10 signs your marketing strategy needs a reboot
September 30, 2019
Gail Bower in Leadership, Marketing, Money + Mission, marketing strategy, trends
I had just begun a project for an out-of-town client. We kicked off the project with a two-day visit, which meant I had the opportunity to meet the board, take a deep dive with my client on all the issues she faced, and spend time with her staff.
 
Her organization’s marketing operation struck me as a significant asset. With a robust web site (and a new one on the way), an active blog, and strong presence on social media, I was impressed that my client’s marketing manager could keep up, and I told her so.
 
But then something weird happened.
 
When asked to tell me more about her marketing strategy, she froze. She had no idea what I was talking about. No marketing strategy existed.
 
Uh-oh. The marketing manager was winging it.
 
Since then, I’ve noticed a troubling trend. When it comes to marketing, too many nonprofit organizations of all different sizes are winging it. 
 

How to know that you need a marketing strategy.

  1. You don’t have one to begin with.
  2. You’re tired of explaining what your organization is all about.
  3. Your board members struggle to articulate what you do.
  4. You’re frustrated that the media never interviews you for a story perfectly aligned with your mission.
  5. You cringe when you have to approve marketing content or design.
  6. You actually don’t know how to reach your audience.
  7. Nor what to say if you could.
  8. You might be doing something wrong, but you don’t know what.
  9. You’re losing donors.
  10. You have difficulty landing sponsors.
 
How many of these signs do you have?
 

16% of donors walk away because of ineffective communications What does it cost your organization?

There’s a real cost to your organization that comes with not adequately focusing here. In fact in The 2018 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy Portraits of Generosity report (see page 30), one of the reasons that donors cited (16 percent) for pulling the plug on their giving is ineffective communications.
 

How a marketing strategy can change your organization.

At a conference last month I heard a nonprofit CEO talk about the importance of marketing. She told the story about running a small nonprofit, and as soon as she could, she made her first hire: a marketing manager. 
 
Why?
 
Because when donors heard about her organization’s mission and contacted her, they were having a different discussion than if she called them.
 
The same is true for sponsorship. 
 
You may not have a marketing background. Whether you're the CEO or the Chief Development Officer or the board chair, you're not alone. Many nonprofit leaders rise to their roles through the programs or development or simply passion about the cause.
However, this commonality does not absolve you from needing to understand and even leverage the power of effective marketing.

 

And the good news? It is a learned skill.

 

Article originally appeared on Gail Bower (http://gailbower.com/).
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