Marketing and the Consumer* Experience by Kelsey A. Horine

For many nonprofit marketers, their job consists of trying to get free press, updating the website and planning fundraisers (okay, I am over simplifying, but you get the idea). One of the biggest challenges many nonprofit organizations face is getting so bogged down in the day-to-day work that they forget to listen to key stakeholders to make sure they are staying relevant and providing value.

To move beyond this, I encourage you to take a strategic approach to marketing. Every time your organization or marketing department starts a new project, ask yourself, “How does this benefit the stakeholders and align with the mission?” Will it create long-term benefit and value to the company and stakeholders or will it just drive short-term revenue?

According to the American Marketing Association: “Marketing is the organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders”. Translation: Good marketing (emphasis on good) exists to connect consumers with goods and services they want, when and how they want it, creating a positive experience and increased value over time.

Is this true for the marketing at your organization?  What I am talking about here is being consumer-centric.  Today, whether for-profit or nonprofit, growing your organization means thinking beyond the traditional 4 P’s of marketing. Instead, I encourage you to think of marketing in the lens of SIVA. In this context – you will master the first step of good marketing, having the consumer’s interest come first.

Good marketing provides a:

·           Solution, instead of a Product

·           Information instead of Promotion

·           Value instead of Price

·           Access instead of Place

The next step is delivering on your value proposition (or brand promise). Consumers expect more and if you’re not going to provide it they will go somewhere else. (Yes, this is still true for nonprofits. There are1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S, don’t think there aren’t choices.) This means keeping in mind that whenever and wherever the consumer interacts with your products or service, they should be provided with a consistent and positive consumer experience across all organizational touch-points.

So what do you do:

1.         Start with a marketing strategy that is dedicated to the consumer. This means getting consumer insights and acting on it (surveys, interviews, observation, secondary research).

2.         Get organizational buy-in and create shared S.M.A.R.T. goals.

3.         Empower all employees to be accountable for what happens during consumer interactions.

4.         Provide the opportunity for feedback and continuous learning from all stakeholders.

*In the nonprofit world the consumer can be your donors, volunteers, employees and, of course, the people you serve – all stakeholders.

Kelsey A Horine is a Senior Strategic Consultant in Digital Marketing at Aspen Marketing Services. She has served on the YNPN Board in Denver for more than two years and on the board in Chicago for the last two years. She is passionate about using marketing to advance the efforts of mission-driven organizations. Kelsey holds a B.S. in Business Marketing from the University of Denver and a M.S in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern.  @thekelseyadele  |

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