Best 2020 Reads for College Students

A Mind for Numbers

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know

Are sitcoms teaching us the wrong lessons about how to talk to strangers? How did Bernie Madoff fool so many people? And what happens when things go wrong on college campuses? In “Talking to Strangers,” Malcolm Gladwell asks why our first impressions can lead us down dangerous paths. By examining how we talk to strangers, Gladwell looks at the misunderstandings and conflicts that shape our lives.

Portrait of Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. After earning her doctorate in early modern European history, Carlton worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she developed new courses on the history of science, Renaissance Italy, and the witch trials. Carlton has published five peer-reviewed articles in top presses and a monograph with the University of Chicago Press. She also earned tenure with a unanimous vote before relocating to Seattle. Learn more about Carlton’s work at

Essential Books for Students

I’m big into reading, and since you’re on this page, I’m guessing you like reading at least a little bit as well. This page is an ongoing log of books I find to be awesome or useful.

Yep, I put my own book on the list. There might be a bit of hubris involved here, but I’m extremely proud of how this book turned out. Initially, I set out to write a book on how to study efficiently, defeat procrastination, and stay organized – as I wrote, the project became much grander. The final product is a 100+ page book covering 10 different topics that factor into your grades. In addition to the topics I already mentioned, you’ll learn how to read textbooks effectively, take better notes, write great papers, eliminate distractions, and more Also, it’s completely free.

10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less)

If you’re going to college – especially in the U.S. – you need to read this book. I may have graduated with no debt, but the average college graduate these days is coming out of school with around $30,000 of it. Having that amount of debt will limit your options when it comes to jobs, where you can live, etc. This is not how it should be. This is not how it has to be. Debt-Free U will show you how you can go to college and avoid debt – even if your family isn’t loaded.

Debt-Free U

I love this book like a son. Ok, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic – I’m not cooking dinner for it if it suddenly becomes sentient and tells me it’s hungry. But still – this book is absolutely amazing and I’d consider it essential reading for anyone who falls under the category of “human”. As it turns out, habits shape much more of our behavior than we realize. The habits we do have largely determine the progress (either good or bad) we make in life. Luckily, the way habits are formed can be understood – which means they can be changed – and The Power of Habit is the best overview of how habits work that I’ve ever read.

The Power of Habit

Nick Winter is a crazy dude who did a 120-hour workweek, built two successful startups, learned to throw knives, and pledged $7,290 in order to force himself to write this book (and jump out of an airplane). He doesn’t really subscribe to the whole, “willpower is a limited resource” ideal – instead, he looks for ways to summon massive amounts of motivation so he can achieve anything. This book is an account of his quest to achieve several crazy goals in a very short amount of time, and it also details his methods for hacking motivation.

The Motivation Hacker

It’s over 15 years old now, but Cal Newport’s How to Win at College is still one of the best primers for college success I’ve ever read – especially when it comes to things beyond your grades. It’s a short read (I read it in about four hours), split into 75 “tips” that each take up 1-4 pages. I read this book as a freshman, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I was so focused on success in college; the book provides a great foundation for becoming a remarkable student and doesn’t weigh you down with idle words.

How to Win at College

Whereas How to Win at College is a general, tip-based overview on ways you can become successful in college, this book gets its hands dirty by giving you an in-depth, well thought out method for pulling epic grades in all of your classes. The book is based around that fact that there are many college students who get straight A’s, yet don’t study for more than a couple hours a day and still have plenty of other things going on in their lives. It lays out effective strategies for note-taking, quizzing yourself, writing papers, and more. If you want to be like one of the aforementioned students, get this book.

How to Become a Straight-A Student

I listened to this book during a six-hour drive to a friend’s hometown a few years ago, and I honestly think it changed my life. The habits Covey describes here seem obvious at first, but you’ll probably notice that you aren’t following all of them. I know I wasn’t. Take Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – how many of us actually do that? Before reading this book, I would always think very selfishly in my conversations. Whenever I’d listen to someone else speak, I’d listen – but I’d also be actively formulating my (usually self-serving) response and looking for the perfect moment to throw it in.

“The Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome’s occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.

“This I Believe: Life Lessons” edited by Dan Gediman, John Gregors, and Mary Jo Gediman

Based on the NPR series of the same name, “This I Believe” features eighty Americans ― from the famous to the unknown ― completing the thought that the book’s title begins. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others.

The result is a stirring and provocative trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs ― and the incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them ― reveal the American spirit at its best.

Julia is the education and personal development editor on the Insider Reviews team. Since October 2020, she’s written about a popular Harvard persuasive writing course, a free UPenn course that explains the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, and a bestselling self-help book seen all over Twitter. She’s also organized and edited a series on how to get unstuck during the pandemic as well as what to do when you get rejected from grad, medical, or law school. Through her work as a sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan and BuzzFeed, as well as a freelance lifestyle reporter, Julia learned that she loves interviewing experts and putting together stories that inspire people to make small yet effective changes in their lives. Julia is passionate about accessible, affordable education and is living proof that e-learning has the potential to make career transitions more attainable: During quarantine, she completed a five-month Coursera MasterTrack certificate program in Instructional Design from the University of Illinois while starting her role at Insider. You can say hi to Julia at [email protected] or shoot her a DM on Twitter or Instagram (she is @jaypugz on both). Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we review educational and personal development products.

Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]


Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers

The Baby Boomer Generation

From now until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers each day will hit retirement age. Millions will begin to officially retire, collect social security checks and go on Medicare. Other Boomers will keep on working either out of financial necessity or out of some less tangible need like identity and self-worth.

In the several decades prior to the Boom, babies in the U.S. were born at a rate of about 2.5 million a year. Then in 1946, this rate exploded to 3.4 million and maintained this pace for the next few decades. The peak years were 1957 and 1961 with 4.3 million births a year. In all, these years produced about 76 million Baby Boomers. The official retirement age to receive a Social Security check is 62. At 65, you’ll automatically receive Medicare which covers basic health care at 80%. If you wait to retire until you’re 67, your benefit will be about 30% higher than at 62. Wait another three years to retire and you could receive a 75% bigger check. It certainly pays to wait.

