- Tue, November 27 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Some weeks ago, after a speech I gave in North Carolina, Robyn Fehrman came up to me and told me about how she spends her free time. By day, Robyn is a program officer at the Triangle Community Foundation. But in her spare time, she volunteers to raise awareness about homelessness in Durham, NC and raise funds for Genesis Home (a transitional shelter for homeless families with children) through the Tri to End Homelessness campaign. For ten months, she’s been tirelessly raising thousands of dollars with her sister for the cause.
I’m thankful there are people like Robyn in the world.
Here’s her story:
As triathletes and community advocates, my sister Rachel Dirito and I dedicated our 2007 triathlon season to supporting Genesis Home and speaking out. We documented our year on our blog and raised nearly $6,000 - $4,000 of which was matched by a local private foundation. In March, we specifically mentioned Network for Good’s 6 Degrees program in our post.
Since I’m a big advocate of getting people like Robyn behind your cause, I asked her to share some advice about how she became an effective superactivist. Here’s her story—and her advice. Wouldn’t you know, it’s the same basic stuff that works so well. Keep these basics in mind as you head into the final stretch of fundraising season 2007. We forget them too often!
We found success in the old stand-bys of (1) Asking for money! (2) Thanking donors promptly with handwritten thank you notes and (3) Letting donors know how their money has been used.
We also communicated a lot. We recommend that you:
1. Use Many Channels: Create buzz by telling your story through multiple “genres.” The Tri to End Homelessness campaign was anchored at our BLOG; however, we also EMAILED friends and family, wore BUTTONS that said “Ask Me About Genesis Home” during training runs/ rides and at races throughout the year, wrote a story for Genesis Home’s NEWSLETTER, met IN PERSON with folks, and sent in stories to LOCAL NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES.
2. Help folks find a personal connection to your issue. For many folks, homelessness is something they would rather just not think about or something that they have a hard time connecting with. We became that connection through telling our own personal stories about why this issue was important to us.
3. Update folks about your goals. Having a blog helped us stay in touch with our donors/ audience and allowed us to regularly update them on both our fundraising and triathlon goals. These regular updates helped to cultivate ongoing connection.
So listen to Robyn - don’t forget to ask, thank and show. And communicate often, in many ways.
In honor of her cause, I’m posting this video:
- Mon, November 19 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
This is a great photo from the Dogwood Alliance.
Here’s the story behind it. During the MarketingProfs Book Club, I posed this question to all the savvy marketers in the club:
One of the points I made in the book is that good marketers seek open-minded moments for delivering their message—moments when people are in a time, place or state of mind when our message is most relevant and attractive. Nonprofits, because of their limited budgets, can make their promotion dollars go further if they spend them on open-minded moments. Better to concentrate and inundate with a message than to “spray and pray.”
So here’s my question. It seems this holiday, we might have some kind of open-minded moment for charities that protect our health, products and environment. Aquadots, toxic Barbies, Bay Area oil spills and global warming are prompting consumers to think more consciously about how they spend their money in the store. How can charities also gain attention at a time like this?
I got a great response from Scot from the Dogwood Alliance:
An example from our organization during the holiday season… We are currently running a campaign to tackle the packaging problem. The average American throws out 300 lbs of packaging per year. We our wasting our natural resources and degrading our environment to make packaging that is not even an integral part of the actual product.
So this holiday season, we are running a contest asking people to submit photos of over-packaging during the holidays. We will create a slide show of the photos that we post on line and ask our audience to vote on the best ones.
For us, this is a great way to raise awareness about an important issue, tap into the holidays and have fun… a win-win-win combo (we hope!).
The above picture is last year’s winner. And it’s a winning example of using open-minded moments.
This holiday, if your organization has anything to do with safety, health or the environment, tap into consumer and media attention to these issues with some timely tie-ins. As I like to say, it’s easier to attach your cause to something that has buzz rather than trying to generate buzz for your cause.
- Fri, November 16 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
If you’re a procrastinator and are only just revving up your online fundraising, don’t worry. The best is yet to come! Most people do their online giving at the end of December, so you still have time for success.
