Frogonomics – by Daniel Francès

Daniel Francés

I am not a tree-hugger, a conservationist, or a dirty hippie, even though the folks who are, always throw the best parties.  I am a big fan of solid sales and marketing strategy, and as soon as I saw this marketing video (thanks to my many dirty hippie friends who were circulating it) I nearly flipped my lid with excitement.  Although my personal goals do not include saving the rainforest (although perhaps they should) there are many of my generation to whom this is an ever-present, nagging, guilt-inducing issue they feel impotent to influence or solve.  The Rainforest Alliance recognizes this population as their key target market, and capitalizes on it.  Tree-huggers they may be, but clearly marketing geniuses as well.

Know. Your. Audience.  It cannot be put any simpler than that.  If you don’t know exactly who they are, how they think, what their problems are and how they attempt to go about solving them, how could you possibly sell effectively to them?

When I lived in NYC back in 2000, and was still learning the difference between marketing and sales, and trying to figure out where I fit in that cosmos, someone at a conference asked me where I lived.  I thought she was making smalltalk (maybe flirting? One can always hope) and I answered honestly that my apartment was on 93rd between 1st and 2nd Avenues.  She didn’t even blink and said to me: “Your household income is $75K-$95K yearly, you shop at the Gap, you eat sushi out at least twice monthly, and you’re a member of either 24 Hour Fitness or Gold’s Gym, but you don’t go very often and you feel guilty about it.”  I was dumbfounded.  Was she my stalker?  How did she know so much about who I was, how I spent money and what my habits were simply based on my address?  After further exploration, I discovered that she was a market researcher, and apparently at the time, it was easy to file someone in a tiny little “product purchasing box” based on their Manhattan neighborhood.  She needed the “sum someone up quickly in terms of their ability or interest to spend and on what types of products” skill to excel at her job, and excel she did.  I also got a date out of the deal (sushi, of course) but that’s another blog entirely.

Knowing your audience is one of the most important ingredients of selling successfully. First of all, don’t you want to sell to those who need or want your product?  Why waste your time prospecting those who have no interest?  Responsible and professional selling means presenting your quality product to those who will genuinely benefit from its use.  The Rainforest Alliance did their homework.  They know that out of all those who are either passionate about or give a second thought to preservation of the rainforest (their product), they need involvement and commitment (a sale) from the specific part of that audience who can be motivated to and are financially able to act (qualified lead).  Not to cheapen the rainforest, but a product is a product, and a market is a market.  Appealing to Gen X-ers to open their wallets in support of tree-hugging causes is strikingly similar to targeting middle-aged CTO’s at mid-sized firms to consider switching CRM applications.  Yes, we’re talking B2B vs. B2C and nonprofit vs. for profit, but what it all boils down to is getting an individual to pull the trigger on a purchase.  Knowing your audience is that crucial step in learning how to most effectively approach your prospective client.

The Follow the Frog campaign addresses that very specific slice of the greater population that best suits The Rainforest Alliance’s needs.  The audience they are targeting probably lived on the Upper East Side alongside me in 1998.  They grew up being educated in American suburban public schools about the perils of overpopulation, pollution and drug use the same way today’s school youth know all about gluten allergies and evil carbohydrates.  Their target is the Just Say No generation, and guilt in that crowd has been cultivated just effectively enough to place them in the perfect position to be motivated to donate, when the right tactics are selected and mobilized.  The Rainforest Alliance knows that this group is married with small kids and fighting the exhaustion/house payment/keep your marriage alive daily grind.  That leaves very little time or attention to solve the world rainforest depletion problem, so it gets put on the back burner.  This group needs a relatively low-hassle opportunity to feel a longed-for sense of efficacy, and they need to be able to feel it (to combat the guilt) without expending too much energy or money (again, exhausted with small kids trying to pay the mortgage.)  The campaign identifies its market, tells it what to do and enables it to act.  Brilliant.  I don’t mind learning from tree-huggers when the proverbial shoe fits.  I suppose, in this case, the shoe better be faux leather.


Daniel Francès, author of The Cold Call Bible and experienced Cold Calling Trainer, was born with sales running through his veins. While other boys daydreamed of becoming firemen or famous soccer players, Daniel knew instinctively from the age of seven that he aspired to sell. Beginning his career in New York, he became first acquainted with the phenomenon of cold calling and was intrigued and inspired. He immediately internalized this form of marketing as second nature.  After studying, fine tuning and practicing his craft, Daniel became a master of the Cold Call. In 2010, obsessed with training others to master the Cold Call, he established The Cold Call Company dedicated to the art of cold calling. He now custom designs and delivers corporate cold-calling training programs and is an adviser on how to gain new business using cold calling.


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