- Fri, May 11 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
None of us works in a vacuum where we can command the full attention of our various audiences. Instead, we work within a messy context of people, ideas, events, and environmental factors that all affect our ability to be heard. This context is our marketplace. Marketplace forces can undermine or advance our mission, affect our relevance to our audiences, increase or decrease our advocacy power and visibility, and make or break our fundraising efforts. The better we understand them, the greater our chances of harnessing them to work in our favor.
We need to constantly be on the alert for what might influence our audience and enhance or hurt our ability to reach people. Our audience’s actions are affected by demographic, lifestyle, social, cultural, health, natural, economic, infrastructural, legal, scientific, technological, political, media, business, and competitive factors. We need to take a walk in our audiences’ shoes and consider which of these forces affect their likelihood of taking action. Then identify those we can use to our advantage, those in our way, those that require partners to leverage, and those that we cannot control.
What am I talking about?
—I used to consult with the nonprofit Aging with Dignity, which promotes advance care planning and their Five Wishes living will. When brain-damaged Terri Schiavo dominated the news in 2005, the constant media attention profoundly affected people’s sense of urgency about creating a living will and naming a health care agent. Because Aging with Dignity was smart and nimble, it connected with this tragic story and gave people a means of avoiding such a fate.
Do you go off and make your marketing plan in a closed environment, or do you design your marketing plan around areas of opportunity that may arise in your marketplace? Do more of the latter. It’s easier to piggy-back onto something with momentum that to try to create momentum where there is none.