Fire Your Marketing Department
Trouble is, marketing is too important to leave up to marketers alone. If marketing isn’t built into your entire organization from top to bottom and side to side, you’re lost. No nonprofit exists in a bubble, following its dreams with no connection to the rest of the world. They all depend on mobilizing outsiders.
It’s everyone’s job to tell your story in a way that donors, prospective donors and others can understand. It’s everyone’s job to create memorable, exciting programs that outsiders can love and support. It’s everyone’s job to take part in the conversation that’s forming around the things you impact. It’s everyone’s job to know, understand and respect donors.
I’m not proposing some kind of Age of Aquarius future, where program directors are writing direct mail and accountants are designing Web sites. You’ll always need the specific skills of good marketing: copy, design, strategy, plus media and production expertise. If you want that stuff done right, you need professionals to do their jobs.
But when the marketing department is the only group taking responsibility for marketing, it will fail. It simply can’t do it alone.
And here’s the kicker: If you leave marketing to marketers, not only will they fall short of the big job that it is, they’ll do even the stuff they can handle all wrong.
You see, locked away in their own department, they’ll come to view themselves as gatekeepers for all marketing functions. They’ll spend their time (and your money) controlling the message and shushing everyone else. Meanwhile, their eyes on the wrong prize, they’ll neglect the real job of marketing:
● building a truly remarkable organization; and
● taking part in the genuine conversation that forms around such organizations.
Maybe marketing used to be about fonts, color palettes and tightly defined messaging platforms. Today it’s about conversation, collaboration and authenticity. Complex stuff. Hard to understand. Harder to put into practice. And nearly impossible when you have an isolated, out-of-context marketing department.