One of the first things out of many clients or prospective client’s mouths when we first meet with them is “we’re not into marketing” or “marketing is for business, not us”. Simpy stated, this is hogwash. If your organization is involved any way, in attracting, servicing and keeping customers or encouraging behaviour change of any kind, like it or not, you’re in the “marketing business”. This is especially true for any organization that relies on earned revenue to sustain their operations such as user / member fees, sponsorship, product sales, fundraising, etc.
The fact is that if you were to replace the word profit with revenue or impact, the key functions of marketing would apply to almost any not-for-profit or government environment. These functions include:
- Defining your objectives;
- Defining your target audience;
- Understanding the unique value you deliver to your audience;
- Defining what actions you want your audience to take as a result of your efforts;
- Identifying the barriers (including competitive factors) that will prevent your audience from doing what you want them to do;
- Developing compelling messages for each audience segment and delivering these messages when they are receptive to them;
- Delivering an exceptional customer experience (and value) so that they want to continue their association with you;
- Measuring results for your efforts and improving on your approach and processes.
Who can honestly say that they don’t think about any or all of the above factors? And if you’re not considering these factors, I’d be curious to know how you’ve managed to stay “in business” as long as you have.
About a decade ago, we created an annual conference called MARCOM to provide a forum for the not-for-profit and public sectors to learn about the discipline of marketing as a means of helping these organizations take a more strategic approach towards their work and connect with colleagues who share the same issues and challenges. This year’s event will take place on May 15-16 at the Ottawa Convention Centre and feature many of the country’s top experts in marketing in these sectors.
In today’s highly competitive environment, not-for-profits and public sector organizations need to be more strategic than ever, to attract and retain customers or make an impact in the marketplace. I encourage you to “step outside the box” and consider attending this great event – I know you’ll leave MARCOM with hundreds of new ideas on how you can do things differently and more effectively.