Are you a Baby Boomer or do you have a loved one that is? This generation was one of the largest in American history, and it is perhaps one of the most important right now when it comes to senior living. This group of people has very unique personalities, and their life histories are vastly different than today’s younger generation. Here’s a closer look at who they are and what they stand for.

The Baby Boom

The “baby boom” period defined and gave people born in this generation the name “baby boomers.” The baby boom phenomenon in the United States was a sharp rise in birth rates soon after World War II, beginning in 1946 where a record was broken for the highest ever number of births in a calendar year in U.S. history. Around 3.4 million births were recorded during the year.

The trend was only beginning, as higher births continued to be recorded until 1964. Between three million to four million births were recorded annually during the period. The U.S. baby-boom population was about 72.5 million in 1964 and peaked at 78.5 million in 1999 by including immigrants to the U.S. born in the same period. It was the largest generational cohort before being overtaken by millennials.

Baby Boom - US Fertility Rate 1940-1975

  • Soldiers returning from the war came back home with a zeal to start families and raise children after holding off on marriage until after the war.
  • The improved economic position of the United States soon after the war encouraged raising more children.
  • The U.S. government encouraged the growth of families after the war.
  • The effects of the war and the Great Depression had started to subside such that people were more hopeful and optimistic of a better future for their families.
  • Popular culture, which was gaining significance after the war, glorified marriage, pregnancy, and parenthood.
  • The passing of the G.I. Bill of Rights by the U.S. Congress gave American veterans economic and educational opportunities, which supported them in pursuing higher education and homeownership at very low interest rates on loans.
  • Soon after the war, the increased safety with childbirths was also a credible cause, as the average marriage age of women decreased from 22 to 20.
  • The high urbanization rate and the low cost of living in the city and suburbs encouraged starting families after moving to these areas.
  • The availability of credit spurred borrowing and enabled support for large families.

Boomer Favorites

Clearly, Late Boomers are a complex species. I called another person with a December 31, 1964, birthday — Shannon Borg, a poet, author and wine writer living in the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle. “I grew up as the youngest boomer,” she writes, “in a house full of them.” (Being a writer, she prefers to answer via email.) According to Shannon, boomers “took much of the promise of post-WWII Earth and frittered it away around the world.” But she also credits them for making “a totally new paradigm for what it is to be an American.”

Baby boom — good or evil? Shannon won’t play that game; she resists my efforts to pin down her generational allegiances: “What polarizes us is the labeling and categorizing into increasingly small boxes. Us against them. Right versus left. This generation versus that. It makes good journalism, but bad politics.”

My next call was to a man in the Midwest, born at 11:29 p.m. on that December 31. I’ll call him Max. He didn’t want his name used, and can’t fathom why I’m doing a story on the Last Boomers. “I don’t think it has much meaning.” I press him. “People my age don’t think about it much.” Didn’t the baby boom have any impact? He allows that he remembers a little of the “feeling of the ’60s.” Which was? “Anything goes.” Max went into the military.

In the late 1960s, there was indeed a short period of anything goes. Then everything went. Now it’s the Republicans who remember Woodstock. And yet, the world is inarguably a very different place from what it was when the Greatest Generation ran it, and the Last Boomers are part of that transformation — even if they prefer not to admit it.

Finally, I reached out to a man who has a strong claim to being the very last Last Boomer. He was born minutes before midnight in America’s westernmost time zone. But all attempts to contact him — by phone, email and social media — were met with gnomic silence.

So I stalked him on Facebook. I’ll call him Ace, after Ace Frehley, ex-guitarist in Kiss. This Ace is a heavy metal drummer, and Kiss is his favorite band. I found an album recorded by our Ace’s band in the late 1990s. It was weightily heavy and metallically metal. But Ace’s Facebook presence is modest — tributes to other bands, snapshots from his relationship with an attractive woman, pictures of cats.

A lover of loud music leading a quiet and kitty-filled life, a performer in an exhibitionist genre who skips an opportunity to exhibit himself — perhaps Ace, whoever he is, embodies the contradictions of the Last Boomers. They’re like the quiet youngest child in a big family of loudmouth older siblings. They grew up in the baby boom universe and take it for granted. They may not know that there was ever another cosmos.

No Going Back

Now imagine dropping a Last Boomer into the Greatest Generation galaxy, the one those big siblings saw. Where it’s considered innately hilarious on TV to be black (The Amos ‘n Andy Show) or gay (Percy Dovetonsils on The Ernie Kovacs Show) or a woman who doesn’t want to stay home (I Love Lucy). Where Masters and Johnson just discovered sex, cigarettes are aerobic and spanking is sanctioned at home, school and — if patting secretary derrieres counts — office. It was a veritable hellscape of inappropriate behavior and wrongheaded social norms. And the older boomers destroyed it utterly.

Let’s look at one more Last Boomer. Barack Obama, born on August 4, 1961, is among the “first of the last.” He had fun, then got serious. He had ideals and — agree with the ideals or not — still has them. He works steadily and (for a politician) quietly to achieve his goals, unlike some older boomers (me) who preferred to just make idealistic noise. He’s got that boomer charisma, but he’s a little aloof. It’s very hard to imagine him at Woodstock. But I bet he at least knows what it was.


How to Continuously Learn About Yourself & the World

How to Continuously Learn About Yourself & the World

To thrive in this 21st-century era of change, it’s in our best interest to try to adopt a growth mindset: the belief that our intelligence is not innate, or fixed. It is something we have control over if we exert a bit of tenacity.

What are the first words that come to your mind when you see a small child at work or at play? Curious. Enthusiastic. Joyful. Exploring. Persistent. Confident. They don’t generally worry too much about failure or what others think.

They focus on trying to figure things out. They’re in a state of constant observation. When they get upset or hurt, it’s not forever. Sooner or later, they move on to the next thing. They may cry, but before long, they’re back at it.

