Bring Back That Loving Feeling
You need to listen to these folks, not talk at them. And you need to recognize that you’re not the primary messenger; all those other people are. Some of these people might already be talking about your cause or be willing to champion it within their own circles of influence. These are the messengers you want. You need to find them (easy with technorati.com or Google.com/alerts), support them and let them speak for you — in their own words, in their own ways. Even if they have multiple piercings.
Dear Marketing Maven:
I feel like I’m always playing catch-up with the cool crowd. First, it was those wristbands. So I got one for my cause, but no one is wearing mine. And then it was blogging. Once I figured out what it was, I had my executive director start a blog because this other executive director had one. But no one is really reading ours. How does a poor organization like mine get ahead of the style curve and stop feeling left behind?
— Can’t Catch Up
You are falling into the most common trap in our sector: playing copycat. Stop it! You don’t get ahead by being like other organizations — you get ahead by: 1) focusing on your audience and what it wants (instead of what other organizations are doing); and 2) being your unique self in front of that audience. Don’t throw wristbands and blogs at your audience unless that’s what it wants or those things are completely aligned with what makes you special in your audience’s mind.
We don’t win popularity contests by reacting to our competitors, but rather by outperforming them in meeting our audiences’ needs and wants. Focus on being cool in your audience’s mind, not in the marketplace. You do that by focusing on what’s important to your audience, what your strengths are and what makes you — not the organization next door — truly special.
— Maven FS