Sunday, September 5, 2010

Give them what they want

Old Spice YouTube campaign
What is the secret of marketing? We all marvel at the ultra cool things happening in marketing – the “why didn’t I think of that?” stuff. Likely, you can remember one or two ad campaigns that really stuck with you. When I was a kid, the biggie were Coke commercials, such as “I want to teach the world to sing”. More recently, I’ve laughed at the Old Spice YouTube campaign. How do they do that? And can we do that at a Non-Profit?

The challenges are obvious. Most Non-Profits don’t have a huge ad agency. They don’t have a huge marketing budget. In fact, for most Non-Profits, they don’t have much of anything at all. Then there’s the obvious – where do they start? Even if they had bags of cash lying around the office (which I hope you have declared to Revenue Canada), how do they make this stuff?

The answer is complicated. And frankly, many of my contemporaries in marketing seem to make it so. Forget the theories, the cool tools and the million dollar buzz terms. Use this simple mantra instead.

Give people what they want.

I want to teach the world to sing
You can never go wrong by asking your target audience what they want from you and then delivering it in a way they find valuable. This is a lot tougher than it sounds.

First, it means you have to change your frame of reference from what you and your Non-Profit can offer your audience and instead start thinking about what your audience wants from you. That means asking them. A lot of them.

Then, you need to figure out how to give it to them. It might mean changing the way you do things. It might mean junking some of the concepts you take for granted. It will involve trial and error. And don’t think of this as mere window-dressing. When you give these people what they want, you’ll have to put your whole organization into it.

That being said, the results can be transformative and trend-setting. When I worked for a hospital foundation I never really thought I was really connecting to our donors until the day I convinced everyone to start an email newsletter by asking our audience what they wanted from us. Turns out they didn’t want the usual stuff we pumped out about the latest big gifts or the boring column from the Foundation CEO. Donors said they wanted health information – research, new services, and the latest health news. I realized that we had struck a nerve.

You can do the same.

Start by asking some of your stakeholders what they want from you and see where it leads you. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

No comments:

Post a Comment