Archive for the ‘sustainable marketing’ Tag

Socially Responsible Marketing…Can Liquor Marketing Be Responsible?

For pretty much all of my life, liquor commercials on television have been few and far between.  I believe their was some sort of prohibition on TV ads for hard alcohol products.  I am not sure whether or not this was self-regulated or an FCC thing.  To me, the only reason to prohibit ads from being on TV is if you believed them to be socially irresponsible.  In this case, it seems that the prohibition says that there is no way to responsibly market hard alcohol on television.  I’m not sure that I agree with this.  I think that there is a way to do responsible marketing for hard alcohol products on television.  If cable TV can broadcast adult shows, why can’t the marketers of adult products advertise on those shows?  What is the taboo there?  What do you think?  

Non-profit Marketing and Building Your Database

Christopher Penn’s latest blog entry on the value to non-profit marketers of building your database got me thinking. I won’t regurgitate what Penn said, but I would like your feedback on it. To read his entry click here.

My initial reaction is to agree that it is very important to gain actionable information from your campaigns…email addresses, phone numbers, etc. And, I also agree that awareness raising campaigns that are only awareness raising campaigns may not be the most effective use of marketing dollars. However, where I disagree is that I don’t believe direct marketing through email is the most effective use of marketing resources either.

In my opinion, the most effective way an organization such as a non-profit can do marketing is to build real relationships. Instead of relying on one-way communication such as email or banner ads on MySpace, organizations should creatively try to engage people on a level that gets them to invest in the cause past providing an email address. How will they do this? It really depends on the cause or the organization. One-size-fits-all marketing tactics are tired. New social media technologies like Twitter allow people and organizations to make real connections that widgets don’t. Widgets may not be en vogue next year, but conversation and connection has always been around.

To do this, non-profit marketers will need to forget that their title is “marketer” and start thinking like an organizer. To think like an organizer means that marketers will need to forget the traditional marketing tools and start looking for what will get people to take ownership in the cause. This may bed slower and less sexy, but I believe the long-term results of such marketing will make the sweat investment worth it.

Let me know what you think.

The Marketing Wisdom of Kung Fu Panda

My wife just took me on a study break field trip to watch Kung Fu Panda. It is a cute movie that is definitely worth seeing. Aside from enjoying a night out with my wife, I came away with three pieces of wisdom that most definitely apply to marketing in the age of social media. If you haven’t seen the movie and are really concerned about not having the plot spoiled, stop reading now. Everyone else, read on.

1. Let go of the illusion of control.

In the movie, Po’s master, Shifu, is taught by his master, Oogway, that he must give up the “illusion of control” when it comes to the Dragon Warrior. Master Oogway might as well have been talking to the marketing departments of corporations and non-profits alike who think that they can still control the message. Just as Shifu could not control who the Dragon Warrior would be, organizations can not control the message that people hear about their organizations. Sure, they can try, but with the rise of consumer generated content and the death of mass media looming on the horizon, what’s being said about the organization will carry far more weight than what the organization is saying. The much more sustainable approach in this social media environment will be for organizations to stop trying to control the message, and instead, join the conversation in a real, honest manner.

2. Be yourself. Following what seems to work for everyone else won’t work for you.

Po, the pudgy, seemingly inept Panda, couldn’t do the most remedial of the traditional training exercises the kung fu masters could. As a result, his master thought Po could never be the Dragon Warrior…that is until he discovered what motivated Po. As it turns out, Po was motivated by food. When Shifu realized that he would have to train Po differently than the others, Po’s training took off. Like in the movie, realizing what your organization’s “motivation” is will go a long way to making your marketing more effective–not to mention more fun. Too many organizations are adept at throwing around the latest buzz words when they are discussing their marketing plans. What they seem to be unpracticed at is being honest about who they are as an organization and what they really have to say. What I would suggest to those organizations is forget who you think you should be and be yourself!

3. Their is no secret ingredient.

Po finally became the Dragon Warrior when he realized that the dragon scroll held no secret and that being himself was enough. What, you ask, is the secret ingredient organizations seek after? Well, I’m glad you asked. I know I’ll get into some trouble for attacking this sacred cow, but, in my opinion, organizations spend way to much energy and effort thinking and talking about “brand.” “Brand” is a metaphysical construct that is increasingly loosing its relevance. I say good riddance to “brand.” The idea of forgetting about “brand” is almost directly related to letting go of the illusion of control. However, forgetting about “brand” goes a step further. Forgetting about “brand” means that an organization realizes that who they are perceived as varies from person to person and can change with each interaction they have with someone. Forgetting about “brand” can only happen when organizations start to realize that they themselves are citizens of the world that are on a level playing field with their customers/constituents. Forgetting about “brand” means organizations must come down from their ivory towers. To do this, they have to stop “communicating” and start “conversing” with their markets and constituencies. They must do so in a human voice, and, more importantly, they must listen.

I have a question about Non-Profit Marketing

My question is this, “How does Non-profit marketing differ from for-profit marketing?” Are there specific challenges, goals, or restrictions that non-profits face? Are there any ways in which non-profits have an advantage over for-profits when it comes to marketing? I want to know what you think. I will be talking about this topic in the next episode of the Marketing 4 Change podcast and would like to include your responses. Whether you have an idea, a theory, or a 1500 word rant, I want to hear it. Thanks!

The real value of social media in Non-Profit Marketing.

