richmond FC, who lend character and clout to the cause. But above all, they are a truly digital organisation – from the inside out.

Once your service or product comes alive, think about how you will best spread the word. We recently wrote about how you can embrace digital by planning  your content strategy in one sentence. Nurture your social media channels, your website, and your email lists by crafting high-quality, regular content. For those ready to take the extra step, think about engaging influencers.

If you are seeing uptake on your digital service, turn that into a case study to showcase your solution. This instills trust and will help onboard others – it may even help in securing grant funding to roll out your solution to the masses. It also helps you create long-lasting relationships with the supporters of your organisation – staff, clients, and donors, who are ultimately the most important asset to any organisation.

To excel in the digital world, it’s time that Australian NFPs dive head first into the problem-solving opportunities which are waiting for us online.

About the Author: Richenda Vermeulen is the Director of ntegrity, an award-winning Melbourne-based digital agency that empowers brands to become digital leaders. Prior to ntegrity, Vermeulen spent a decade in the Not for Profit sector, launching social media at World Vision Australia and World Vision USA. Get in touch at info@ntegrity.com.au.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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