Let’s Talk Marketing Strategy

You’re a new non-profit and wondering how you’ll come up with money to support your cause, right? You’ve heard the hype about grants and loads of free federal money that are available to anyone willing to lend a helping hand in society, but have you done any serious investigation into the processes that sustain a non-profit in the long haul?

Let’s start with a few pieces of common misinformation:

Grants are sustainable.

This is far from the truth. Grant funding is like a crutch. The whole idea behind setting aside a chunk of money is to help an organization establish a project or keep an impactful project in place when times are tough. Grant money isn’t intended to sustain an organization fully.

Grants are available for everyone.

Most grant money is available to government entities and non-profit organizations. If an individual or for-profit business, chances are your grant search is going to be grueling. Not to mention, probably spend more resource applying for the money than receive IF you get funded. Therefore, seeking grant money is a largely ineffective marketing approach for almost every non-profit organization.

Grants are available for everything.

Grant money for specific causes that advance a social mission. Federal money for very specific and foundation money is set aside to advance a specific purpose set forth by that foundation. Although true that a foundation may support minority-owned businesses, the competition is fierce. There are thousands of people just like yourself searching for that same money.

So, does that mean you should give up? Absolutely Not.

But, you should devise a strategic plan based on this information. Using a transaction cost analysis (TCA) framework, let’s look at some of the most cost-effective forms of marketing for ANY non-profit organization and then we’ll discuss how this all relates to your overall funding search. There are 6 major types of marketing for organizations with social missions:

Direct mail

Most of us associate direct mail with those little flyers we get stuffed between the newspapers or postcards offering 50% at the next department store sale. direct mail has proved to be valuable in capturing the attention of prospective donors and in following up with people who have previously donated money to a cause. Direct mail is relatively inexpensive but does not yield a huge response.

Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing constitutes a variety of techniques but is commonly associated with practices such as television, magazine, and radio advertisements where consumers are encouraged to take part in a direct call to action. Direct response marketing is expensive and relatively ineffective in reaching targeted audiences.

Catalogue Marketing

Catalogue marketing is generally an approach used by businesses that sell products or packed services but can be used by non-profit organizations that sell cause-related apparel. Although catalogue marketing has a low return rate, it has been found to increase among use of other marketing techniques.

Telephone Marketing

We’re all familiar with telemarketers-primarily the reason telephone marketing gets a bad rep but if can be a very productive means of personal selling if done properly and legally. One of the main problems with telephone marketing is the training required to ensure that all phone calls meet regulatory requirements and that the sales people themselves do a good job at representing your organization.

Personal Selling

Exactly how it sounds, personal selling is any face-to-face encounter that has the potential to turn into an investment in your cause. Face-to-face selling has a high rate of return however it requires the most resources of any marketing tactic because it requires research, scheduling, coordination, and often multiple meetings between executives.

Online Marketing

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the marketplace and it is also one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. The problem is have historically fallen behind with online trends and don’t make investments in online marketing processes, never mind an online marketing plan. For a social venture to be successful in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to avoid investing in a website and social media.

In a recent study published by Direct Marketing: An International Journal, TCA was used to measure the effectiveness of these approaches based on the level of control over direct marketing (DM) resources compared to the cost to implement each approach. Not surprisingly, the most productive forms of marketing were namely personal selling, telephone, direct mail, and online while the least cost-effective forms were direct response and catalogue. However, the findings presented in this study are consistent in that they support the use of multiple forms of marketing as the most effective approach.

What does marketing have to do with fundraising?

Most non-profits are small, and many of these organizations sustain their projects through donations from the public rather than grant funding. This means that marketing (or fundraising) is one of the most vital metrics that every organization should pay close attention to when planning how they sustain their operations, pay their employees, and build capacity. So, if we take grants off the table, we can first consider other forms of revenue generating pursuits, including:

1. Individual Pledges

2. Corporate Giving

3. Sponsorships

4. Fundraising Events

5. Products/Services

6. Major Donations

References

Mallin, M. L., & Finkle, T. A. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship and Direct Marketing. Direct Marketing: An International Journal, 1(2), 68-77. doi:10.1108/17505930710756833

Top 3 Reasons Small Businesses Fail at Marketing

I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don’t matter or marketing doesn’t matter anymore.

There are many reasons I’ve heard as to why marketing doesn’t matter: “all my business comes by referral,” “I never spent money on marketing and my business grew,” “marketing is a waste of money,” “I see no value in marketing,” “marketing is all luck so why spend money on it,” and so on.

Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:

1. Their definition of marketing is wrong

When business owners tell me that marketing doesn’t matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.

Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they’ll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.

You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer’s mind at exactly the right time.

So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer’s mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don’t want… and there is a result that they want, and they don’t have.

Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics – the way you implement your marketing. I’d argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.

2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it

Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it’s difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.

Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs – does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram – does that mean you are a social media expert?

So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?

It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.

If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on – be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.

3. They hire the wrong marketing help

There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.

There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.

Small business owners don’t hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn’t need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.

10 Services You Can Expect From a Reputed Digital Marketing Company

When you select the best SEO Company to handle your digital marketing strategies, it needs to be well experienced in all aspects of this very competitive environment, especially if they are to deliver you the goods, at the end of the day.

Innovative digital marketing

The digital media industry is always on the lookout to bring in new technology and with it technologically advanced personal communication equipment like smartphones, iPod, tablets, notebooks and other hardware.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing circles encompass a very wide spectrum of social communication networks, among which the most prolifically used are Facebook, Twitter, and other similar platforms.

These social networks integrate millions of search engine or internet users who engage in social activities at the different levels of society, but generally with common goals.

Inroads into social circles

Marketing professionals endure to take their brands into these social circles using many mediums and one used frequently is by employing effective email marketing strategies.

Ethical marketing policies

Ethics in marketing is paramount and similarly since email marketing is a very personalized medium the strategy must maintain high ethical limits which the best SEO Company should endeavor to uphold.

Aggressive marketing strategies

The SEO service provider you select must follow aggressive marketing strategies in order to help you experience proven results in the long run.

Referrals as a major tool

It is a well-documented fact referrals are an important segment in marketing, whether traditional or digital. It has been found that 70-80% of purchasing decisions are made based on referrals.

This is very much so within selected social circles and it is to take advantage of this phenomenon that email marketing has become a very effective tool in digital marketing.

Employing email marketing

The SEO company that you select would have the required databases to help you to bring the required digital marketing messages through their email marketing and other strategies employed.

Planning email strategies

Email strategies like any other marketing initiatives have to be well planned, initiated and conducted to bring the required results. Monitoring it regularly and revising it if the need be is the prerogative of the SEO service provider which would work for your brand.

Implementing effective strategies

Every marketing strategy should be qualitative and meet the set objectives of the brand. The target audience should be carefully selected and the campaign carried out. Targeting the selected audience and consistently making inroads is sure to bring results if not in the short term, could in the medium and long-term. This would primarily depend on the campaign that was carried out.

Monitoring campaigns

The advantage in digital marketing is that every campaign can be closely monitored and the behavior patterns studied for deficiencies and if so corrective measures taken immediately.