Fire Your Marketing Department
Your marketing department, if you have one, is destroying you. I realize that’s an extraordinary claim for me to make, given that I know nothing about your particular marketing department.
It’s not the people in your marketing department. No doubt, they’re nice, sincere and hardworking. The problem is innate to marketing departments. As soon as marketing becomes a department, it becomes a destructive force.
I’ve watched this slow-moving catastrophe befall more nonprofits than I want to think about. So today, I’m going to show you three ways marketing departments kill nonprofit organizations. Maybe I can help you save yourself!
1. A marketing department is the wrong tool.
Note that I didn’t say, “Marketing is the wrong tool.” In fact, marketing is a critical tool for any nonprofit that intends to grow. But marketing as a discrete function will almost always lead you down very expensive blind alleys.
Who brings home the bacon in your organization? Probably your fundraising or development department. (If they don’t, fire them, too!) That’s because fundraisers are held accountable to measurable dollar goals. They become adept at pursuing those goals.
On the other hand, the outcomes of marketing are tough to quantify, so those who bother to measure at all tend to pursue vague, qualitative goals like “mindshare,” “awareness” and “brand equity.”
It doesn’t matter how much mathematical rigor you apply to measuring them. They all add up to exactly nothing you can take to the bank. You could spend literally millions of dollars to nudge your awareness index upward — and have no impact whatsoever on your bottom line. Other than the expense, of course.
Wasted money is only the beginning. Because the marketing discipline pursues goals fundamentally different from those of fundraising, their methods are fundamentally different. So different, in fact, that you will almost always end up with two parallel messaging platforms: