Guy Schoonmaker

Once upon a time Guy developed fundraising campaigns for universities. In a plot twist, he now applies that expertise in working with 2A’s higher ed and B2B tech clients. He’s helped schools and companies alike find their happily ever after.

Consultant | LinkedIn
The recipe for the perfect customer evidence video


The recipe for the perfect customer evidence video

By Guy Schoonmaker

The recipe for the perfect customer evidence video

Image by Thad Allen

Have you ever started to make pasta, and then realized you forgot the sauce? It sucks. I never think of grocery shopping as part of cooking, but you can’t follow a recipe without the right ingredients.  

The same goes for creating great customer evidence videos. It’s all in the preparation, with some improvisation sprinkled in (we’ll get to that). 

Preparation is important in a lot of the marketing assets we build at 2A, but maybe none more so than filming videos. Why? Because in most cases, you only have one shot to get it right!  

The grocery list of factors you need to consider before filming can get long: 

  • Interviewees – Are they prepped? Have they done this before? Do you have the right questions to get the best soundbites? 
  • Shot list – Think through the story you’re trying to tell—what are the visuals you need to support it? 
  • Location – Will there be background noise? Or giant digital disco globes right next to your set? 
  • Equipment – How much space do you have to work with? Or maybe you’ll need to keep your equipment to a minimum so you’re nimble enough to move through a crowded airport while shooting b-roll
  • Permissions – Do you need any special permissions from your filming location? How do you get consent from people that will be in the background? 

The list goes on! While preparation is the most important ingredient, you should always come to filming wearing an improvisation apron, just in case things get messy.  

Maybe an unexpected thunderstorm is rolling through town, messing up the natural light for your interview. Or a marching band decided to take a right turn down the street you’re filming on. It’s more the rule than the exception that something completely unexpected will happen.  

But if you’re prepared and ready to roll with the punches, then a willingness to improvise will help you quickly figure out solutions to those little speed bumps.  

Wait, speaking of improvisation, I already have olive oil, diced tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper—I can make my own sauce, and it will be even better than the original recipe. 

Dartmouth campaign graphics


The one thing universities shouldn’t recycle: content

By Guy Schoonmaker

Dartmouth campaign graphics

When you think of fundraising for colleges and universities, your first thoughts are probably something like “ugh, junk mail and relentless phone calls from students asking for money!”

You’re not wrong, but as a former higher-ed fundraiser, allow me to offer a counter perspective.

What really bugs you, other than paying off student loans (been there), is that you’re getting the same content and message every year, and it’s not personalized to your experience.

Universities aren’t staffed and resourced like Fortune 500 companies. It’s usually one person who is responsible for planning, segmenting, and executing the marketing campaigns. With so much to do, it’s easy to de-prioritize content and lean on the letters, emails, and call scripts from last year.

The Dartmouth College Fund was in a similar situation last fall, planning for a campaign that celebrated the school’s 250th anniversary. But they lacked the bandwidth to create unique, new content worthy of the milestone. That’s where we came in—delivering a feature animation, four GIFs, two emails and an infographic. Altogether, this fresh approach inspired over 4,700 donors to make a gift, nearly doubling the campaign’s 2,500-donor goal.

Content matters. Some super famous tech CEOs might even say “content is king.” We’re here to help when other things get in the way, so you can keep your audience… content.

Serious Party: the creative juices were flowing


Serious Party: the creative juices were flowing

By Guy Schoonmaker

Serious Party: the creative juices were flowing

The negronis were flowing, the oysters were shucking, and the creativity was vibing in a particularly groovy manner at 2A’s annual summer party.

Setting the tone for the evening were the wavy, wacky and wonderful animations being projected on the walls throughout our open Capitol Hill office. From there our clients, business partners, family, and friends mingled away in the spirit of gratitude and good times. Needless to say, it was a serious shucksess.

Riffing on the theme of creative reinvention (via the Grateful Dead), I decided to take the pulse of the party through an anonymous poll. The question: How do you get yourself into a creative mindset?

Here are some of the different ways our party-goers get their creative juices flowing:

Music helps a lot, soul and funk is my creative playlist. If I need to focus, then I’ll listen to something that’s closer to background noise.

I go with a blank sheet of paper, start with a basic idea, and go from there and draw it out.

I try to do as much creative stuff outside of work as I can. 

I like to think of creativity as problem solving, it helps me to see different approaches to solving similar problems.

Taking a walk or exercising helps me a lot.

I AM a creative, so I’m always in the creative mindset.

Forgetting about deadlines and rules to take a more holistic approach to the problem I’m trying to solve.

Getting out in nature and hanging out with my favorite tree.

We’re always looking for new and creative ways to tell our clients’ stories, and clearly the storytelling path can take many different routes. One avenue that works for us at 2A is collaboration. Whether it’s over video-conference or shellfish, we do our best work when we leverage our diverse set of creative and strategic minds while working hand-in-hand with our clients. And if there’s a refreshing drink in one of those hands, all the better.


Put your assumptions on paws


Put your assumptions on paws

By Guy Schoonmaker

Put your assumptions on paws

I grew up with a dog. It was a great dog; a big fluffy Newfoundland who didn’t mind wrestling around with me and my brothers. As what seems to be the norm for many dog-lovers, I developed an anti-cat mentality for no particular reason. I’d say things like “cats aren’t loyal like dogs” and “cats only care about themselves.” Of course I said these things having never owned a cat, while most of my information about cats came from memes and gifs (by the way, 2A makes a great cat gif if you’re ever in the market).

Over the last six months, through no ambition of my own, two cats have prowled their way into my life, one at home and one at work. And you know what, they’re not that bad. In fact, cats are pretty cool! They are happy to hang out with you, but also fine on their own. They like a little more space than most dogs, but I think anyone commuting in Seattle right now can relate to wanting a little more space.

What’s the lesson learned here? Don’t be afraid to question your own assumptions.

One challenge around implementing inclusive behavior is knowing where to start. There’s no quick checklist on how to be inclusive but putting your assumptions under a microscope is a great first step.

Checking your assumptions can help you avoid snap judgements on first impressions and embrace confrontation with empathy instead of anger. And of course, it can lead to giving cats a chance. The bottom line is, we all make assumptions every day. But becoming aware of your assumptions and recognizing when they need to be challenged will open you up to new ideas, collaborations, and maybe even a new pet.

Inclusivity has become more of a priority for workplaces over the last decade, and 2A is clearly on board. Just about a month into my role here, I already notice the effort to make our office a comfortable and healthy environment. From stating preferred pronouns to scrapping the antiquated primary/secondary criteria in parental leave—the inclusive culture here is fur real.