I’d like to point you to the Procrastinator’s Guide to Year-End Fundraising by Sea Change Strategies and Care2. You should definitely read the whole thing, but in the meantime, here are their ten steps to better online fundraising, PLUS my own three additions. What I love about the list from Sea Change is that it doesn’t just tell you how to get a gift - it shows you how to keep the donor in a lasting relationship with you.
1. Inspire your donors. Re-connect them with the passion and vision that inspired them to give in the first place.
2. Blaze trails to your donate page. Make it easy for donors to give by making it easy to find your site and your Donate button.
3. Optimize your donate form. Make it short, simple, easy, safe and inspiring.
4. Test drive your online donation process. Sit down a few friends and watch them try to give. Learn. Fix problems.
5. Create a “Why Donate” page that makes a case for why someone should care - and explains what happens when someone gives. Endorsements and ratings are good.
6. Thank your donor at least three times - when they complete a donation, when they get your email receipt and when they get your full thank-you via email a few days later.
7. Provide a warm welcome - an orientation email is a nice idea!
8. Launch a cultivation plan. Re-inspire your donors monthly and listen to waht they say. Build a relationship through conversation, not appeals.
9. Measure and test throughout the year.
10. Avoid procrastinating next year! Have a plan. (Yeah, right.)
Katya’s three bonus tips:
Last night, I asked a group of folks in the MarketingProfs Book Club a question: When is the last time you gave? The answers revealed three important themes to include in your fundraising thinking:
1. People want vivid examples of how their donations will be used.
So if your audience has given before, tell them all the great things they’ve done - then all the wonderful additional things more support will bring.
As one MarketingProf member pointed out, “I give money regularly to groups where I have been able to see what they accomplish. I’m not impressed by marketing appeals, what interests me is being able to see the impact in action.”
2. Emotion motivates. People are more inclined to give if the cause is local or if they know the person asking for help.
This holiday, ask some of your biggest supporters to invite their friends and family to support you. The passion they feel for your cause is incredibly compelling to their circles of influence.
Bloggers may be a good target. Says one MarketingProf member: “One of the things that I enjoy about blogging is that as the readership and influence of my blog grows, I have a greater ability to help promote ideas and causes. I’ve noticed that many of the blogs I read also make a point to promote their favorite causes and charities from time to time. This of course costs us nothing, but I think it greatly benefits charities and causes, many of which aren’t very social-media savvy.”
3. Trust is sacred. Be honest and transparent about your programs, your spending, your impact—everything. As SeaChange advises,
show exactly where the money goes and what the donor’s investment will do. And then report back on that investment, again and again
- Tue, November 13 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
The main point of my presentation was that all nonprofits need to apply social marketing to everything they do - not just programs or outreach but also partner relationships, training trainers, media relations and of course fundraising.
So what is “social marketing?” Well, Craig provided the best list I’ve seen in a long time about what should define this field. I’m going to share this list in the interests of encouraging us all (myself included) to strive toward these principles in whatever we do in the philanthropic sector.
Here is “Craig’s List”of social marketing principles:
Focusing on audiences, their wants and needs, aspirations, lifestyle, freedom of choice. And not just those audiences identified by our epi friends as having the greatest need, or by our pr colleagues as the low hanging fruit, but the people who are crucial to the success of our programs - the volunteers, business leaders, distributors, partner organizations, media representatives and policy makers to name a few.
Targeting aggregated behavior change – priority segments of the population, not individuals, are the focus of programs. Social marketing must be based on theoretical models that guide the selection of the most relevant determinants, priority audiences, objectives, interventions and evaluations for population-based behavior change such as theories of diffusion of innovations, social networks, community assets, political economics and social capital. My belief is that the major reason we cannot achieve public health impact for many of our interventions like HIV prevention is that we do not design interventions for scale, we design them with models of behavior change that are most effective with individuals.
