Tue, December 04 2012

When it pays to be an un-hip marketer

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Are you uncool and old school?  I am, apparently - at least my teenage daughter tells me so.

The good news is, sometimes it pays to be un-hip.  Especially if you work in marketing. 

I was reminded of this by Dorie Clark’s recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Blog.  As she notes, sometimes the pursuit of shiny new things leads us away from basic marketing principles that work best.

She says, ask yourself:

1. What is everyone else doing — and how can I do the opposite?  Being trendy makes you less of a standout.  If every other charity is sending out calendars to thank supporters, buck the trend and give donors personal calls, for example.  If everyone is zigging, zag.

2. What worked in the past that’s been abandoned — and why?  Some old ideas should not come back.  Like the below fashion statement which I first saw via Jeffrey Forster.  But we often stop effective marketing programs because staff change, people find it dull or someone drops the ball. 

Take a tour of your past and brush the dust off what worked before.  It might work well again.

3. What circumstances have changed that might allow for new opportunities?  Are there old ideas whose time has come?

I’m with Dorie Clark.  It’s not a bad thing to eschew the shiny and embrace the dusty.  Especially if it’s marketing gold. But not if it’s double denim.

  • Comment: (3)   


I love this post, because I’ve always said I’m not sexy. I’m slow, methodical, planting seeds, and building relationships.

And in today’s instant world, it’s nice to hear that there can be value in that approach, too.

Posted by Sharon Lipinski  on  12/04  at  08:57 AM

We are a fledgling non profit professional theatre company in West Bloomfield. We opened our doors in November, 2011.
Our first show of our first production was sold out.  We seat 150 people. We have averaged 40 since then.  Other than free publicity from the press releases sent to the media, and a 2,500 person mailing list, how can we better market ourselves?
I’m a non techie, to my children’s dismay. My co founder is a techie.

Posted by Barbie Weisserman  on  12/04  at  02:00 PM

Barbie, those are big questions.  I strongly recommend you check out Network for Good’s resource center, which has information on how to build a list, how to write an appeal, how to cultivate donors, etc.  You can find it at fundraising123.org

Posted by Katya Andresen  on  12/04  at  05:31 PM

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