It was a scorching summer day in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Nate McFarland, director of communications at Generation 180, was losing sleep. One month ago, Generation 180, a nonprofit organization, had launched its first nationwide initiative, “Keep It Cool” (KIC). The objectives of KIC were to leverage consumer participation in encouraging retailers to reduce energy waste and to spread the idea that energy should be consumed responsibly. At the core of the initiative was a “chatbot” built in Facebook’s Messenger app that enabled consumers to trigger an anonymous email encouraging store owners to close their doors when they were running air conditioning. Finding and engaging the right consumers in a cost-effective manner was of utmost importance. McFarland was fixated on lowering the “cost per click” of his Facebook campaigns and driving traffic to Generation 180’s website. To do this, he needed to know how best to engage people. Was KIC more relevant to men or to women? Were there some populations that seemed more excited about this initiative than others? Was he targeting the right interest groups using the Facebook ad platform?
This case is suitable for courses covering decision analysis, statistics, business analytics, and marketing analytics.