Designing behaviors that fit their reality. We need to bring to behavior change the same insight, thought and rigor that designers bring to their work in developing products, services and experiences. If more social marketers thought like designers, and didn’t act as technicians plugging the latest scientific finding into their ‘message machine or wheel’ my hunch is we’d be more successful - and sleep better. Behaviors, not just messages, need to be tailored for people’s real lives - not the one we imagine or theorize they have, if we think about them at all.
Rebalancing incentives and costs for maintaining or changing behaviors. Though you might say ‘gotcha! back to pros and cons’ it’s a bigger idea than that. Rebalancing doesn’t mean convincing a person to use a new set of weights in their personal equation to calculate risks and benefits of acting in certain ways. People LEARN new behaviors and what I am mystified by is how complex theories are dragged out to explain and try to modify behaviors when simple learning principles like what gets associated with what and what gets rewarded and punished (or not) are often the elegantly simple solution. Rebalancing also means adjusting the environment, policies and marketplace whenever possible to shift power to the individual to have freedom to choose and basic human rights. We need to start asking ourselves questions like: where do inequities in health status stem from? Is income generation a prerequisite for health improvement in impoverished communities? How do we allow markets to work for the poor and vulnerable?
Creating opportunities and access to try, practice and sustain behaviors. We must take distribution systems, in all their forms and expressions, as seriously - if not more so - as the messages and creative products we produce. People do not think or choose their way to new behaviors - they must have access to the information they need to make informed choices (in ways, places and times that literacy, cultural and other considerations should inherently inform: relevance should never be an after thought in social marketing). And they must have the opportunities to try new behaviors, practice them and then be able to sustain them. Behavior change is not a one-off proposition.
Communicating these behaviors, incentives and opportunities to priority audiences and letting people experience them. ALL social marketing programs are mired in the last century when it comes to models of communication. The reflexive urge to continue with top down, command and control techniques will continue for awhile (aka Source - Message - Channel - Receiver or inoculation models). I hold out that the technological revolutions we are experiencing in communications will lead to the adoption of modern communication models to frame our thinking and activities - even if many have to change while kicking and screaming or longing for ‘the good ol’ days.’ And then there are the questions we started asking 5 years about how do we apply what we know about positioning and brands to develop powerful and sustained behavior change programs, and not just logos and tag lines or ... mission statements.
- Tue, November 13 2007
- Filed under: Fun stuff
In an act of shameless and irresistible self-promotion, I simply must share the following photos sent by MarketingProfs book club members. After the very challenging labor of love of writing the book, it’s a delight to see marketers holding it… and smiling. (As opposed to less enthusiastic poses.) Seriously. Thank you Mario Vellandi and Mark Goren for making my year! And thank you to book club host CK for sharing the pictures. You are the best.
Whether you smile or not at Robin Hood Marketing, I’d like to know! Air your honest opinion and share your marketing insights. Discussion begins tomorrow (Tuesday) and I’d love to hear from you. Join us tomorrow and comment at MarketingProfs.
- Sun, November 11 2007
- Filed under: Websites and web usability
By Jono Smith
A few months ago, Network for Good invited
Mark Rovner to present a session called “Website 101 for Fundraisers” as part of our Nonprofit 911 free training series. Mark had some great advice, and we decided to give it a try on our own website at http://www.networkforgood.org/npo. Here’s the before picture:
So what’s wrong with this page? Where should I start?
• First of all, there’s no evidence of what Network for Good does—“build strong relationships with supporters”—what does that mean?
• As you can see, there are four calls to action, but none of them are very compelling: get started, fundraise, communicate, & strategize. Are you getting sleepy?
• There’s also a bland image that is the essence of bad stock photography. Do these two people look like they have anything to do with a nonprofit?
Here’s the refresh. And while it’s only been live for less than a month, we’ve already seen a substantial increase in lead generation and conversion.
• The first improvement you will notice is our positioning: “Affordable & Easy Online Fundraising.” It couldn’t be more clear what we do.
