Blog Archives

Audience-specific marketing

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Brett is delivering Marketing Savvy 101 workshops to volunteers from the CFA at the moment. This has got him thinking: nonprofits should target specific groups with a specific marketing initiative, more often.

CFA marketing training

Brett's preparation is legendary.

For example when investigating likely audiences worth targeting as prospective CFA volunteers, the workshop came up with a strong list: shift workers, under 30s, stay- at-home mothers. All groups were seen as likely volunteers and audiences that were able to be targeted effectively, as they tend to gather together. This was good news as marketers love audiences that gather, as it makes them easier to reach.

Shift workers gather at certain factories and businesses, youth are to be found at secondary schools, TAFEs, sports clubs and bars; mothers might be found via schools and women-only gyms. It doesn’t matter if the ‘gathering’ is physical, online or via some media outlet – if they gather, they can be targeted.

However the CFA brigades represented could not recall designing a specific marketing initiative aimed at a specific audience. For example no postcard / flyer had been designed to target women and distributed in a way to reach them – say at women-heavy workplaces. No event aimed squarely at young people had been created and marketed accordingly and no outreach to factory workers had been undertaken.

When marketing resources are tight it is easy to try a scattergun approach hoping to connect to as many people as possible in one fell swoop. This is not marketing orthodoxy.

It may be worth making one important audience your be all and end all means that everything is orientated to one audience – the choice of marketing option, the creative, the copy and the distribution.

If you’ve tried this tell us how it went.

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Marketing staple limited in US

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Thankfully we don’t get them here too often but in the US they are marketing de rigeur. We speak of Robo calls – automated, annoying, pre-recorded phone calls commonly from political candidates, charities and big financial brands. Election years create a tsunami of such calls.

Calls banned? How will I find work at my age?

Former Prime Minister John Howard attracted broad criticism for using the technique in 2004. The Austalian Youth Climate Coalition tried aiming the robots at the pollies in 2010.

Anyhow the US Federal Communications Commission has surprisingly limited the use of the technique. Why? Well how would you like to come home to find this message on your voicemail? Oi vay.

 

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Marketing bridges to cross

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Having recently talked marketing with over 200 nonprofit and community groups in 24 hours (no, not one at a time silly) we have some thoughts on the many marketing bridges nonprofits must cross if they are to get results.

marketing advice for nonprofits

Keep walkin'

Bridge #1: marketing at all. Most nonprofits don’t have marketing in their DNA. They are service providers with little shortage of demand – hardly the sort of organisation that lives or dies on its ability to win hearts, minds and wallets. Some organisations see marketing as extra-curricular, unnecessary, even tawdry. Such organisations are less likely to survive than those with a healthy attitude to marketing. The nonprofits that market themselves best see themselves as campaigners, advocates and spokespeople. Why bother marketing? Well would you like more and better donors, volunteers, staff, access to policymakers?

Bridge #2: changing the status quo. No change equals no improvement. You have to assess what you are currently doing and make some changes. Do you really need four quarterly printed newsletters? Why not go down to two printed editions and introduce an eNewsletter? What do you mean you don’t offer your expert opinion to media? Why not expose yourself to hundreds of thousands of potential staff, volunteers and donors? Why couldn’t you offer your clients as public speakers in suitable forums? Many changes to make.

free advice on marketing

Yes, this is a real bridge. Cross it.

Bridge #3: fear of over-exposure. Some nonprofits – usually the low-profile ones – worry that aggressive marketing will see them wear out their welcome with their audiences. That should be their problem! Who cares if some people tire of your eNewsletter and unsubscribe? These people don’t care about you anyway. Who cares if your peer organisations feel that you get too much media spotlight? That’s their problem – you will score the benefits that come with media profile.

Do you think corporate organisations give a damn about overexposure? Every two-bit bank, mobile phone company, vitamin maker, dishwashing liquid spruiker and real estate hawker pummels us day and night with TV advertising, direct mail, street signs, events and more. Do they suffer from this? Aparently not. They spend huge money to bombard us with little fear of over-exposure. The thought that nonprofits will suffer a backlash over our paltry marketing efforts is laughable.

marketing tips and advice

March across Britain's most recently completed piece of infrastructure.

Bridge#4: identifying, segmenting and understanding your audiences. How many key audiences do you have? What can you tell us about them? What can you tell us about what they think of you and your issues? How do you appeal to each of them specifically? What marketing option is best for each of them? Marketing is all about audiences, so get to know yours. Then pursue them ruthlessly.

Bridge #5: spending some money. Many marketing options need just time and forethought but yes, some need moolah. Some expenditure will gain you profile, closer relationships and a better image. Some might even make the financial investment back. There’s no better example of this than starting an eNewsletter. A better graphic designer may be worth the spend. Likewise a pro copywriter. Likewise some stock photos. The best money you can spend is on a smart, savvy, hungry and humble marketer.

nonprofit publicity advice

Walkabout over this to the other side.

Bridge #6: hiring someone appropriate. Do you hire accountants to do your accounting? Builders to build your buildings? Do you see where we are headed with this? You need to hire the best professional marketer your money can buy. This person will have experience in marketing causes, courses, ideas, events and the like via a range of marketing options – media, publications and online communications. As long as you have some inappropriate person part-timing, job-sharing and corner-cutting you will get commensurate results.

Bridge #7: going wholeheartedly online. Your website probably treats visitors with disdain. A new, better website will be the cornerstone of a more marketing-orientated you. Likewise, social media and eNewsletters which all offer fast, free marketing options.

Bridge #8: being interesting. How far will you go to gain attention? A witty headline, an eye-catching image? You’ll need all that and much more to gain people’s time in a crowded marketplace. Will you make strong statements, bold claims and make them loudly? You should. Note – being informative and well-written is not being interesting.

 

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Nonprofits and branding: a Gruen lesson

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branding advice for nonprofits

Seen one, seen them all?

Hootville’s leader Brett de Hoedt is a small man in many ways. He refuses to watch The Gruen Transfer for one. Why? He’s too jealous of the host and panellists to tune in. He did however catch a few minutes of last night’s episode which he felt were valuable.

Condoms were being discussed when host Wil Anderson wondered aloud why more condom commercials didn’t simply highlight the benefits of condoms – mainly that they stop unwanted pregnancies and disease.

One panellist responded: “Well all condoms do that, so a commercial promoting those features would be a commercial for the whole product category – not the specific brand.” (Yes we are paraphrasing a tad.)

In other words unless a brand (Durex, Ansell) stakes out a particular position for itself – thinnest, most natural, funnest, sexiest – it does nothing to distinguish itself from other brands in the category (condoms). That would be a big waste of money.

Hmmm…how many nonprofits do a good job of distingishing themselves from other brands (Beyond Blue, Mental Illness Fellowship Australia, Sane) in the category (mental illness services)?

Example #2: Does Wilderness Society separate itself from other brands (ACF, Greenpeace, LandCare) in its category (environmental organisations)? Or are its efforts just vaguely supporting the category?

Goodness – have a look at your efforts and send us your observations.

And puh-lease don’t write some bollocks about how nonprofits are too precious to be considered ‘brands’ in a ‘category’ and that any publicity is good for us all etc. It’s time to grow up and beyond that.

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