Using Emotional Connections With Audiences to Create a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

At the digital  California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Virtual Conference, this fall, SGA debuted a poster for the San Bernardino County Stormwater Program’s annual Valentine Gram Canister campaign. 2020 was the second consecutive year of the Program’s campaign, where dog owner subscribers to the Program could send a free digital valentine gram to a friend that contained a link to a free dog waste bag canister. This year, the Program offered a special heart-shaped canister clip along with the canister during the month of February.

In the campaign’s first year, the Program sent out 268 free canisters. This year, the campaign saw a 51% jump to 405 canisters requested and distributed. The goal of this campaign was to get new dog owners opted into the Program in a more organic way. We wanted to get our subscribers excited about the campaign and get them to share about it with their friends, who would take their recommendations to opt into our campaign far more seriously than any of our ads. As a matter of fact, the Program does zero advertising for the campaign — just the enewsletter to its mailing list — and otherwise, it’s spread by word of mouth. As for stormwater messaging, the canisters come with a note from Spot, the Program’s mascot, that reminds its new canister owners to clip the canister to their leash and thanks them for keeping our waterways free from pet waste.

With a fun incentive and attractive campaign branding, a friendly message from dog mascot Spot, and an easy-to-follow workflow that lets subscribers send a message to their friend, the SBC Stormwater Program used a campaign to get residents excited while promoting the social norm and usage of picking up after your pet.