When it comes to the value of social media to non-profits, you can talk about the power of user generated content, viral expansion loops, etc. While those topics, and others, are definitely worth talking about, I think the most value comes from social media’s ability to deeply engage people.

In his book Join the Conversation, Joseph Jaffe says, “A central hypothesis of mine is that the more time consumers voluntarily elect to spend with a ‘brand,’ the more likely they are to be favorably predisposed toward that brand, and hence the more likely they are to purchase that brand, recommend that brand, or both.” While Jaffe uses “brand,” I think non-profits could very easily insert more non-profity (I enjoy making up words) terms into the above quote. For example, “…the more time people voluntarily elect to spend with a cause/organization, the more likely they are to be favorably predisposed toward that cause/organization, and hence the more likely they are to give time or money to that cause/organization, advocate for that cause/organization, or both.”

I think this should lead organizations to review their efforts at marketing and development in light of the question, “What are we doing through our marketing and development to encourage and enable people to spend more “time” with our organization/cause?” This may seem overly simple. To that I would reply everything else is overly complicated.

Simple is honest. Simple is authentic. Simple works.

Social Media Marketing – Are you an “Animateur” for your brand?

No, that is not a typo for “amateur”.  

The word “Animateur” is certainly a new one on me.  I barely got through two years of high school Spanish and, quite frankly, don’t remember my first two years of college.  So, needless to say, my French is completely non existent outside of being able to order a filet mignon.  The word is one that my school advisor put me on to and I think it deserves a lot of attention from us social media types.  

Animateur: to animate, to bring to life, to enliven, to spark, to create, to produce

This is the definition according to an article on the orchestra musician’s website Polyphonic.org.  The article, entitled An Animateur’s Journey: A report from the field, describes the work that the Philadelphia Orchestra does to bridge the gap between the orchestra and its audience. Each experiment in bridging that gap described in the article is nothing more than social media marketing.

I have witnessed a great deal of discussion as of late on Twitter about “community managers” and what their roles should or shouldn’t be within organizations. Social Media Marketing rockstar Jeremiah Owyang even lays out what he feels to be The Four Tenets of the Community Manager. As I observe the twitter discussions and read Mr. Owyang’s blog post, I am tempted to say that social media marketing types need to abandon the term “community manager” in favor of the term “Animateur”.

I say this for two reasons. First, the word “Animateur” seems to better capture the essence of what everyone seems to want in a “community manager.” Secondly, “Animateur” carries with it more passion and zest than the term “community manager”. Ultimately, I believe it will be easier to inspire a CEO, Board of Directors, Executive Director, VP of Marketing, etc., to fully buy into the benefits of social media marketing with a position that doesn’t sound as sterile as “community manager”.

If you are looking for an example of an “Animateur”, look to Stacey Monk of Epic Change. From the standpoint of social networking and social media marketing, Stacey is doing far more “animating” and “bringing to life” than “managing”. As a result of her role as “Animateur”, her organization has hit the radar of a huge number of people in a short amount of time.

For more info on Stacey and Epic Change, click here to listen to episode 2 of the Marketing 4 Change podcast.

Can organizations truly be sustainable in a capitalist system?

Question: Can organizations truly be sustainable in a free-market capitalist system?

Thought: As I read through many of the conversations about sustainability happening in blogs and articles, I see a lot of discussion about how companies can be sustainable while also fulfilling their obligations to their shareholders to be as profitable as possible. This is a valid concern if you consider the current economic system as an unchangeable given. However, to truly delve into the topic of sustainability, I feel you must move past the discussion of the topic on an organization-by-organization basis. To truly discuss the topic, shouldn’t you examine the sustainability of the economic system as a whole? How can we create sustainable organizations within a system that worships at the altar of infinite growth? I think the deeper, more difficult question we as a society must answer is, not “how sustainable are our organizations,” but “how sustainable is our way of life?”

Non-Profit Marketing placing a bet on social media?

A couple of days ago, Wailin Wong of The Chicago Tribune wrote an article describing how non-profits are beginning to enter the world of social media. While the article and the marketers quoted in the article make a lot of good points, the biggest benefit of social media to non-profits was missed.

Today, we find ourselves in a world of increasingly decentralized media that makes mass communication a bit of a challenge. (There are more podcasts today than radio stations in the world) Marketing in the social media space is now more about “pull” than “push.” Individuals can consume whatever they want whenever they want. With this challenge of how to reach mass audiences in mind, it will be difficult for non-profits to maintain the traditional posture of using marketing to gain new donors.

While gaining new donors will always be important, the role of marketing and PR in a highly niched world will be more about strengthening the ties you have with your stakeholders and transforming them into organizational evangelists and zealots. While the article touched on the engagement and relationship building aspects of social media marketing, when Wailin Wong describes non-profits as “betting that the Internet’s viral nature,” it is a bit like the guy showing up to the party in a Members Only jacket. “Viral” is so 2005. Social media, today, is about building smaller, niched communities that are passionate and committed to the cause. In terms of “viral”, any strange guy with a goofy song can be “viral,” however, it is the real, lasting connections that will pay off for non-profits in the long run.

Episode 1 of the Marketing 4 Change podcast – An introduction

I just posted episode 1 of the Marketing 4 Change podcast. It is a short introductory episode. However, I do pose the question, “What do you think about sustainability in marketing and public relations?” I would love your thoughts. You can leave them as comments or email me at marketing4change@gmail.com.

To download the episode, right click and “save as” this link.