• We’ve also improved the calls-to-action. While we increased the size of the “Get Started” button, more importantly we crafted a teaser “Average Online Gift…” that is generating higher click-through rates on the button than in the previous version.
• The other three calls-to-action: free trial, get fundraising tips, and next steps help us appeal to a wide range of audiences, whether you are looking for a demo, a free trial, training, a newsletter, etc.
All in all, with just a few hours of work, we’ve given our website a makeover that is paying huge dividends.
- Thu, November 08 2007
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
In my book, I talk a lot about open-minded moments. What’s an open-minded moment? It’s a time, place or state of mind when people are most likely to hear your message, find it relevant and act upon it. April is an open-minded month for TurboTax marketers, for example. Miller cleverly realized 5 pm is an open-minded moment for potential beer drinkers, so they branded happy hour as Miller Time. “Welcome to Miller Time,” the beer maker said to the cattle ranchers, the stock brokers, the welders, the paper pushers.
Guess what? It’s now Miller Time for the fundraisers among us. This is our open-minded time of year, because up to half of all charitable giving for most nonprofits is going to happen in the coming weeks. People are feeling the spirit of the season AND the need to get that tax deduction in 2007. This is the open-minded moment when it’s easiest to convert someone to a gift. It’s when we should spend the most time, effort and money getting our message out, because it’s far easier to ask when people want to give than when they’re not even thinking about giving.
AND WE HAVE A WHOLE NEW WAY TO DO IT this year - via social media.
I’ve been asked via Britt and NetSquared, how does the “social web” that’s exploded in the past year figure into your giving season? How can nonprofits use web 2.0 to reach and inspire donors?
My answer is this: it all comes back to that Miller Time factor. Not only is now the right time of year to be asking, social media gives us the right PLACE to be asking—especially if we get someone else to carry our message. Getting our message into the mouths of supporters talking to their friends and family on the social networks, blogs, etc. where they congregate is creating an open-minded moment within an open-minded moment: We give when people we know ask us to, and we’re most likely to give in December. I just finished a whole White Paper on this topic with my colleague Stacie Mann, and here are three suggestions from that paper:
1. You need to do all your normal outreach (mail, email, etc.) in the coming weeks and then do a final big burst of fundraising online the very last week of the year. The heaviest giving days online are December 30 and 31. I say this because while social media outreach is important, it cannot and should not replace other fundraising.
2. Ask your most ardent supporters to spread the word about you in their social networks. Make it easy for your supporters to integrate your cause into MySpace, Change.org and Facebook because people are more likely to act this time of year.
3. Create a section of your website that cultivates these activists, invites them to create campaigns on your behalf, and explains how to spread the word.
4. Identify the bloggers who are talking about your issues and research their posts. Send them customized emails about their writing and explain why your organization’s campaign is relevant or compelling to them - and their readers.
5. Keep listening for unexpected open-minded moments online. Set up a Google alert for your issue or organization so that if people start talking about you, you can immediately reply with a way for them to take action, wherever they are online.
- Wed, November 07 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I taught a class at Georgetown yesterday afternoon for a group of students of the marketing guru Alan Andreasen (no relation, except in terms of our love of marketing). I spoke about nonprofit marketing, Network for Good’s business model and social media. And I found myself saying the same thing I always say, over and over: focus on the audience, listen to the audience, then engage the audience in conversation. Our work is not to drop pamphlets or preach or pontificate. Our job is to connect.
While I was visiting, Alan gave me his new book and an old article, from August 1989. It’s called “Communicating by Listening” and it is timely as ever. Listening before speaking has been the key to success long before the advent of consumer control or social media.
He says good marketers listen to what an audience wants, because you can’t make customers do what you want - you can only get them to do what they think is in their best interests. Good PR people get that too, he notes - they listen to reporters and understand their needs and wants before pitching them a story, because the story has to suit the reporter and their interests.
As a former reporter, amen to that.
