An Executive Director's point of view


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.

May 11, 2016: Customer (member) needs

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
When disseminating your association's message - promoting membership, conference registration, continuing education, or anything else - appeal to the recipients' needs and desires, not those of the association.

Don't try to convince people to buy what you are selling. Don't try to persuade them of the value of these items.

Instead, put yourself in their shoes and view offerings from their perspective.

Ask yourself, "How will I benefit from these things?"

Offer programs that recipients value, not those that you want them to value or think they should value.

Start with their needs, not yours.

October 05, 2015: Clip art deception

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Do the people in clip art photos look like your members?

Probably not. Clip art models usually look attractive, fit, and well-groomed.

Many, if not most, of your members don't.

So, if you want your web, magazine, or brochure photos to look real, display pictures of real members. You can find them at meetings, educational conferences, exhibit booths, or doing whatever they do in real life.

Don't use models.

(And remember, it is usually not legal to use photos posted on the internet. Most are copyrighted and you may be required to pay a fee to use them).

June 16, 2015: Do people read ads?

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
You'd think so, since companies spend billions of dollars a year on advertising.

But do your target audiences view ads?

Do they utilize ad blockers on the internet?
Do they click "skip ad" when viewing YouTube videos?
Do they disable banner ads and pop-ups on web sites?
Do they silence audio ads?
Do they walk away from the television during commercial time?
Do they watch ad-free movies and TV shows on their laptops?
Do they ignore ads in printed publications?

Ads usually tell what the advertiser wants you to know rather than what you might want to know. So lots of people ignore them, delete them, or tune them out.

When considering advertising your association, or selling ad space to sponsors, ask yourself: Do my prospects pay attention to ads? Do they want to be forced to view ads when they're doing something else? What will they think of the organization and its sponsors if ads appear where they didn't expect them and might not want them?

Don't just do what seems popular or profitable. Know your audiences, approach them in the way they want to be approached, and provide them with a message they'll want to hear.
Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
There's been a lot of criticism of Whole Foods Markets' new strategy targeting millennium shoppers.

Find out why.
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