Wed, January 28 2009

Examples of going where the attention is

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Yesterday, dear reader Robin asked me if I had examples of my recommendation, which was: You can’t control the media - or anyone’s brain.  If you’re smart, you’ll insert your message where people are already focused.  This is especially important if you have a small marketing budget.  You need to concentrate your resources where folks are likely paying attention—or where they can take action.

One example is, I used to work as a consultant to Aging with Dignity, which promotes living wills.  During the case of Terri Schiavo, that organization attached its call to action (get a living will from us and fill it out) as a solution to the national debate on how we choose to live and die.  They got unprecedented attention because they showed how they were relevant to a story that already had everyone’s attention.

More examples here and here (see #4).

Dramatic examples of the impact of the crappy economy are good for getting media right now; solutions to surviving it get the attention of consumers.

Since Network for Good shifted nearly all our training to surviving this economic climate, we’ve TRIPLED enrollment in our trainings.

Lesson: keep it relevant!

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Mon, January 26 2009

Message placement and Michelle’s dress

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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I’ve been reading all about the Inaugural events and balls in recent days - like much of you - and I am both absorbed and appalled by the attention paid to the wonderful Michelle Obama’s wardrobe.  Absorbed, because I have to confess I do follow fashion and can’t help but be interested in it.  Appalled, because she’s so much more important than her garments - and because it’s utter fluff at a time when our country is in such a state.  But that doesn’t matter - what she wears will always be news.  It’s just the way it is.  Which got me thinking:  If everyone (especially the media) was so obsessed with her white gown at the balls, maybe she should have eschewed the beading and instead decorated the dress with sequined slogans that advance the administration’s agenda.  Imagine the PR impressions from the photos alone…

My point is, if everyone is looking one way, telling them to look elsewhere is fruitless.  You can’t control the media - or anyone’s brain.  If you’re smart, you’ll insert your message where people are already focused.

This is especially important if you have a small marketing budget.  You need to concentrate your resources where folks are likely paying attention.  In nonprofit marketing, it’s key to tie your message to what’s relevant now. 

It’s much easier to catch someone’s eye if they are already looking your direction.  Don’t be the weirdo wildly waving your hands out of their line of sight.

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Sun, January 25 2009

Transparency is the new black

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

The funds of the first bailout package—your tax money - went where?  To what end?  How are you feeling about Bernie Madoff?  How is your trust level in any financial institution?

How is the trust level in us?

As a “good organization” - aka nonprofit, you may think people trust you.  Sadly, plenty of research has suggested otherwise, for a long time.  People are skeptical about all organizations.

In this environment, everyone needs to go out of their way to be highly transparent and accountable.  Show where they money goes, in all your outreach.

Our new president is posting a lot of what he’s doing online - he knows the national mood.

Transparency is the new black, nonprofit marketeers.

You can’t show enough of it.

 

 

 

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Sun, January 25 2009

The very real perils of the pre-ask

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Last night at a dinner party, I met a lovely, lively, smart couple over great cassoulet, and they told us how they met.  Picture this: It was New Year’s.  They were at a party, they’d chatted, and as the evening grew late, he was having trouble collecting the nerve to ask her out.  So he rapidly consumed a large amount of red wine for fortification and, as she was leaving the party, he went up to her and blurted, “If I were to call you sometime and ask you out, would you go on a date with me?”

She turned to him as she was putting on her coat, and with all the aplomb of Katharine Hepburn zinging Spencer Tracy, said, “If you call me, maybe you’ll find out.”

She later told her friends she thought the pre-ask was absurd.  He later told his friends he thought he HAD asked her out, in his own way.

Thankfully, he found her work number on the Internet and asked her out with 100% clarity and conviction a few days later.  She said yes.  They’re now married.

We had a lot of laughs over the “pre-ask” which most of us agreed was not an ask at all.  Which got me thinking. 

The “pre-ask” is actually out there in all kinds of ways.  Especially in marketing.  We often pull the “pre-ask” with the assumption it will lead to a yes.  We make a goal of generating awareness, with our assumption being, “if we show how great our cause is, someday when we ask the person will say yes.”  Yep, that’s a pre-ask.

Here’s the problem: the pre-ask is wasted breath.  As shown by the witty woman in my story here, most people treat the pre-ask as a non-ask.  Any response to a pre-ask is not to be trusted.  The real answer will only come when you do ask.

Bill Novelli, from whom I learned most of what I know about nonprofit marketing, once told me the following: If your goal is life is to raise awareness, you might as well be shoveling pamphlets out of airplanes.  Be in the business of creating action, not awareness.

In this economy, with dwindling marketing budgets, don’t waste money on the pre-ask.  Unlike the couple in my story, you may not get a happy ending.  Make a great case for your cause, then make a very clear call to action.  (Tips on calls to action here.) 

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Thu, January 22 2009

What do do with bloggers, how to change minds

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

This week’s websites of the week (drumroll please….)

1. WEBINKNOW:  It’s actually a blogger you should read—David Meerman Scott, that I discovered via Jeff Brooks of Donor Power.  Read this post on WebInkNow and check out the Air Force’s system for figuring out when to engage with bloggers.  It’s really good.

2. CHANGINGMINDS:  A website with resources on the art of persuasion.  I learned of this great site when it was tweeted by Nedra of Spare Change Blog.

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