How can you tell when you’ve drifted too far from listening? He gives you five red flags. I like them. Hang them up on a wall and try not to make these mistakes - number one especially. We all tend to do that because we love our cause. REMEMBER:
1. You’re in trouble if you see your product (or your cause) as inherently desireable. It’s not.
2. You’re in trouble if you see lack of success as the target audience’s fault. It’s your fault.
3. You are in very dangerous territory if you give customer research very low priority. You’ll fail if you don’t know your audience. Think you can’t afford to listen? I have two answers for that. First, you can’t afford not to. Second, read this.
4. You are in trouble if you think marketing is the same thing as communications. If you do, you’ll think that information alone will prompt action. It won’t.
5. You should never treat all customers alike. One strategy for everyone is not enough.
Thanks Alan for reminding us to listen and showing us how. We can’t succeed without it.
- Wed, November 07 2007
- Filed under: Cause-related marketing
I don’t put a lot of stock in focus group research - so often we ask the wrong questions (like, “what would get you to support our issue?”) and so often we get the wrong answers (what people think they should say). I’ve always been intrigued by ethnographic research, where you actually watch and witness consumers in their element, making decisions. A tax preparation software company once told me how they sent researchers to hang out for hours in people’s houses, watching them prepare their taxes amid the chaos of their daily lives - searching for lost receipts, sitting at the computer with a cat in their lap, getting confused by certain steps. They learned an awful lot, which doubtlessly led to a better product.
I want to call your attention to some fantastic ethnographic research about just how consumers react to “green” products and claims, courtesy of my friends at BBMG and partners Global Strategy Group and Bagatto. You can watch consumers literally think out loud on this page, and it’s fascinating.
What you’ll see are a group of very sophisticated consumers, which should come as no surprise if you’re a savvy marketer. Consumers know full well that corporations are jumping on the green, healthy, politically correct bandwagon in droves and with varying degrees of true commitment. They will scrutinize corporate claims and actions. If you’re a company that claims to be “good,” you’d better follow through fully.
I think the same goes for charities—saying something is true is not enough. You have to show it. Prove your need and impact by regularly reporting on what donor money did and put a human face to your results… or else.
Authenticity, transparency and tangible results are absolutely essential for all organizations today.
BBMG’s Conscious Consumer report found all this, and more:
Most consumers (9 in 10) self-identify as “conscious consumers.”
They value health and safety, honesty, convenience, relationships and doing good.
Health and Safety. Conscious consumers seek natural, organic and unmodified products that meet their essential health and nutrition needs. They avoid chemicals or pesticides that can harm their health or the planet. They are looking for standards and safeguards to ensure the quality of the products they consume.
Honesty. Conscious consumers insist that companies reliably and accurately detail product features and benefits. They will reward companies that are honest about processes and practices, authentic about products and accountable for their impact on the environment and larger society. Making unsubstantiated green claims or over promising benefits risks breeding cynicism and distrust.
Convenience. Faced with increasing constraints on their time and household budgets, conscious consumers are practical about purchasing decisions, balancing price with needs and desires and demanding quality. These consumers want to do what’s easy, what’s essential for getting by and make decisions that fit their lifestyles and budget.
Relationships. Who made it? Where does it come from? Am I getting back what I put into it? These consumers want more meaningful relationships with the brands in their lives. They seek out opportunities to support the local economy when given the chance, want to know the source of the products they buy and desire more personal interactions when doing business.
Doing Good. Finally, conscious consumers are concerned about the world and want to do their part to make it a better place. From seeking out environmentally friendly products to rewarding companies’ fair trade and labor practices, they are making purchasing choices that can help others. These consumers want to make a difference, and they want brands to do the same.
And, of course, personal is paramount (as always):
The most pressing issues by far are those that most directly affect consumers – safe drinking water (90%), clean air (86%) and cures for diseases like cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s (84%). By comparison, only 63% of those surveyed described the more abstract issue of global warming as an important issue.
Finally, people are willing to do be “conscious consumers” in these areas, BUT they need us to make it easy for them. Remember how I’m always babbling about making it easy as possible for people to take action? Well, this research backs that up:
Consumers willingly engage in “easy” behaviors, such as recycling cans, bottles and newspapers (55% always) and using energy efficient appliances (46% always), but they often fail to adopt a plethora of more “demanding” behaviors like using public transportation, carpooling or purchasing carbon offsets.