They forget minor hurts and can’t be held back from learning and exploring again. When my four-year-old goes off to school in the mornings, we try to make sure she is clean, well-combed, and neatly dressed.

However, she rarely stays that way. Her hair gets messy; she gets paint on her clothes or dirt under her fingernails. She gets skinned knees more often than not. That doesn’t stop her.

People who have what we want – people we admire – almost always have an attitude of self-awareness, of wanting to improve and continually learn. They’re rarely perfect. Strive to let curiosity guide you in all situations.

When we feel anxious or afraid of new situations, our senses tend to go inward and close up. Instead, try to open up and take a minute to notice all the details around you. Be confident that your curiosity is helping you grow in ways you may not even see yet.

What Don’t You Like?

We often try – or pretend – to like things that we don’t actually enjoy in order to fit in with other people. By trying to bend yourself into a mold, you’re going to end up feeling unhappy and untrue to yourself, which is no fun at all!

Rather than forcing yourself into situations that you know you won’t enjoy, learn to speak up when you don’t like something. This is a big part of your personality, so there is no shame in saying no to certain events that you already know you won’t like.

Become comfortable and confident in what you enjoy as well as what you don’t enjoy, and accept that some things just aren’t for you. It doesn’t make you less likeable or less fun to be around just because you don’t enjoy everything!

Be rational and realize that everyone has something that they don’t like eating or doing or talking about. It’s perfectly natural to have dislikes, and learning what they are helps you shape your life around what you do like. By distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (for you, at least), you learn about yourself and how to truly nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

Have you thought about making a list of things you don’t like – this isn’t as negative as it sounds and can actually help reaffirm your own personality to yourself. Rather than trying to be someone you’re not, learn to be okay with who you are, dislikes and all.

What Matters To You?

We all have a set of beliefs and values that are instilled in us by our parents or carers, our schools, and our friends. As we grow up, it can be very easy to stick with these values by default and never really consider whether or not you still believe in them.

Getting to know yourself doesn’t necessarily mean accepting everything that you think you believe. Learn to challenge your own opinions, especially those that have passively entered your life through your upbringing.

Many of us have a set of values that have been heavily influenced by our childhood and which may no longer be relevant to us. Think about what actually matters to you and check that your perceived values are still relevant to how you live your life now, as an adult.

As a child, you may have thought you wanted to get married and have children, but that may now feel like a pressure looming over you as an adult. If that’s still what you want from life, go for it! If not, learn to reshape your values to fit around who you are now, not who you were then. You may want to focus on your career and not have children, so stop letting your teenage priorities hang over you.

Subconsciously, these past values that now clash with your current beliefs may be making you feel inadequate, so banish them from your mind. Find new values that fit in with your life now and work out what really matters to you.

Continue the Self-Education Loop

Once you’ve gone through the process of designing your sandbox, researching how to improve your skill, applying that knowledge to purposeful practice within your sandbox, and getting feedback on your work as you’re going, you simply repeat the process to continue developing your skill.

When you reach a learning goal, or feel like you’ve become comfortable with an aspect of the skill, you have to go back to the research phase to assess what else you need to learn, adjust your sandbox to allow you to learn that skill effectively, then purposefully practice it and solicit feedback to keep pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.

This creates the self-education loop. A perpetual cycle of constant learning and improvement, where you never have to stop improving your abilities or stagnate at a learning plateau:


Marketing campaign

To get your content to rank on a search engine, you need to optimize elements like titles, metadata, and keywords. Your domain authority, page load speed, and other factors will also impact your search engine rankings.

James Clear Email Marketing Plan Example

9 Types Of Marketing Campaigns

However, some campaigns can be consolidated underneath larger marketing campaigns. Aspects of a direct mail marketing campaign might fit under the umbrella of an acquisition marketing campaign or brand development campaign, for example.

dropbox referral campaign

Keep in mind that acquisition campaigns are less about profit and more about acquiring subscribers and buyers. While that might appear counterintuitive at first glance, know that the goal isn’t ROI (return on investment).

You may or may not lose advertising money during lead and customer acquisition. If you don’t profit upfront, then the goal is to generate profit further down the funnel. This is a different activity than monetization.

Social Media Marketing Campaign

Craft your plan: Start by analyzing your existing social media accounts and followers. Get your team in place and assign roles so that promotion, design and messaging responsibilities don’t overlap during the campaign. Set your budget.

Analyze the results: This is more easily done if you carefully selected your goals in step #2 above. Evaluate how well the social media campaign performed in terms of engagement metrics, customer lifetime value and new sales numbers.

Starbucks #WhatsYourName Social Media Campaign Example

In early 2020, a Starbucks campaign that supported gender-diverse and transgender youth used YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that was based on the well-known custom of writing your name on your cup while visiting their stores.

2. Rebranding campaign

Either way, launching a rebranding campaign needs to be about more than a font change. It needs to be a full-fledged effort to modernize a product or show your customers that you are slowly moving towards something different.

Example: Kellogg

The campaign’s goal was simple: to bring a clean, fresh, modern look to their cereal packages to meet the aesthetics of the European market. Before the rebranding, Kellogg announced its campaign goal to have new artwork that “reflects the naturalness of the food and the heritage of the Kellogg story.”

The rebranding was a success. After the marketing campaign, Kellogg found that 70% of customers found it easier to locate their cereals in a store, and that the branding change boosted their "purchase intent" by 50%.

13. Influencer marketing campaign

Instead of asking your customers to refer your product to their family and friends, you engage a popular social media influencer or blog writer to recommend your product. If the campaign is successful, you can potentially introduce your brand to thousands (or millions) of new people.

Example: Chase/US Open

To give viewers a more intimate experience, Chase partnered with one of the most popular men’s tennis players at the time, Andy Roddick. The influencer campaign was simple: Roddick had a huge fan base, and he would engage them (and others) by watching games, commentating live, and hosting Q&A sessions with fans. Roddick tagged Chase in his posts, increasing exposure for the brand.

Learn how to run an inbound marketing campaign.

