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Marketing During the National Day of Unplugging

Could your organization continue marketing its products or services during the annual 24-hour “Digital Detox” known as The National Day of Unplugging?

Maybe the question is “Should you?” Would your efforts be effective without electronic and digital media?

This year’s event started Friday, March 7 at sundown and ended at sundown Saturday, March 8. Reboot, a non-profit organization (www.Reboot.net), is the event organizer and says The National Day of Unplugging is about getting your nose out of your phone and iPad and connecting with your friends, family, nature and yourself.

But could your organization sustain its marketing efforts in this non-digital, non-electronic environment? It’s only 24 hours, so maybe you could employ more of the “Hi-Touch” vs. “Hi-Tech” marketing techniques I often talk about — meetings, presentations, demonstrations, etc.

I decided to put myself to the test and arranged a dinner with a client and our spouses for Friday night. I told him about the Unplugged event and arranged all the details during the day. At 6 pm, my cell phone was put away.

All went well until my wife and I were sitting at the restaurant waiting for them to arrive. I really wanted to text my client and tell him we were already seated — but I resisted and they found us OK anyway. We enjoyed a great evening without ever going to the phones, and my client and I discussed two major projects. So far, so good. We went home, left the TV off and went to bed.

Saturday was less successful. I went into the office determined to do some non-digital marketing. I read a couple of trade magazines — the kind that are printed on paper. I caught up on The Business Journal and used a highlighter to note prospective clients.

But absent a trade show or another networking event, my non-digital marketing efforts were not very successful. If I had been able to use the phone, I could have been more effective. If I was a retailer, I could have done well.

It’s kind of ironic that even though it may be difficult for you or I to do much marketing during the Unplugged day, the event is a terrific marketing tool for Reboot.

A disclaimer on the Unplugged website reads: The National Day of Unplugging is a project of Reboot — a non-profit that creates vital, resonant and meaningful Jewish experiences. All Rights Reserved.

Reboot gets a big PR boost from Unplugged. And they deserve it. This event serves as a wake-up call for many. I often wonder what long-term effects our digital habits have on our culture and mental health. I can imagine people in therapy 20 years from now. They’ll describe how their self-esteem took a hit when they tried to ask their parents a question and got the “Wait a Minute” hand signal while Mom or Dad finished up a text or tweet.

Marketers can learn a lot from this event. The interactive nature of the campaign is terrific. You can download a sign that says, “I unplug to _______” (you fill in blank). You take a photo of yourself, your family or a loved one holding the sign and upload it back to the website gallery.

And we can always learn from talking directly with others. Connecting…engaging…going quiet for a few moments…and listening, watching and noting what you’ve learned.

Staying unplugged is not practical for those of us in marketing. But unplugging once in a while is good for your marketing — simply because it’s good for you.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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