Don’t forget - keep that call to action simple and easy. You can build to bigger actions later. Start with baby steps now. But don’t treat the consumer like a baby. They are clearly smarter than that.
Thanks BBMG for reminding us of that valuable lesson.
- Fri, November 02 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Katya’s note: This is Part Two of a post by Robert Dickman (left) and Richard Maxwell (right), master storytellers and authors of a new book called The Elements of Persuasion. You can read Part One here.
Each of the five elements of a story (discussed yesterday here) offers unique problems in a not for profit story. For example – by definition not for profit volunteers are passionately connected to their cause. Passion is like fire. It is the energy that drives the story, but if it is too intense it drive listeners away. Passion needs to be carefully modulated to work its magic.
The choice of a Hero is often difficult for not for profits. In our commitment to make a difference we naturally see our clients as the heroes of their story (and in one sense they are) but they may not be the best point of view from which to tell it which is what we mean by the story element Hero. For example: It is hard to identify directly with suffering. A good not for profit story knows that and makes adjustments. Instead of focusing solely on the victim of abuse, the story might be told from the point of view of a mentor (maybe a former victim) who came to the victims aid. If you are looking for volunteers or funds that is who you want your listeners to identify with.
The struggle with the Antagonist provides the emotional hook of most stories (think of the look on a starving kitten’s face and tell me you don’t want to give to the Animal Shelter) but Antagonist need to be kept at a size where we know we will win the struggle. Being overwhelmed with the problem is a big turn off (as well as a major cause of volunteer burn out) so framing your story a doable step at a time is crucial.
A good story always gives us a few facts (not many) that make us Aware of the world in a new way. When I find out I can feed a child for only few dollars a month, or that changing a few light bulbs will be my part in taking the equivalent of millions of cars off the road to fight global warming I get inspired and want to pass the message along. Word of mouth works. Getting others to tell you story for you is the best use of your time.
Finally, don’t be shy. What you do changes the world. It does. So let us have closure in your story. Let us see how you are transforming things for the better. It is the end of every good story, and leaves us ready to here your next one.
- Thu, November 01 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Katya’s note: Pictured here are Robert Dickman (left) and Richard Maxwell (right), the authors of a new book called The Elements of Persuasion. This book, which helps you use storytelling to do all of your work better, is a favorite of mine. I liked it so much that I cited it heavily in Network for Good’s recent Nonprofit 911 Call on Storytelling, which you can listen to for free here. I invited the The Elements of Persuasion co-authors to do a guest post here at my blog talking about how their book can help nonprofits, and they not only agreed, they’ve done TWO guest posts. Very nice! So enjoy this first segment today - the second will run tomorrow. They are also bloggers, so be sure to check out their regular musings here.
As important as having the right story is to any organization, it is even more important in the not for profit arena. There are lots of reasons for this. Turning people on to your issue requires a great elevator pitch that doesn’t seem like one because you never know when you will run into a good volunteer or a donor ready to give. A good story helps people see that your issue is their issue too. And word of mouth is both the cheapest way to get your message out and the most persuasive form of fund raising. The right story, well told can make all the difference.
In our book The Elements of Persuasion we define a story as “a fact wrapped in an emotion that compels us to take an action that transforms our world.” A good story needs to be both emotional and truthful to work.
To be a great story it needs to use what we have identified as the Five Story Elements. Every successful story has all five – the PASSION with which the story is told, a HERO who provides the listener with a point of view to enter the story and see it as their own, an ANTAGONIST or problem that the Hero must overcome, a moment of AWARENESS that allows the Hero to prevail, and the TRANSFORMATION that results in the world. To find out more about these elements operate, you can read the first chapter here. It’s free.
Tomorrow: How you, the nonprofit, can use each of these five elements.
