Tue, January 29 2008

The Piggy-Back Principle

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

What a Ham, by Mostlysunny1 via flickr

A great nonprofit leader I know recently saw a cool online quiz that he could appropropriate for his own work, and his reaction was “Great.  I love piggy backing.”

It occured to me how rarely I hear this.

In our sector, we tend to focus on how little we have and how much more we need.  But we would need less if we got more creative about piggy backing - for example, aligning with an issue or news already getting a lot of attention, or riding a demographic trend, or using (with permission, of course) great content developed by other entities.  Not much money for audience research?  Read other research - or as my buddy Craig LeFebvre says, look at campaigns directed at your audience that work.  (Not just those in your issue area—but those that target your audience.  The underlying values and messaging could be piggy back material.)

In other words, never build when you can borrow.

Before you start from scratch on anything, spend an hour seeing what’s already there, what can help you and what stands in your way.  Act accordingly.

Here are some marketplace forces - aka potential piggies - to get you started:

1. Is there a demographic, lifestyle, social, health, natural or economic trend that we can ride?  What trends might bring attention to our cause?
2. Are laws or regs in place that could help us succeed?
3. Is there research being released that is attracting publicity and bolsters our case?
4. What’s got the eye of the media?  Can we play off that story?
5. What companies benefit if we succeed?  Can we co-opt them?
6. Who else is talking about our issue and how could they help influence our audiences?
7. What content or material has already been developed that we can use?

An example of piggy backing in my book is the Five a Day campaign.  That highly successful campaign to get us eating more fruits and veggies piggy backed onto the increasing number of people overwhelmed by their busy lifestyles by packaging fruits and veggies so they were more easy and convenient to consume - the original fast food.

Another example is Network for Good’s own Learning Center.  We didn’t start from scratch in creating a site with original articles - we feature the work of the many smart writers and bloggers who’ve already written great material.

The lesson?  Piggy backing often makes us more effective.  It’s not about scrimping and stealing.  It’s about riding on the back of what has already been built and has momentum in the marketplace.


comments powered by Disqus

<< Back to main