Fill out the form to get your guide.

I’ve organized this section as a marketing campaign template. All you need to do is answer the questions — as accurately and in-depth as possible — to ensure a thorough, successful approach to your next marketing campaign.

Planning Your Marketing Campaign

1. Set a purpose and goal for your campaign.

2. Establish how you’ll measure your campaign.

Lastly, let’s think about another question: What does "success" look like for your company? Sure, it’s exciting to reach a predetermined goal, but that’s not always possible. What (outside of your goal) would constitute success for you (or serve as a milestone)?

Pro Tip: When determining how you’ll measure your campaign, consider setting up some checkpoints along the way. If your campaign involves boosting brand awareness and your goal is to reach 50 PR mentions by the end of the year, set up some benchmark notifications at 10, 25, and 40 mentions.

3. Define your target audience.

The first step to resolving this problem is figuring out what stage of the buyer’s journey your campaign is targeting. Are you trying to bring in new customers, or attempting to gather feedback from existing clients?

Your marketing message will vary depending on whether your campaign audience is in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage. Even though your campaign may reach those outside of your target audience, it’s vital that you design your campaign with a specific target in min you know who it’s meant for.

Pro Tip: To uncover more about your target audience, survey your existing customers as well as potential customers in your market. Then, use this data to create your buyer personas — you can even enter that data into a free buyer persona generator like the one below.

4. Set a concept for your campaign and get in contact with the right team.

Marketing campaigns require a mission, vision, and visual identity. Great campaigns are an offshoot of their parent brand, both visually and creatively — they stay consistent with the business brand but maintain their own identity.

When creating their campaign assets, some businesses use an in-house team while others opt for an agency. Another alternative is hiring a freelancer or contractor to complete a specific portion of the project, such as the copy or design.

Pro Tip: Depending on your specific campaign goals, I’d recommend starting with your in-house team and moving forward from there. They are the experts of your business and can speak to what your campaign needs to succeed.

Distributing Your Marketing Campaign

This stage is all about the public-facing part of your campaign, including what your audience will see and when. If you’ve combed through the previous section, you should have all the answers you need to guide you through this step.

5. Choose the channels on which you’ll run your campaign.

Take a look at the current media channels you use to promote your company. Which ones perform the best? Which ones allow you to pay for advertisements? Which ones have the best engagement? Most importantly, where are your customers hanging out?

marketing campaigns: choosing your channel using the PESO marketing model

6. Set a timeline for your campaign.

Visually mapping your marketing campaign will help you evenly disperse your campaign promotions and publish equally on each medium. It’ll also give you an idea of where your time and energy are going so that you can look back when assessing the effectiveness of your campaign.

Pro Tip: If your promotional calendar seems full, don’t fret. Social media and email scheduling tools can alleviate the pressure of posting daily. Check out tools like HubSpot and Buffer to help you schedule and manage your campaign promotions.

Converting Customers Through Your Marketing Campaign

7. Ensure your campaign is driving users toward a desired action.

Even if your campaign is effective and drives a ton of traffic, it still needs to complete its desired action. By "the desired action," I’m talking about that SMART goal you initially defined. Let’s take a moment and reiterate that goal.

This step is all about calibrating your marketing efforts and channels to lead your customers to complete your desired goal. This is done through conversion assets like calls-to-action, landing pages, and lead forms.

8. Monitor the right metrics.

The campaign effectiveness metrics you’ll monitor will depend on what type of marketing campaign you’re running and what channels you’ve chosen. This section merely serves as a baseline list to give you an idea of what to watch.

Great Marketing Campaign Examples (and Why They’re So Great)

1. The Lip Bar’s "Something BAWSE is coming"

Why The Lip Bar’s "Something BAWSE is coming" campaign is so great:

2. Meta (Formerly Facebook): "The Metaverse"

marketing campaign example by meta

Why Meta’s "The Metaverse" campaign is so great:

The idea of a Facebook rebrand had been speculated prior to the launch of the campaign which piqued the public’s interest. That meant even if they didn’t like the change, they would still be interested in seeing what happens next.

3. Popeyes: "Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce"

marketing campaign from popeyes

Why Popeyes’ "Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce" campaign is so great:

4. Cheerios: #GoodGoesRound

marketing campaign example from cheerios

Why Cheerios’ "Good Goes Round" campaign is so great:

5. Apple: "Shot on iPhone"

marketing campaign example from apple

Why Apple’s "Shot on iPhone" campaign is so great:

6. The General: "Re-brand"

Why The General’s "Re-brand" campaign is so great:

7. Airbnb: "Made Possible by Hosts"

Marketing campaign

In addition to organic channels, we also promote the tool via various paid channels. One of them is sponsorship. Here’s an excerpt of a sponsored newsletter sent by one of the biggest magazines in the SEO industry, Search Engine Journal.


Product marketing campaign

They are one of the most important and complex campaigns in the life cycle of a product. This is because a newly introduced product (or service) needs effective marketing communication to impact sales. It also requires cooperation between different departments to make sure every part of the user experience is covered.


Product launch campaigns tend to be costly and bloated with all kinds of tactics and channels that big money can buy. But that doesn’t mean you have to dedicate $200M to a product launch of Windows 95 proportions.

While the marketing communication aspect is important when launching a product, what ​​matters most is how well your product fits the market. To achieve product-market fit, you don’t need to operate on a colossal budget or have 20 years of experience in the field.

Among many inspirational product-market fit case studies, there’s one that stands out: Buffer. Its product marketing campaign was designed to verify the value hypothesis of its MVP. It didn’t even have to build a product to achieve that.

To verify its MVP, Buffer used a landing page that explained the soon-to-be product and collected emails for a waiting list. Afterward, it used the waiting list to gather feedback on what features to build.


Sales promotion campaign

Most often, the goal of a sales promotion campaign is to increase sales. Think flash sales, limited-time offers, coupons, etc. The idea is to decrease the friction of making a purchase (price, shipping costs, etc.) and speed up the decision process by creating a sense of urgency.

