Guest post by Dennis Fischman
It’s time to post to your blog. You scratch your head, pace up and down, drum your fingers, start several posts and delete them…and at last, you have it. It’s a good idea. You put the finishing touches on it and hit, “Post.”
“Uh-oh,” you say. “Now what am I going to use for Facebook?”
Save time and worry: take that one good idea and use it again. Here are ten ways you can re-purpose one good idea for blogs, social media, video, and print. Continue reading
Bet you never thought you’d see a comeback in something as traditional as direct mail. Well, lo and behold, it’s happening. According to a study by marketing services firm, Epsilon, 50% of U.S. consumers prefer direct mail to email. No kidding!
And, get this… the study also found that one-quarter of all U.S. consumers said they found direct mail to be “more trustworthy” than email.
With recent growth in electronic methods of communication, some people may find this surprising. But, if you factor in the benefits now of tracking direct mail through its drive to online landing pages, it begins to make sense. Plus, a lot of people just like… dare I say it? PAPER!
- The perception that reading email is faster than reading postal mail declined among U.S. email account holders from 47% in 2010 to 45% this year.
- 75% of consumers say they get more email than they can read.
- 60% said they enjoy checking their physical mailboxes, highlighting what the study refers to as an “emotional connection” to postal mail.
What do you make of this? Are you using direct mail? Have you reduced your direct mail marketing in the past couple of years? Any plans to return to it in 2012?
How many of us have received a direct mail solicitation from a national charity on one day and from the same organization’s local or state chapter in the same week? Confusing, isn’t it? Which one do you keep and respond to, and which one do you recycle? Talk about a “Sophie’s Choice.”
How about visiting a national nonprofit Web site to look for a local chapter or location and after clicking through, you end up on a completely different site wondering if you landed on the wrong page? The colors are different as are the font styles, images, and total feel. Are these guys related, you wonder?
Have you ever taken a look at national nonprofit publications and print materials and then looked at the local chapter materials? They often look completely different. The national stuff is professionally produced and engaging while the local materials look like a novice created them in a word processing program.
Nonprofits that have multiple locations, chapters, and departments do harm to their brands when they allow such a free-for-all in marketing communications. There is absolutely NO value in this approach. Without coordination, their audiences can frequently receive conflicting or competing messages. Badly designed and written local materials can erode the national brand easily.
So, what should they do?
- Develop national brand and marketing communications standards for the entire organization.
- Create templates for different departments, locations, etc. (using the organization’s brand standards) that allow for customization and regional differences.
- Create a schedule that incorporates all communications to the same market segments (audiences) to avoid conflict and overload.
- Ensure that templates and standards are easily available and downloadable on the organization’s Intranet.
- Empower the marketing department to act as brand “police” to monitor results and assist staff with compliance.
- Develop training workshops so all employees understand the importance of a consistent brand and their roles in adapting the standards.
- Regularly reinforce the standards at meetings and retreats.
- Reward staff who model the brand standards and use them effectively.
Yes, this takes a bit of time, but it is well worth the effort. Once it’s complete, organizations can update it as required and ensure that new hires are up to speed. In the long run, nonprofits will find marketing communications much easier to manage. And, more importantly, they’ll have a better chance at engaging and retaining their market segments (donors, members, clients, etc.)