- Wed, October 31 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I gave the title of this post a goulish spin for Halloween, but Occam’s Razor is anything but scary—it’s actually our way out of hell. The hell of being misunderstood, of boring our audience, of failing to move people to action.
In case you can’t remember what Occam’s Razor means, don’t worry, I had to look it up because I suddenly had amnesia about the term today. Wikipedia explains here:
“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one.” Originally a tenet of the reductionist philosophy of nominalism, it is more often taken today as a heuristic maxim (rule of thumb) that advises economy, parsimony, or simplicity, often or especially in scientific theories.
In other words, what is simple is best - and not just for explaining science. Simplicity is key to inspiring understanding and to being understood. Simplicity is essential to good writing, design, and, of course, marketing.
Yesterday, I was “tagged” by a meme on the blog Occam’s RazR. In plain English, that means Occam’s RazR blogger Ike talked about something and then asked me to talk about that same topic. The something was “media snackers”—Internet users who:
are not in it for the “long haul”
want quick, easily digestible bits
want to consume info where they want, when they want, and how they want
Ike caters to snackers very well. That’s not surprising given the name of his blog. His question was, how do I cater to media snackers?
This is what I think: if I do my job right, every single thing I do is catered to snackers.
Everyone is a snacker in this day and age, and not just online. Who on earth has time for the equivalent of multi-course meals of information throughout the day? No one has time to read a tome on our topic, to sift through an overwrought appeal or to idly sit around and listen to us getting to the point. They may sit down for a four-course “meal” on occasion, but they are going to dine on something very important to them personally. And that something is not likely to be what we’re dishing out.
A few weeks ago, I was going to do a post that started, “My life kicks my ***.” I never got time to do it, but the point was, I am absolutely overwhelmed by all the things I need to do each day. And what I wanted to say was, I’m NOT special. I’m like 99% of the world out there, just trying to get most of what needs to be done, done, each day—and nearly never succeeding. So I try to do the important stuff and let the rest go.
If you want to communicate to someone, whether it’s website visitors, donors or your Aunt Betty, you must remember that’s how they feel. Their time on this earth is beyond valuable, and if they give us any time at all, it is our duty to use it efficiently by communicating in a way that is poetic and beautiful in its economy.
Occam’s Razor cuts deep, but not in a surgical or scientific sense. It slices straight to the heart of our work as marketers. Stick to simple language, clear ideas and concise thinking. It’s your best hope of getting a nibble.
- Wed, October 31 2007
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
Katya’s note: Pictured here is today’s Guest Star Blogger CK, who not only knows good marketing and savvy social media practices—she also apparently knows good books (note what’s in the bag) and fine footwear. CK has an excellent blog, which is where I read the following post. I asked if I could share it in its entirety with nonprofits here on my blog, especially since it is an easy guide to all her content on the topic, and she graciously agreed. I’m very pleased to share the following smarts, gathered from her experience working for and advising the for-profit world. CK also hosts the Marketing Profs Book Club, which is discussing that book in her handbag starting November 13. More information here.
In attending an event this week I promised attendees that I would feature a post to point them to some of the information we discussed.
While social media is certainly not new to everyone…newsflash!...it’s new to most people and professionals. My regular readers might have already seen this information, but, in the case you haven’t, well then it’s new to you.
Here are some of my posts centering on best practices and the core principles of social media:
Don’t pass the “Web 2.0 Go” without a guide. Learn why a guide for social media is essential right here.
What’s that you say? Learn the value of listening to social media conversations—and what you should be listening for—right here (psst: not every company needs to blog, but every company needs to be listening).
It’s about share. Learn why, through a riddle, this environment is most aptly called “The Share Economy” right here.
Bad can be good. Learn why engaging your critics and leveraging their feedback is the best move, right here.
Why blog? Find out the myriad value that marketing professionals receive through blogging in this unique collage right here (PDF version), or go here for the rich media version (that graphic on the below right is a snapshot of the piece).
No, really…why blog? An interview with me by Folio Magazine focusing on “Why Blog?” is right here.
