The behind-the-scenes story of a simple outdoor advertising sign that has helped locate 334 missing children (and counting)

Aug. 10, 2017 – USA Today recently published a full-page story in the USA Today Sports Weekly magazine about Jacksonville-based nonprofit The BairFind Foundation – Minor league ballpark signs raise awareness on missing kids. Founded by former minor league pitcher Dennis Bair in 2010, the nonprofit features more than 1,000 missing children every night on its concourse stadium signs in minor league ballparks.

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“It is sports marketing — we are leveraging the power of sports,” is how Dennis described BairFind in the article. “Minor League Baseball has been our proving ground. We’re doing something the families cannot do for themselves, which is to get pictures of their missing children out there to millions.”

MECLABS Institute took on BairFind as a pro bono Research Partner after the 2016 baseball season to, in addition to optimizing the nonprofit’s website, optimize its signs as well.

“We wanted to find a way to support our community and were inspired to tap into a fan base that has an opportunity to make an impact nationally,” said Ashley Lazo, Director of Marketing, MECLABS Institute.

Jacksonville-based MECLABS has developed patented methodologies to improve the communication of messaging to consumers. These methodologies are taught in the University of Florida/MECLABS Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program and utilized by MECLABS in services engagements to help companies improve conversion by discovering how to better serve their customers.

The story of how MECLABS used its methodology to optimize the signs was published on MarketingExperiments in the article The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of How We Optimized Outdoor Advertising That Was Featured In A USA Today Articles, by Daniel Burstein.

“Dennis is such a passionate advocate for safely locating missing children. However, like marketers at major companies, he is so focused on his ‘product,’ that it is hard for him to step back and see the message through the customer’s eyes,” said Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content, MECLABS Institute. “By taking a customer-first marketing approach, we simply brought a customer lens to the sign and made slight modifications to help a busy, distracted baseball fan connect with the message in the few moments the sign has to grab their attention.”

“The feedback from all of the GMs [general managers] of the Minor League Baseball teams, the fans and the league presidents has been 100%: ‘Wow! Holy moly, these signs are sharp!’ Thanks to MECLABS, they are even more impressed with us and even prouder to feature our signs in their ballparks,” Bair said.

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