As temporary discounts often bring fast results, it may be tempting for marketers to use these campaigns on many occasions. This is especially when the company doesn’t meet its sales quota. Yet running these campaigns too often has its downsides. Namely, discounts can devalue a brand and make it harder to sell products/services at regular prices in the future.


Line graph showing Toyotathon

Car manufacturers and dealers hold these kinds of events because when the current year passes, that year’s car stock becomes less valuable (customers prefer newer models). So they try to sell as many cars as possible before the cars lose their value.

As I’ve already mentioned, discounts can undermine the perceived value of the brand and, in this case, the cars. To solve this problem, Toyota has created a brand for discounted cars. That way, customers are not just buying a discounted Toyota. They’re taking part in a Toyotathon. This is a win-win for all parties.

21 Successful Marketing Campaign Examples That’ll Inspire You

1. Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke Campaign

2. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

3. McDonald’s I’m Lovin’ It Campaign

Consider: While you may not be running tv commercials, how can you use sound as part of your brand identity? Can you add it to your YouTube videos, your podcast intros and outros, or in the videos you create for social media?

4. Nike’s Find Your Greatness Campaign

5. Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Campaign

The ad has Isaiah tell the women viewers to “Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me.” It tells the story that while their partner may never look like Isaiah Mustafa, he can smell like Isaiah Mustafa, if they stop buying him lady-scented body washes. And if he smells like Isaiah Mustafa, or Old Spice, well, anything was possible.

Examples of successful marketing campaigns

Thank You, Mom

In 2012, the famous Procter & Gamble campaign won viewers’ hearts with its TV commercial. The commercial’s main characters are mothers of athletes who put all their heart into raising their children. This campaign aims to convey gratitude to mothers for everything they do and is considered P & G’s most prominent campaign in the company’s history.

Got Milk?

“Got Milk?” is an excellent example of a marketing campaign that achieved its primary goal. Marketers identify four main reasons for such a large-scale success of this campaign: it was simple, actionable, integrated, and had a sense of humor. By capturing famous people and leveraging different platforms for promotion, there was a noticeable increase in the level of milk consumption so that milk sales in California became 7% higher.

Got Milk

Just Do It

This marketing campaign is probably the most recognizable and successful in Nike’s history. Created in the 1980s, the “Just Do It” campaign made the brand even more popular and increased its sales volume and revenues to an incredible $9.2 billion in 1998.

With marketing campaigns, companies manage to achieve their main goals and communicate their messages across different platforms. Use our tips above to create a campaign that will evoke trust and credibility.

Marketing campaign

The Marlboro Man campaign was so successful that it not only increased sales of Marlboro cigarettes, but also changed the way that cigarettes were marketed in the United States. The Marlboro Man became the symbol of the American cowboy, an image that was used to sell not only cigarettes, but also a way of life.

Marketing Campaign Components

19 Examples of the Best Marketing Campaigns on the Internet

SNCF: Europe, It’s Next Door

This interactive marketing campaign from France’s national railway system encouraged Inter-European travel by giving individuals a sneak peek at what was happening around other cities in real-time. The company set up a series of doors which opened to two-way video screens. Individuals on the other side were located in a city across Europe. The video allowed individuals to interact with each other in a unique and engaging way. The campaign drew people into the idea of traveling to a new city and raised awareness that SNCF could make that trip a reality.

Heineken: Go Places

Heineken launched the first “Go Places” campaign in 2016 with the aim of highlighting the company’s unique personality and company culture to prospective employees. The first campaign allowed individuals to partake in an interactive interview… a sort of “choose your own adventure” combined with a strengths finder outcome. Following the interactive questionnaire, individuals are given their results and encouraged to apply for a position with their LinkedIn profile.

Expedia: Explore Great Britain

The Expedia microsite is an interactive video that allows watchers to toggle between British cities as five different hosts give tours of their cities. Upon completing the video, Expedia gives a custom itinerary based on how much time you watched each location’s video. The custom itinerary provides lodging recommendations and what to see and do in each city. The video jumps from location to location seamlessly and offers viewers a customizable experience that makes you want to watch several times so you don’t miss anything.

Waze: On the Road

Waze took all of their data and leveraged it into an item of sponsored content with the New York Times. The data presented interesting trends in how we drive, when, and to what locations. What makes this content interactive is the company added quiz functionality to test the reader’s smarts about trends in driving.

Awesome Experiential Marketing Campaign Examples

Swedish Lottery: Bucket list

Most people will not win the lottery. Having said that, we all love to imagine what we would do with our lottery winnings if we were to strike it rich. The Swedish lottery asked several individuals what experience they would do if they won the lottery. Answers ranged from parachute jumping; traveling to a deserted island; heli-skiing; and taking a safari. With the power of VR and 5D technology, the organization gave individuals a sensory experience that rivaled the real thing. The campaign got people talking about what they would do if they won the lotto, which, in turn, raises participation in the lottery.

Nike: House of Innovation Beacon

Nike created a mixed media sculpture which was suspended in the middle of their NYC flagship store. The installation plays iconic sporting moments in Nike’s history. It bridges the gap between branding, marketing, art, and technology. What’s more, the entire flagship store offers a truly innovative experience for shoppers. There’s an area for individuals to customize their own sneakers; a floor dedicated to customizable apparel, where shoppers can change colors, logos, and even swap out materials and combine two different pieces of clothing for a fully bespoke item.

National Geographic: Astronaut Reality

Nothing gives people an existential crisis quite like space exploration. It makes us feel so small, yet so full of wonder and curiosity. To promote its series, “One Strange Rock”, National Geographic created a first-hand experience of space, without leaving Earth. With custom VR astronaut helmets, individuals get to experience space like an astronaut does (almost).

Aspects to Create Best Marketing Campaigns

People want to consume content that enriches their lives and gives them an enjoyable experience. It’s vital to find a balance between their interests and the values behind your business to ensure an authentic and meaningful campaign.