One must modernize (or face irrelevance). In using the British monarchy as a metaphor for social media…find out why it’s important to modernize, and why it’s critical to reach out to your constituents (if you want them to like you) right here.
Please follow the rules. Looking to pitch products, services and stories to bloggers? Go forth with caution and care—as consumer and business bloggers are very savvy!—best to first read my rules right here.
Hard because it’s simple. Learn why social media is “hard because it’s simple” right here.
Your blog has a mantra? Yep, it’s right here.
Here are some books focusing on social media you might find worth your while:
Citizen Marketers: this book focuses on the word-of-mouth phenomenon of “citizen” marketers. I was fortunate enough to review several chapters of the book before it went to print and we featured it as the inaugural selection in the book club I host—a Q&A with the authors is right here.
The New Influencers: this book also features information and implications on today’s “new influencers.“I contributed an essay to this book and an interview I conducted with author Paul Gillin is right here.
Join the Conversation: this book just launched and details why companies should participate in the global conversation. Buy the book through this link here and a portion of your purchase will benefit charity.
The Age of Conversation: this book is unique in that it features over 100 chapters (1 page per chapter) by over 100 active marketing bloggers from all over the globe, including a chapter I contributed. It’s also unique in that all profits of the book benefit charity. Post about the unprecedented initiative is here. eBook, softcover or hardcover versions can be purchased here.
Enjoy marketing books? Wish you could discuss them with the authors and other marketers from the comfort of your own home or office? Now you can! Join the book club I host and created with MarketingProfs right here.
- Fri, October 26 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I got asked today, “What scares you?”
What’s downright horrifying, besides the fact that I’m in a hotel lobby that has a Kenny G CD on endless repeat, is how easy it is to fall into the missionary mode and forget to be marketers. We think people care just because we have good intentions. But here’s thing—in the words of a People magazine writer who gets a lot of pitches from charities, “NICE IS NOT ENOUGH!” That’s true, and it’s also terrifying.
Today at the well-organized, thoroughly enjoyable NC Nonprofit conference, where I was speaking, I asked people to answer the following four questions - and take a fifth step - before saying a word to anyone. Since nice is not enough, you’ve got to answer all of these for your supporters:
1. Why me? Why should people care about you, and how are you revelant to their lives, their values, their priorities?
2. What for? What do they personally get out of supporting you and what social good will result?
3. Why now? What’s so urgent about your appeal? Why should people act now?
4. Who says? How credible is the messenger? Who thinks this is worthwhile?
The four one is a new one. I’ve been talking about the first three for a few months, until I realized that in marketing today, the messenger has become even more important than the message. People look to friends and family for what to believe and how to act. We need to find many messengers speaking on our behalf to their own circles of influence.
Hence the addition of, “Who says?” I hope the answer is not just you. That would be scary.
The whole presentation is here if you’re interested!
- Thu, October 25 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
The first time I ever saw P. Diddy, he was walking down the street in Park City at Sundance with an enormous scrum of photographers and fans following him every step of the way. He’s a serious celebrity, and he’s an attention magnet. Today comes news that P. Diddy (aka Puff Daddy aka Sean John) is also a marketer:
The multimedia mogul and CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment added another position to his resume today with his announcement to take on all brand-management decisions for Diageo’s Ciroc vodka, including marketing, advertising, public relations, product placement and events.
Don’t roll your eyes. P. Diddy knows marketing. His perfume is beating the pants off J.Lo’s and SJP’s brands. Here’s the thing. He could just sit back and expect everyone to buy Ciroc because Diddy tells them to. But he’s smarter than that. Here’s what he told AdAge:
I have ... learned how to engage people and inform them. People say content is king, but only when it’s content people are interested in. I can’t make 1 million people view nothing unless it’s tagged to something they like. That’s the only way people are going to pay attention to your content.
I should have called my book P. Diddy Marketing instead of Robin Hood Marketing. Listen to Diddy. It’s not about telling people to value your cause, it’s about tagging your cause to their values.
P. Diddy Marketing: audience, audience, audience.