AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerWhat Can We Learn from Bathroom Marketing?

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What Can We Learn from Bathroom Marketing?

“Hey, how come that guy didn’t have to wash his hands?” That is what my son said — circa 5-6 years old — to a very large, tough-looking gentlemen as he left the public bathroom. Believe me, we left the restroom cautiously. The message is that not everyone washes hands after going to the bathroom.


Now there are new hand-washing signs in the bathroom, and those signs started me thinking about how important it is to understand the environment where we place marketing and the customer journey people travel.

Restaurants are required to post a reminder to their employees to wash their hands prior to returning to work. It’s a great reminder, and I always appreciate the idea. So one is posted by the sink. What? This is a reminder. You have to be at the sink to be reminded, and I’m pretty sure if you are at the sink, you are going to wash your hands. The other sign (the smart marketer) is at the door. Perfect place on the journey to catch someone before they go back to work.

You must think of the journey your customer, donor, stakeholder, prospect or employee is taking before you start marketing. Otherwise, you end up with messaging that only speaks to the choir — or hand-washer in this case.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.