An Executive Director's point of view


May 10, 2017: Direct mail works

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Read about it here.

April 19, 2017: Marketing forever

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Marketing is not something you do once, or every so often, or only when you have a big event coming up.

It's something you do all the time. And you budget for it.

Your market changes daily. Lots of potential members and customers didn't receive the direct mail piece, the eblast, or the Tweet that you sent about the annual conference, open house, or legislative fly-in.

They missed the "big announcement" about your plans.

So, market all the time. And always stay in touch with your audiences.

April 04, 2017: Bad marketing

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Today I received the worst robocall ever.

It's election day in my town, and three candidates are competing for two spots on the Park District Board.

The caller spoke with a strained voice, sounding as if the mere act of speaking was painful. He urged me to vote for two of the candidates. At the end of the call, a child screamed, "Vote for my mommy!"

It was the most unprofessional communication I've ever received in a political campaign.

When speaking, writing, filming, drawing, or doing anything else to communicate with others, put yourself in your recipients' shoes and determine how they will react to your dispatch. Then craft the most positive message possible.

Whoever concocted today's call does not appear to have done that.

February 27, 2017: The sign

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Open Books, a not-for-profit organization that sells used books to fund literacy programs, placed this message on the chalkboard outside of its store

Dinosaurs could not READ
Now they are extinct
Books for sale inside

Well, it caught my attention.

October 17, 2016: Public relations

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
If your organization wants media coverage, be sure the message it transmits is something media considers newsworthy. Don't just gab about what is important to your group.

Media outlets (print, broadcast, online) are businesses that earn a profit by building audiences and then selling access to those audiences to other entities (advertisers).

So, if you want media coverage, provide media with stories or information it believes will attract people who advertisers want to reach. Save the other stuff for your newsletter.

September 15, 2016: Making certification cool

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt

July 27, 2016: One-shot strategy

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Many not-for-profits believe it best to utilize the ONE marketing venue that is most likely to bring them success.

They are wrong.

You should promote your organization and its activities in as many different venues as possible, and as often as is reasonable.

One hit in one venue will not reach everybody.

You need to use direct mail, email, social media, advertising, and anything else you think will connect to your audiences. If you select only the ONE you think is best, you will only reach people who can be reached through that venue.

And don't expect ONE hit to be effective. People may delete emails without reading them, discard mailers, ignore ads, and not answer telephone calls. Messages that are sent only once may never be viewed by the intended recipients.

You need to contact people through all venues as frequently as possible (but don't overdo it. That may annoy a lot of folks).

Your organization or cause is not the center of the universe. Most people - including your supporters - have other concerns in their lives.

So, market to your audiences in as many ways as possible and as often as is reasonable.

June 24, 2016: No PDFs for journalists

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Email was a phenomenal innovation for journalists (whom we often refer to as reporters).

They would no longer have to edit typed press releases by handwriting between the lines, and then retyping them for publication.

They could now edit documents by typing right onto the original copies. That would save a lot of time. And they were more likely to cover stories that saved them a lot of time.

The now prevalent use of PDFs has undone that progress.

Reporters, like most of us, would like to do as much work as possible in as short a period of time as possible. Writing press releases as .pdf documents makes that difficult.

So, if you want media coverage, make it easy for reporters to write about you - and stop sending them PDFs.

May 25, 2016: Friendly competition

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Your members are very likely to be members of other groups in your industry or profession.

They may belong to a national association and a local one, a specialty group, an educational or research organization that deals with a topic specific to their interests, and perhaps a related group from outside your circle.

Those groups may be your allies, they may complement your programs, and you may even launch joint activities with them.

But members often can't join them all.

Sometimes, it's too costly. Other times, they just don't feel they can devote adequate attention to all of them, read all the journals and magazines, or attend all the programs - regardless of their quality.

So, they limit their memberships to only those they think are the absolutely most important.

You need to do what is possible to be considered one of the absolutely most important. Make a point of offering an educational program, certification process, informational resource, or something else of value that is not available anywhere else.

Find a way to make your organization an indispensable part of their professional toolbox.

May 13, 2016: What matters

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
If other industries or professions are encroaching on your members' turf and claiming to be able to deliver less expensive services, don't whine to legislators, media, or the public about how your members will be put out of business.

Nobody cares.

Talk, instead, about how the proposed alternatives will reduce the quality of the services delivered to customers, clients, and patients.

Focus on their needs, not yours.
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