The Medium is the Message

July 17, 2012

Week 6: A Move Towards Marketing

Brief Recap:

After last week’s mid-point review, it became clear that I need to really focus on marketing, especially now that the user survey is drafted, and sent out.  A quick update on that side…I have now sent out the survey to 8 people total.  At the review, there was talk of posting the survey on this blog, or sending out the survey en masse to everyone who has used the tool in order to get quantifiable data.

My ideal would be that if every one of these 8 people returns the survey within the week, I can make changes to the survey next week and then we take it from there in terms of disseminating wider.  However, if our participants are are not able to get the survey back to us this quickly, as I’m sure they are very busy.. should we think about plan B? Further thoughts on that?


Moving towards marketing… I have decided to focus on the NSF biology template (NSF-BIO).  Thanks to Perry Willet, we found out that since October 2011, the template has been used 339 times. In order to make a nice round and concrete goal, I have decided to focus on breaking 400 as my goal for the duration of this internship.   NSF’s DEB (Environmental Biology) has a dedline set for August 2, which means a huge influx of new and return users will be scrambling to get their DMPs in.  I need to come up with a message and the medium quickly!

Brainstorm yesterday yielded the following key ideas and concepts:


– I thought about what researchers and their students need out of the DMPtool:

– efficiency (time saving)
-accuracy (answering all of the questions correctly)
-clarity (in making the questions more clear, and helping to make the researcher’s answer clear)
-effectiveness (in being awarded the grant)

I decided I want to stay away from “help” or “guidelines” I feel like too much people are getting emails blasts and seeing flyers with the words “get extra help” as the main focus and I think this is not the message we want to send.

I started conceptualizing the DMPtool as the “Turbo Tax” for hte DMP… obviously we can’t use that language…but its a step-by-step, one-stop, beacon of light through the confusing forest that is the DMP…correct?


– Though emails are often piled high and then subsequently deleted… I think an email blast would be a useful device.

– Flyers (posted in biology departments for participating institutions): both virtual and physical

– Blog post…. on the DMP blog, and on my blog, DataONE blog?, ESIP Twitter feed?/blog?

– Endorsement from major organizations?  I was able to send out an email on the OBFS list-serv letting subscribers know that the tool exists… perhaps to remind them that the deadline for DEB is coming up and the DMP tool can be of assistance?

I am currently working on crafting a flyer…. to get the brain juices flowin’, let me know if you have any ideas! Will send soon!

Thanks All!





One Reply to “The Medium is the Message”

  1. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the update post. I’ve got a few minutes right now, following the unreasonably early trip back from the DataONE User’s Group meeting, so here are some comments:

    1) Since the 8 are intended to provide some initial reactions and give you a better sense of how to focus the survey, I think we’ll be fine as long as a few come in this week. Perhaps send a follow-up reminder scheduled to hit EST boxes Friday morning (easy for you to accomplish from your strategic location in Austria).
    2) Reaching 400 in BIO seems fair to me. Aside from the purely tactical strategy of increasing user numbers, remember that it’s very important to get return users, which means focus on both quantity (growth of users) and quality (content) simultaneously. I think the graphs of the distribution by template sorted by date added are instructive in the perceived community value of certain templates over others. Time to figure out how to unpack the meaning within.
    3) Message: I think you are dead on with these, particularly the observation about not just being “help”. One thing that our communication director here always reminds me is that part of the message needs to focus on what you are asking them to do and the timing. Tell them how to act on your message. In our case, the campaign for increasing NSF BIO use to 400 might be “NSF BIO proposals are due MONTH DAY, YEAR, are you ready to write your DMP? Use the DMPTool to make the right decisions now!”. That statement isn’t structured well enough to use, but hopefully you get the point. I very much like the comparison to Turbo Tax, and this is something we hear often as a compelling use.
    4) Medium: often you want many channels. You need to figure out who your target audience is for this campaign, how they seem to best engage and react to promotions, and then use those. Make a specific plan, with timelines as part of the strategy, and then execute.

    Good work. I’m around Wednesday if you’d like feedback on anything. After that, on vacation for Thurs to Sunday, then DMPTool meeting all day Monday and Tuesday AM. Let me know when you need something.


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