Making The Marketing Machine Work For You

Non-profit marketing imageMarketing is one of those areas in life where everyone thinks he or she is an expert. We’ve all had experience — starting with the creation of signs for our lemonade stand to determining how a Superbowl ad should be re-written to creating postcards or flyers for our favorite nonprofit. But, the reason there are so many companies that make billions of dollars creating and delivering successful marketing campaigns is that these companies understand the difference between a solid marketing plan and a few flyers talking about an event.

This article will help you think through the steps in developing a successful marketing plan for your organization.

What are your marketing goals?
While each organization has its own focus all effective marketing accomplishes three distinct goals:

1. Positioning in front of prospective constituents
2. Serving the needs of current and former constituents
3. Deepening the connection of all audiences for the organization (e.g. participating in more programs, attending events more frequently, using more resources, etc…)

It should be noted that two out of three marketing goals are focused on individuals and families already involved in your organization – an audience that is much easier to target than the potential population.

What are the elements of a marketing plan?
* Newsletters
* Website
* Postcards
* Brochures
* Direct mail
* Mailings
* Postings on bulletin boards
* Telephone trees with breaking news
* Advertising (staff openings)
* Media/press relations
* Magnets, mouse pads and other branded giveaways
* Any connection between you and the world that offers information

If we view the elements of a marketing plan with our goals in mind, we can evaluate which goals are furthered by publishing your newsletter, website or even the branded giveaways. We recommend creating a worksheet (with or without our help) to aid in the evaluation of your efficiency in each area. You should include your needs and a timeline on your worksheet to help your scheduling as well.

One last list to get you thinking – Why do you need marketing?
Marketing can improve every aspect of your organization:
* Membership
* Annual fundraising campaign
* Capital campaign
* Volunteer recruiting
* School enrollment/retention
* Attendance at events (weekly, monthly or annually)
* Partner organizations for programs
* Group membership/retention
* Employment and hiring

When you are examining your marketing plan take a close, but objective, look at each element you currently employ. Make sure to reinforce those current efforts that serve your goals and objectives and modify those that do not. Above all, do not discard—just for the sake of change—what works and do not retain a favored methodology that no longer serves your current purpose.

Picking up each marketing element and questioning what you would like someone to say, think or do as a result of an encounter with your marketing material is a great way to start. How to end? You don’t. You allow your marketing material to grow with each turn your organization makes. Evolution leads to growth and is, after all, what helps us thrive.