Last time it was Missions Masters Marriage… but that didn’t work out as planned. It turned out to be Missions Marriage Masters.
When we think of the term Marketing we might think of a logo, a brand name or some gimmick to make me want something I don’t need. In some circles, especially the non-profit arena Marketing may have a negative connotation. In the context I am talking about here I am going define marketing as intentional effective communication. Effective communication can have some very positive outcomes and covers a wide variety of communication issues and strategies.
Effective communication implies:
- Something is being communicated
- More than one party is involved
- Meaning is being conveyed
- An image is being conjured in the mind of the receiver
- The image being conjured in the mind of the receiver is affirmed or agreed to by the transmitter
As a business professional I need to realize that effective communication can happen. But, if I am not intentional about it, it is not going to happen as often as I want it to happen. This may result in adverse consequences for my business. The point though is that even in non-profit work like missions, to have effective communication one also needs to be intentional about their communication. This intentionalism is strategy.
So what is your communication strategy? Lets ask some of the basic W’s.
- Who are we trying to communicate to?
- What are we communicating?
- How are we going to get them to listen, think and respond to us?
In the non-profit world we have several kinds of people we want to communicate with:
- the people we want to benefit
- the people who help us benefit these people; donors, volunteers, employees, colleagues
- the people watching us, wanting to know what we are doing and why we do it.
We need to be aware of each kind of person and talk to them. But, not just talk to them; engage them.
So the What which are we going to tell them might change, but what we are about never changes. So even though we might use different stories, reports, figures, pictures, etc. in communication they should all point to the part of us that never changes. This part of a communication strategy requires a bit of introspection. A core of knowledge of who we are and what we are about, and why we are doing it. It is from this knowledge we get our passion to do what we are doing, and challenge others to become part of what we are doing.
How are we going to get them to respond to us? We have to know where they are and how to talk to them. What they are paying attention too, reading watching, listening to, replying to. You can’t engage a person you can’t communicate to. This is were marketing comes in. How am I going to engage people? When I have an answer to How, I will have a communication strategy. The last question I have to answer is: does my strategy achieve the results I want it to achieve? or to put it another way is it an effective strategy? If it doesn’t achieve what I want to achieve,
- it may be the result of not having a good, well thought through strategy,
- or it might be the result of not having the right strategy for this group of people (or market).
At the end of the day though, if something is not achieving the desired results; I need to know:
- What the desired results are
- What results my strategy is producing
- Why my strategy is not working
and then I need to make some adjustments to the strategy and apply the new revised strategy.