A winning campaign can elevate your brand’s image and surpass your sales. A successful marketing campaign is not about flashy ads or funny commercials. It’s about achieving tangible results. Keeping track of measurable indicators of your campaign can set up the right path for your brand’s success.

1. Identify Your Audience

The first and foremost step is to identify your audience. For instance, if you are planning to run a B2B facility, check the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the buying decision-makers. In that, geographical factors play an important role. The more the information you collect about your customers, the easier it will be to run the campaign.

2. Set Up the Budget

Having sufficient funds can fulfill your desired goals. According to the Small Business Administration, brands spend 2 to 20 percent of projected sales on marketing campaigns. If you need any, check the availability of financial support, and set up the monthly/annual budget depending on your willingness to advertise it, your business size, industry, and what stage your business is in.

3. Develop Your Message

Creating a clear and loud message has the potential to get a higher response rate. Your message must address three things – appeal to the audience to evoke an emotional response, emphasize how your product/service will benefit them, and the third that can help you create a credible message, i.e., the testimonials. Adopting these three elements will help you develop a message that can strongly influence the target audience.

4. Build Up Your Media Strategy

Social media has a vital role to play in interacting with the audience. With interaction, sales will come, and with sales, revenue. What’s more important is choosing the right advertising platform. It’s equally important to promote true advertising. For example, Activia yogurt stated their yogurt has nutritional benefits while others did not. After this, Activia was held in charge of false advertising. Therefore, you have to promote the right idea on the right platform with the right mindset.

5. Implement the Strategy

Implementing the strategy is the easiest part of developing the best marketing campaigns. You need to have the right team to schedule the time and coordinate all the activities required to launch the campaign.

6. Analyze Your Results

The best marketing campaigns are developed that analyze their results and work on them. The path doesn’t end after implementation. You have to track the results, responses, and feedback you get post-launch. You have to work on them to learn better and minimize the faults. If the campaign is successful, work on making it better and extending its reach.

Digital Marketing

To start a campaign, marketers need to evaluate their customers, what they want, where to reach them, and anticipate what they’ll get. To effectively reach a customer, marketers adopt the social media path. In today’s world, social media is the way to reach out to thousands of people and grab their attention.

1. Apple: "Get a Mac" Campaign

The "Get a Mac" campaign was a series of television commercials created by Apple Inc. to market its Macintosh computers. The ads were directed at Windows users and featured two actors personifying a PC and a Mac.

The campaign began in May 2006 with the release of the "Mac vs. PC" commercial, and ended in October 2009 with the release of the "I’m a Mac" commercial. The ads were produced by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the advertising agency responsible for all of Apple’s advertising.

In total, there were 66 individual commercials in the campaign. The commercials aired on television in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, a number of the commercials were made available online on Apple’s website and YouTube.

2. Pepsi: "Is Pepsi OK?" Campaign

In 1988, Pepsi ran a marketing campaign with the slogan "Is Pepsi OK?" The goal of the campaign was to get people to think about whether or not Pepsi was a good choice for them. Pepsi wanted to be seen as an affordable alternative to Coca-Cola, and this campaign was meant to emphasize that.

The ads featured regular people who were asked whether or not they thought Pepsi was OK. The ads were designed to be funny and provocative, and they got a lot of attention. Pepsi ended up selling more products than ever before as a result of the campaign.

Even today, the "Is Pepsi OK?" slogan is still associated with the brand. Pepsi has continued to use it in various marketing campaigns over the years, and it has become one of the most recognizable slogans in advertising history.

3. IHOP: "IHOb" Campaign

IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, announced a new campaign called "IHOb" on June 11, 2018. The campaign is designed to promote the restaurant’s new line of burgers. IHOP’s president, Darren Rebelez, stated in an interview with CNBC that the name change is meant to be "fun and playful." The campaign has been met with mixed reactions on social media. Some people are amused by the change, while others find it confusing. IHOP has not announced how long the "IHOb" campaign will last.

4. Absolut Vodka: "The Bottle" Campaign

5. Kay Jewelers: "Every Kiss Begins with Kay" Campaign

Kay Jewelers ran a campaign in the early 2000s with the slogan "Every Kiss Begins with Kay." The campaign was heavily promoted through TV commercials and print advertisements. The goal of the campaign was to increase sales of Kay’s wedding jewelry.

The campaign was successful, and it helped to solidify Kay Jewelers as the go-to destination for engagement and wedding rings. The slogan "Every Kiss Begins with Kay" is still used today, and it is one of the most recognizable slogans in the jewelry industry.

6. Dove: "Real Beauty" Campaign

Dove launched their "Real Beauty" Campaign in 2004 with the goal of promoting natural beauty. The campaign featured ads and videos that showcased regular women, rather than models or celebrities, in order to show that all types of beauty are worthy of appreciation. Dove also created a website for the campaign where women could share their own stories and photos about their own experiences with beauty.

The "Real Beauty" Campaign was widely successful, garnering praise from both consumers and critics. It helped to change the way that many people think about beauty, and it inspired other companies to create similar campaigns of their own. The campaign has also been credited with helping to increase body confidence among women of all ages.

7. Chipotle: "Back to the Start" Campaign

Chipotle’s "Back to the Start" campaign is a powerful reminder of the importance of sustainable farming practices. The campaign features an animated short film about a farmer who turns his family farm into a factory farm, only to realize his mistake and go back to sustainable farming practices. The film is set to Willie Nelson’s moving song of the same name. The campaign is a reminder that the food we eat comes from somewhere, and we should take care to support sustainable farming practices so that we can all enjoy delicious, healthy food for years to come.

8. Budweiser: "Wassup?" Campaign

Budweiser is a beer company that has been around for centuries. They are most famous for their "Wassup?" ad campaign. The campaign was started in 2000 and ran until 2002. It was one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time.

The ads featured a group of friends sitting around drinking Budweiser and saying "Wassup?" to each other. The ads were popular because they were funny and relatable. People could easily imagine themselves in the situation.

Structuring Your Marketing Campaign Strategy

How to create a marketing campaign

What’s Your Objective?

