Business Strategy · Marketing Strategy

How to get a message of business as change agent in front of Branson, Gates, etc?

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

March 14th, 2016

I want to reach people like Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Jeffrey Immelt, and even Bill and Melinda Gates with a message that business already has the skills and tools to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. This is the subject of my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World (http://goingbeyondsustainability.com/guerrilla-marketing-to-heal-the-world/ ) and my TEDx talk (
http://www.business-for-a-better-world.com/tedtalks/). Anybody have great ways to get past their particular gatekeepers?
Growth-hacking isn’t about quick wins and shortcuts, although they exist. In this course, we’ll cover the six-step growth hacking framework, how to measure user retention for your business, how to increase engagement and retention, and a bunch of case studies.

Rob G

March 14th, 2016

What's the purpose - you haven't said why you want to reach them... get them to buy your book? attend your TED talk? These people are all pretty sharp (understatement of the day) so unless you have some particularly earth-shattering bit of wisdom for them they are not likely to take notice UNLESS your message is delivered by a trusted source.  That trusted source usually means good old fashioned networking (linkedIn).  The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation employs about 1,400 people in a 640,000 SF building (LEED platinum certified of course) in Seattle dedicated to spending not only Bill and Melinda's money, but also Warren's money and other grantees.  Warren does most of his philanthropic work via the Gate's foundation (i believe).  It's a big job to spend a $45B endowment plus appreciation and interest that keeps growing at about $100M/week.  They want to find new and innovative ways to achieve their mission (global health and poverty as well as overhauling the US education system).  Bill is a really, really smart guy and i know a few former staff and they all make the average smart guy/gal look pretty slow.  If you have something truly innovative they will be interested.  I'd say find someone who knows someone (an employee or grantee) who can make a warm intro, but i certainly would not give up if I didn't reach them directly. 

Justin Roff-Marsh

March 14th, 2016

The gatekeepers are there to ensure that those people only see things they are likely to be interested in. They almost certainly have clever gatekeepers who understand their interests well.

If your message isn't getting through, change the message, don't try and cheat their systems!

The front door is there because they DON'T want you climbing in their bathroom window.

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

March 15th, 2016

Thanks, all, for your answers. 

@Justin: I agree. Not looking to cheat the system.

@Melissa: Yes, I tried to contact Branson through various Virgin enterprises. I have had good luck going through websites to reach people who are household names only in their niche. That's how I got both Cynthia Kersey (Unstoppable/Unstoppable Women) and Frances Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet) to write guest essays for Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

@5 Star: I certainly don't agree that you need to be a billionaire in order to talk to billionaires. I've connected and partnered with many millionaires without being one. I am not acting out of naivete but redefining our sense of what is or isn't possible; the TED talk gives some good perspective on this. Here's the key: these problems all boil down to resource issues: when we look at who controls resources, how they're distributed, how they're used, and what their impact is, we actually know how to solve them. I invite you to spend 15 minutes watching it and see what you think.

@Rob: "They want to find new and innovative ways to achieve their mission (global health and poverty as well as overhauling the US education system" Yes, that's exactly what I'm offering: a new and innovative path to convince business to take the lead on social issues.

Melissa Powell

March 14th, 2016

Your best bet is probably to reach them through their organizations that focus on the above mentioned, like BTeam.org. Engage with the initiatives that are in keeping with your message. Social media has made it easier to engage outside of physical presence. Help them get there message out there, tie it to your message and if your message is good enough to be heard it will be. 

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

March 15th, 2016

@Karl: I actually spoke at a conference in Davos a few years ago Unfortunately, it was not either the World Social or World Economic Forum but it was still a thrill to be on the stage where so many world-changing talks have taken place-and I'd go in a heartbeat if invited to present at either of those famous Davos conferences. And my CV has some other pretty cool things on it, including starting a mass movement that saved a mountain.

Melissa Powell

March 15th, 2016

@Shel, I think you missed what I was saying. It is not to try to reach them directly but to do a good job at championing your message and aligning it with theirs. (agree with @Karl on Davos)

@5 I think Nathan Chan of Foundr magazine is one person that could debunk your theory, also Michel Issa in his starting years a few years ago. t's not about impressing them, it's about a meaningful mission that happens to align with theirs/ resonates with them, and doing a good job at advocating for it / delivering it. 

Which leads me to agreeing with @Rob when he asks "What's your purpose...". 


Karl Schulmeisters CTO ClearRoadmap

March 15th, 2016

Each of these folks has already sought out the best and the brightest from their perspective in their respective fields.  I'm not sure your CV is one they are looking for at this point.  As someone said, they are pretty sharp folks (I actually have worked closely with one of them) and your best bet is to figure out how to get to Davos

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

March 21st, 2016

@Melissa - thanks for the clarification. Also agree with your comment to 5.

5 * Agents for a TV Channel Franchise

March 14th, 2016

I know this will sound cynical,but many people will think that those who write about a solution to all these problems are simply naive but indeed well meaning. In my opinion you wont impress these mentioned people,[Bill Gates,Richard Bran-son etc, until you join them,by attaining to their level of success. [Think about it?  er.....easier to hold out a begging bowl?]

Dr. Wayne Dorband

April 25th, 2016

@shel, you have gotten a lot of great feedback here.  I know I often suffer from thinking I am the "smartest guy in the room" and thinking that I could change the world if I could just get people like you are trying to influence to listen.  With almost 40 years behind me now as an entrepreneur, having had some success being a visioner like you described Jobs, I realize more often that persistence is the most important asset I can have.  Reaching any important dream or goal is a marathon, not a sprint.  Keep at it!  One more self-serving thought.  I host a regular Livecast in which I interview people with "big" Ecolonomic (look up the word) ideas like you have.  Would you be willing to be a guest?  Message me if you would like to discuss this.  Keep up your journey - as it has been said, the teacher is only a teacher when the students are willing to listen!