*Take a look at this video and get a sense of marketing and it’s effect on nonprofit organizations, specifically using this marketing professional in Lincoln.*
Getting to know Williamson:
David Williamson makes a lot of great points in his essay, Marketing and Communications in Nonprofit Organizations” however three of the main takeaways that I thought most important were the following:
- Your brand defines your organization to the world. Take the initiatives and define yourself, before one of your enemies tries to define you.
- You can’t go far wrong in communications if you stick to the Holy Trinity: Audience, Message, and Vehicle.
- There is no such thing as the general public. Find the audience that matters most to your mission, and focus on them like a laser beam.
Now these three “morals” as he calls them in his essay are essential to any marketing strategy I believe, whether in a nonprofit organization or a for profit organization. This is part of the reason I picked these three specifically, is because of the interchangeable manner.
I will begin by diving a little bit deeper into the first moral: your brand defining your organization. In other words don’t let your competition create your reputation or even what you stand for. Make sure you have made it obvious what your mission is and what you define your organization as because chances are the competitors’ definition of your organization will not be what you may want the public to see it as.
Secondly, following the three key aspects of communications. This is essential in any organization when thinking about marketing strategies and tactics. Make sure you know what your plan is in terms of who you are sending the message to, what the actual message is and how the content will connect with the audience, and lastly, the way in which it is going to be told or rather how you will get your message out there. Will you be using billboards? Will you use television? These are only a few of the examples that can be used.
Finally, know the group in which you are trying to catch their attention. Make sure that you have detailed “targets” that you want to find and reach out to. Reaching everyone or rather like Williamson says, “the general public” is impossible. Trying to find some way in which every person will connect with is near impossible. For this reason you want to make sure you are focusing on a specific demographic or audience that you think will be the most inspired by your mission. Once you have found this group of people/audience make sure you are finding everything there is to know about them and how you can reach them the best. They will become your project and you will need to find out what they want to see and hear. Then it becomes easier to narrow down what you will do!
Let’s Dig a Little Deeper Now
Now that you know what each of the three morals means and what the difference is between the three. Let us dive a little deeper into examples of each of the three.
Beginning with the first one, making sure that your brand defines your organization before your competitors do. An example of this would be: Louis Vuitton. If you take a purse company such as Louis Vuitton and dug deep into their brand and realized that they have defined their organization. They are an upscale purse and leather brand whose bags represent an upper class society. They define their brand, specifically, with price placement. They place their prices at the higher end of the spectrum thus contributing to the common notion of the public nowadays, which is, higher price, and higher quality.
I mean if you think about the brand defining an organization another organization to look at would be Scripps Networks Interactive. This organization holds many different positions in the media industry but all of their brands define the organization as a “the leader in lifestyle media.”
Moving onto the next moral, focusing on the “Holy Trinity” as Williamson called it. An example of a company/organization making sure they focus on the audience, message, and driver/vehicle would be almost any organization that has a sound marketing strategy! All organizations have to decide how they want to market and the holy trinity is the key and solution to all questions when developing a marketing strategy. Take an organization such as Johnson and Johnson. The amount of brands they have is unreal so they have to have multiple different channels of communications. They not only need to have advertisements and marketing in magazines, but also in television ads and even radio. Their messages have to be appropriate for all ages to make sure they hit all ages and they have to decide which audience they are targeting within each brand.
An example within the Johnson and Johnson example would be Neutrogena. Neutrogena ads that are being displayed in magazines such as Teen People, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue or even on television networks like ABC Family may include a celebrity that is a role model for that range of ages. However, in a TV ad being aired on USA networks, the Neutrogena ad may be targeted toward older women and the product being advertised may be more about skin wrinkles and anti-aging creams.
The audience, message, and vehicle are key to brand presence and visibility within the market.
Lastly, finding a target audience to focus on. The example of this would be very simple to the previous example of Johnson and Johnson. For example if you are a shoe company and you find that most of your sales are coming from women ages 64-75 years old then you should start focusing on that demographic and making sure you are reaching that audience. If you are trying to focus on comfort and stability then focusing on the college girls may not be the easiest target because in college many times the shoes are not the most comfortable but it’s what is in fashion or whichever shoes are the “cutest”.
Third Party Opinion
All of these morals were discussed by one person and that was David Williamson whether or not he is right on point is not up to me, but I can say that in my opinion I think that his key takeaways are exactly on point.
There may be other marketing professionals who may disagree with his claims, but I doubt there are too many!
Using a specifically company who says very similar claims as Williamson would be one company called, Mission Minded.
They too believe nonprofits need help when it comes to marketing and communications. In their About Us page they say,
“Although strategic communications are more common today in the nonprofit sector than they were a decade ago, there is still a real need for a trusted partner to provide professional guidance on honing an organization’s brand, strategically crafting messages, and creating campaigns, websites, and printed materials that are easy to understand and that move people to action.
Because Mission Minded works only with nonprofit organizations and foundations, we understand their special needs and challenges. We provide the expertise nonprofits need to achieve their communications goals.”
So here is a third party company and source that has said that they too find it very important for nonprofits to focus on communicating well in order to achieve their mission.
Another source (nonprofitmarketingguide.com) said very similar things as well. They published an article titled, “10 Marketing Realities Nonprofits Need to Accept to Succeed.” Many of their 10 realities are similar if not exactly the same as Williamson’s. They too say that there is no such thing as the general public and much more.
So after all of the research and the reading it is very obvious that marketing in the nonprofit realm has become essential. It has become not only helpful but necessary to succeed as the source said. But why is it that nonprofit organizations are so hesitant to participate? But that’s the thing, they are not as hesitant as they used to be because of the obvious changes that it makes when you begin to find the correct marketing strategy for your mission. It is all about your mission and the message you send out. If you have the right channel of distribution for your message and you have the right people to talk to then you are on the path to success!
This Blog post is part of an assignment for an Elon University Marketing Course.