- Wed, July 22 2009
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Credit: mcadamskerry, Flickr.
I love shoes. Especially this particular pair. (If you really like this blog, feel free to send me some in size 9.)
But I’m afraid we approach marketing like shoes. And that’s not a good thing. Bear with me, I’ll explain.
Here’s how things work too often: You devise a strategic plan. You determine the tactics to achieve it. And at the end, you say you’ll market your mission. This process is like wearing sackcloth and then putting on some fancy shoes and calling it a smashing outfit. It doesn’t work. In treating marketing as a decorative and disconnected afterthought, we deprive ourselves of the great benefits that marketing thinking can bring to the entire spectrum of our work. A marketing mindset can help us design more effective projects, better meet the needs of people we want to help, win us more resources and support and motivate people to act. Failing to incorporate marketing into the earliest stages of our work often means we’re left to market a product or idea that is so far removed from our audiences’ interests and reality that no amount of sales savvy can get people to buy. Marketing dollars should be a part of every grant proposal and budget. If money is a problem, find a corporate sponsor or pro bono help. Stretch dollars by targeting audiences and reaching them in open-minded moments. Skimping on marketing means we will end up skimping on impact.
Think of nonprofit marketing not as your shiny shoes but rather your own spine. It should be part of your organization, central to your being and essential for holding everything up. It’s not an optional body part. It runs through everything.