The Year's Main Marketing Messages
This was a big year for marketing, and marketers should come away from it with a better understanding of what makes their customers/donors tick. Here are three of the main ways marketing was turned on its head in 2010 — and what that means for fundraisers.
1. People don't trust marketers. They trust each other. Once upon a time, we believed the claims in the ad that said, "More doctors smoke Camel than any other cigarette!" Now we look at marketing with skepticism and even scorn. We don't trust much of the marketing from companies, government, institutions or charities. Only 6 percent of people say they believe marketers' claims, according to Forrester Research.
So who do we trust? Each other. Nielsen says 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from acquaintances. That's why we put more stock in the reader reviews on Amazon than in the blurbs on the book covers. It's why we read traveler ratings on TripAdvisor. And it's why donors go to Charity Navigator and read the comments tab on your charity. They want the truth.
It's not enough for you to say your cause is worthy. Your credibility only goes so far. You need someone else to say your cause is worthy — especially online, where people are accustomed to looking to third parties to decide which actions to take. Feature ratings from charity watchdogs, quotes from community leaders, stories from beneficiaries of your programs and the endorsement of your biggest supporters. People are more likely to believe them than you.
2. Spray-and-pray marketing fails. Micromarketing prevails. Back in the era of mass advertising portrayed in the cable TV show "Mad Men," marketers didn't just have great clothes. They had an easier job. Everyone watched the same few TV stations or read LIFE magazine. You could spray out a generic message to everyone and pray someone would listen and buy. Ah, those were the days. Great dresses, cool cocktails and blanket messaging. Does anyone have a time machine handy?