One problem we have is reaching our "target market": Local computer geeks. Computer geeks are notoriously hard to find. They don't read the social calendars in newspapers, they don't go to events, they're generally introverted. So how? Being a computer geek, I started thinking about how other organizations get in touch with me. One thing that occured to me was junk mail. I get tons of paper letters asking me to buy this or that product, or to join/donate to PBS, the ACM, the IEEE, and so on. Could we use this concept?
We could send a quick letter of introduction explaining GNHLUG to businesses and other organizations likely to harbor geeks. We could just put "Attention: IT Manager" or whatever on each envelope. Sure, a lot will go in the trash, but we might reach a lot of people, too.
The hard past is getting the list of addresses. Businesses pay big money for this sort of list. A couple ideas occur to me:
We could just go through the yellow pages, looking in likely categories (tech companies), and make a list of addresses. Another idea would be to just have someone in each local area drive to their local business parks and stuff letters in mailboxes.
What do others think?
- 11 Feb 2004
I think it is a good idea, but have some reservations:
- Cost. Producing our our JunkMail is likely to run $1USD a piece with printing, labor, envelopes and stamps, even if we do it ourselves.
- Return on effort: like you, I throw away four pleas a day from worthy charities I can't afford to support. 5% return makes new members cost $20 each.
- Alternatives. are there other ways we can get in touch with our TargetAudiences? Presentations, public events, booths at places like HossTraders, ComputerShows, etc? I think the LinuxWorldBoston2005? appearance has brought a few new members in.
- 01 April 2005 (but serious, really)
My feeling is: Sure - go to it! Then you'll discover that you're lacking resources (money, time, people, ...) This is the problem with loosely formed ventures such as GNHLUG.
Another problem is what Jerry must've ran into when he was the annointed FearlessLeader. You put your blood, sweat, and tears - and a lot of money - into an effort, and everyone benefits from your work, but there's no recognition of it. So you're not likely to continue. (A counter-example: maddog - I guess he just marches to a higher drummer.)
- 01 Apr 2005
Ow. There's some bitterness here. I agree we need to be pretty frugal with our efforts here, as voluntary operations like ours will come and go. What's the history here with Jerry? Maybe this is a better conversation over a beer. Perhaps we should schedule an evil cabal, er, steering committee, meeting when we're all nearby.
More a warning than past bitterness. We need to be cognizant of the non-technical psycho-human elements of running a user group. If we can do it without burnout, then we have something that we can defensively patent and give away to like-minded organizations!
- 03 Apr 2005
Hmmmm. I was subconciously assuming the cost of actually doing the mailings would be "free" or at least "insigificant". But as people point out, that's not likely to be the case. Hmmmm. Well, ignoring the cost problem (hah!), it seems like this is an idea worth considering. But the cost problem appears to be the big one. Hmmmm.
The lack of "return" that organizers such as Bruce and Jerry get on their own "investment" is a bigger problem, and one well outside the scope of this particular topic. I think it falls back to the problem of WhatDoWeWantToBe
- 03 Apr 2005