Let’s circle back to our LEGO® Braille Bricks example from the beginning of this post. Based on LEGO’s communications around their campaign, we can speculate that an objective for this campaign was to promote inclusive learning in a fun, engaging way.

Why This Objective?

In LEGO’s case, the WHY behind their campaign was clearly stated in their press releases and marketing assets: “To help children with vision impairment learn critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration through play.”

Now, the purpose behind your marketing campaign doesn’t have to be as benevolent as this, but it’s important for you and everyone involved in the campaign to understand — and get behind — why the time, effort, budget, and resources are being put into this campaign.

Who Do You Want to Connect with Along the Way?

Who will Help You Get There?

Most marketing campaigns, even short-running ones with small budgets, need a team to help bring it to fruition. So, who are the individuals you’d need to rely on to successfully implement and measure your marketing campaign? This roster might include:

How Much will It Cost to Get There?

After taking into account What you’re wanting to accomplish, Why you’re wanting to accomplish it, and Who will help you accomplish it, it’s vital to look at how you’re going to pay for it; in other words, your budget.

Most of this will likely go toward the creation of assets you’ll need for your campaign and paying for the ads to promote those assets. However, other budget considerations include web hosting and development costs (if you’ll have a full site or subdomain dedicated to your campaign), bonuses to influencers or affiliates, postage if doing any direct mail, and any additional tools you may need to use to efficiently and effectively execute your campaign.

When Do You Plan to Get There?

Whether you want your marketing campaign to run for a few weeks, a few months, or even longer, setting a clear start and end date is important — not just for performance measurement, but also for proper budget and resource allocation.

What Does Success Look Like?

For example, if your objective is to promote a new product or service, your KPI might be “X amount in sales revenue.” And if your purpose is something like LEGO’s — to help blind and visually-impaired children learn Braille in a fun, playful, engaging way — then you might have a KPI around customer satisfaction, the share of voice, and/or social engagement.

Preparing your Marketing Campaign Plan

What Needs to Be Done?

Answering this question can be one of the most challenging and time-consuming steps in this process as there can be many pieces, parts, people, processes, perspectives, paths, and priorities to consider. Some of these include:


How Should Those Tactics Get Done?

Said differently, what specific actions need to be taken. For example, if you’ve determined you’ll leverage blog posts, paid ads, and video in your marketing campaign, the tactic might be to create 10 blog posts, 5 paid ads, and 2 videos that focus on X, link to Y, and are distributed by A, B, and C channels.

Who will Do What?

Going back to your “Who will help you get there” question in the marketing campaign strategy stage, the answer to this planning question should focus on assigning ownership to the various tasks that need to be completed to accomplish the tactics that will get you closer to achieving your objective.

When Do the Activities and Tasks Need to Be Done?

Your mighty marketing campaign needs deadlines for each tactic they are accountable for. It helps keep them on track, know what time parameters they have to work within, and establishes clear expectations.

Marketing calendars can be a valuable tool for providing clarity into what’s due when, what’s being worked on and by whom, what’s been completed, etc. This transparency can foster collaboration and cohesion throughout your marketing campaign.

How Much to Spend on What?

This relates to the What (tactics) and How (activities) of your plan. If you want to run paid ads, do videos, and work with influencers or affiliates, this is the step where you determine how much you’re willing and able to spend on each.

How will You Track and Measure Success?

For example, if your KPI is $100,000 in revenue from your new product sales, then the metrics you might track and measure might be related to the specific tactics you’re employing to contribute to driving sales.


Non-profit business

Collecting barely used clothes or artefacts and host a weekend sale can be a business that raises fund. Taking pictures of the items beforehand, post them on social networks and generate buzz around your event. This business idea is most times mistaken as an auction event but unlike an auction event, you have to get or buy the products that would be sold at a fore mentioned price without the rancour of pricing and noise.

Jennifer B.

What Is a Non-Profit Business? – Definition & Example Business Plan

A non-profit business is exempt from taxes and does not financially benefit its shareholders. Learn the definition of non-profit business, explore the sections of a non-profit business plan, and discover the importance of seeking expert advice. Updated: 09/14/2021

A non-profit business, also known as a not-for-profit organization, is a tax-exempt organization formed for religious, charitable, literary, artistic, scientific, or educational purposes. It is an incorporated business from which its shareholders or trustees do not benefit financially. Any money earned must be retained by the organization, and used for its own expenses, operations, and programs. A few well known non-profit organizations include Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, and United Way. There are many types of not-for-profit organizations, however, the most common is a 501(c)3.

50 Non-Profit Business ideas and Opportunities With Huge Impact

1. Green living

The earth has undergone much damage over the years due to various human activities such as industrialization, deforestation and so on. Only very recently did people start realizing the gravity of these activities. And this is why there is increasing global awareness of the benefits of green living.

As of present, the green living campaign hasn’t gone very far. In fact, in many countries, the concept of green living is literally unheard of. If this is what obtains in your vicinity, then you can start a non-profit that advocates green living.

2. Proper health care practices

In many countries (especially developing countries), improper health practices such as self-diagnosis, self-medication, drug abuse, and quackery are rife. If you live in one of such countries, then you should consider starting a non-profit that campaigns against these practices and enlightens people on better practices for improving their health.

Critical health conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancers, Down syndrome, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, and others that require long term management are common in most societies. And the cost of managing these conditions is usually enormous, since the management is usually for a long term or even for the rest of the patient’s life.

A good non-profit idea is to come to the rescue of people with these conditions. You may consider starting a non-profit that generates funds for the procurement of drugs and financing of other management procedures for such people.

4. Elderly care

In many places, elderly people usually don’t get enough care. And since they are no longer strong enough to get whatever they need themselves, they usually face very hard times in their old age. You can help improve the welfare of the elderly in your locality by starting a non-profit aimed at taking care of them.

5. Save animals from going extinct

Many animals are on the brink of extinction. We often read in newspapers and hear in T.V. documentaries that there are less than 50 of certain animals left on the earth. You can prevent certain animals from going into extinction by starting a non-profit that advocates for their protection and preservation, and also to encourage individuals to stop poaching these animals or species at the brink of extinction.

