Many have heard about Girl Scout Wild Freeborn. Her father tried to aid her lofty goal of selling 12,000 boxes of the organization’s famous cookies, by creating a YouTube ad and an online order form. The scheme was successful–until Girl Scouts of the USA forced the little Brownie to shutter her Internet campaign, saying it went against Scouts rules. But the real story is, why have such a ban when current technology and best practices ensure both safety and big revenue?

I definitely understand the group’s concerns. As spokeswoman Denise Pesich said, “We want to make sure that whatever the girl is doing is integrated into the program that she\’s studying, we want to make sure we are in the development stages of a technological platform that will integrate it and be fair and equitable for all girls. But more importantly, it\’s girl safety at its core.\”

However, everything Ms. Pesich noted absolutely can be achieved in a digital marketing campaign, as long as best practices and the right technology platform are used. Here’s how:

  • Create an online form in which the customer has to input his or her contact information, including email address and perhaps cell phone number, as well as order information such as what kind of cookies and how many boxes. The form should be sent to a database for cookie campaigns. In this fashion, no personal contact information for any girl or troupe is ever given out.
  • To make sure that sales are attributed fairly, the orders can be sorted via zip code or city that the purchaser inputs. Thus, each sale would be credited to the scout troop that is local to the buyer.
  • If revenue is supposed to go toward a specific program for a certain troupe or individual scout, then instead of having a generic online form for the entire Girl Scout organization, the Scouts’ website should first ask a potential buyer where he/she resides. Then the buyer should be served up a form that was created for the troupe closest to his/her location. This way the form would earmark that order for that particular troupe’s coffers.
  • Have a messaging system in place that, once the cookies have come in, will notify customers that their orders are ready, via email or SMS (whatever method the customer chooses). This message can also specify the time and place where they can pick up their goodies, perhaps in front of a local supermarket or another public place. Since the orders are sorted by locale, it will be easy to give each consumer the proper pick-up location–outgoing messages too can be sorted according to zip code or city. Troupe leaders and parents can hand out the boxes along with, or instead of, the girls themselves.
  • The Scouts can save customers’ contact information and, come next cookie season, can send out an email or SMS message asking if they’d like to pre-order their Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

The preceding can be used for both pre-orders (the traditional method of hitting up friends and neighbors and asking them to order what they want) as well as for the buy-in-bulk method (in which troupes buy loads of boxes and then sell them at public places). As a consumer who doesn’t personally know any scouts, I’d love the latter–that way I don’t have to worry about driving around supermarkets and shopping centers trying to find a cookie table.

Meanwhile, I think Wild’s dad was on the right track with the online video commercial. After all, 700 boxes were sold before it was yanked! Such an ad could be created by an entire troupe; this would make a great project, as would creating the order form. And if using the right platform, the advert could be distributed to the top video upload sites with the same technology that handles the online sales form and order notification messages.

Too bad this isn’t happening already. I’ve got a hankering for Samoas and Lemon Chalet Cremes!

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”