6. Encourage tree planting and preservation

Many natural disasters such as hurricanes and erosion have been attributed to heavy deforestation. By encouraging tree planting and discouraging deforestation through a non-profit, you can help improve the environment and protect people from the harsh effects of natural disasters.

Even though education cannot be downplayed, not everyone can afford the costs. Some people find it hard to get money to feed themselves; let alone get quality education. A good way to ensure that poverty doesn’t deny such people access to quality education is to start a non-profit that generates funds to sponsor their education. Better yet, you can start a school that will offer high quality education for absolutely free.

8. Disabled people

In many societies, people with physical disabilities are looked down upon. They are not able to enjoy many of the benefits that others enjoy. And they face episodes of hardship and abuse. If you feel the need to help such people, then you can start a non-profit that that defends the rights of the physically disabled and help them to enjoy various benefits that other people enjoy.

9. Trade and professional

10. Campaign against vices

11. Alcohol-Free Club

There are numerous benefits for starting a dance club or nightclub that does not serve alcoholic beverages, as opposed to a nightclub that does. The benefits include: less investment capital required to start and operate the business, fewer government regulations, and substantially lower liability insurance premiums, less competition within the industry, and a clear definition of the target market, increased choices in terms of operating location.

If you’re looking to start-up in the non-profit world, this could be the right business for you. One of the best methods for charities to raise funds for their particular need is to host a charity auction. Typically, local merchants will donate products and services to be auctioned.

The focus of this business start-up is to organize the event and act as the auctioneer and solicit local business owners for donations of products and services to be auctioned. The best charities to build alliances with are local ones that serve the community exclusively.

13. Charity Casino Organizer

There are two options available for generating revenues and profits by starting and operating a charity casino business. The first option is to simply hire some casino equipment to charities for their events. The second option is to completely organize the event, supply the equipment, and supply dealers and staff to operate the event, and finally supply the location for the charity casino event.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Business Can Be Nonprofits?

Generally, the types of business organizations—which the IRS uses in its generally accepted legal sense—include food banks, museums, theatre groups, colleges, low-income housing organizations, and day care centers.

Can A Founder Of A Nonprofit Get Paid?

The founders of a nonprofit are not permitted to make a profit or benefit from the net earnings of the organization. They can make money in various other ways, however, including receiving compensation from the nonprofit.

What Are The Types Of Funding Models For Nonprofits?
What Is The Best Structure For A Nonprofit Organization?
What Are Three Examples Of Nonprofit Businesses?
What Types Of Businesses Are Well Suited To The Nonprofit Legal Structure?
What Are The Alternatives To Starting A Nonprofit?
How Does An Owner Of A Non Profit Make Money?

Non-profit founders earn money for running the organizations they founded. They often put in long work hours and make far less money than executives at for-profit organizations. The bottom line is that non-profit founders and employees are paid from the gross revenues of the organization.

What’s The Difference Between A Charity And A Nonprofit?

A nonprofit is based on the simple premise that none of the corporation’s net profit from donations, membership fees or business activities will benefit any individual. Those nonprofits that do benefit the general public are typically the best-known type of nonprofit. We call them charities. Hence a charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, religious or other activities serving the public interest or common good).

What Is The Difference Between A Foundation And A Nonprofit?

Foundations are organizations that did not qualify as public charities. They are very similar to nonprofits, except money for a foundation usually comes from a family or a corporate entity, whereas nonprofit money often comes from their revenues.

Can You Get Rich Starting A Nonprofit?

By its very name, a nonprofit company would seem an unlikely source of personal income. You might be surprised to learn you can, in fact, earn decent money by starting and running a nonprofit, all while making a contribution and having a positive impact in the world.

How Much Can I Pay Myself In A Non Profit?

Well, you can pay yourself a reasonable compensation for services actually rendered. The IRS judges reasonableness on the basis of comparable salaries for comparable organizations, not on the percentage of income of the employer organization that goes toward salaries.

How Much Money Do You Need To Set Up A Foundation?

A generally accepted standard is that a foundation would need initial funding of at least $500,000 to warrant the effort if using a third party administrator. If the foundation is privately hiring a staff to handle administrative services, then $3 – $5 million in assets is preferable.

What Is The Difference Between A Foundation And A 501c3?

Every section 501(c)(3) organization is classified as either a private foundation or a public charity. Private foundations and public charities are distinguished primarily by the level of public involvement in their activities.

What Are Some Innovative Ways To Come Up With Nonprofit Business Ideas?
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Nonprofit Organization?

The standard filing fee for Form 1023 will cost you $750, but your fee will be reduced by $400 if you don’t expect revenue to exceed $40,000. The financial considerations involved in starting a nonprofit require a lot of legwork and more than a little paperwork, but you will be rewarded with financial security.

How Do You Make Your Nonprofit Successful?
Can You Run A Nonprofit From Your Home?
Why Do Most Nonprofits Fail?

The failure of nonprofits can be due to some factors, some of which include: difficulties related to how decisions are made (and by whom), a lack of systems to support meeting the expectations of stakeholders.

Can The CEO and Director Of A Nonprofit Get Paid?

Well, any payments for service of directors must be reasonable. For example, the state of California limits the number of directors a corporation may pay. While a nonprofit generally may not lend money to its directors or officers, it may advance a reasonable amount to money to cover a director’s necessary costs rather than reimburse them later.

Top 25 Inspirational Non-Profit Business Ideas in 2022

Starting a non-profit business is as difficult as a for-profit business. Nonprofit organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are in the market not to make money but benefit others with their services. Such organizations have no owners and no one gets benefited from them except the people or causes they are serving.

There are many types of non-profit businesses ranging from animal rights to children’s education and shelter homes. Such businesses are meant to alleviate poverty, provide shelter to the homeless and poor, educate children, and many more. This is a way through which people try to make a difference in society and bring each and every class closer. It does not mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments but it works to provide better living conditions for all.