Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Compelling + Relevant = Action

The real challenge that any marketer, non-profit or otherwise is to compel people to take action isn’t it?

The problem is you can’t compel anyone to do anything if you aren’t talking to them.

Speaking primarily about donors (umm, potential donors) in the United States we’re competing in the noisiest marketplace in the history of humans, and I’m not even complaining yet about CARE, UNICEF and World Vision’s marketing activities. The sheer number of advertisements, entertainment, news and information that floods over the average American is overwhelming. I know I can’t hope to keep up.

Add complex top of mind family issues, money problems, concerns about the environment, Iraq, Terrorists, the price of gas, milk and shoes and it gets even more crowded. Heap on a dose of personal hobbies, thinking about your golf swing, trying to remember to pick up dinner, deciding between poker night or a night with the wife and mowing the lawn and you start to see the problem here.

That’s a lot of noise!

So how can an organization start to “break-through” the clutter? I’m pretty sure it hinges on relevancy. The art of being relevant starts with understanding your audience. But even understanding your audience is a new ball game – with the proliferation of new technologies and the Internet, your donors can hide in a gazillion places burying their heads from you, closing their eyes and insulating themselves in a bubble of their own choosing.

I’m cynical and dubious that many marketers know how to deal with this situation. I find myself at times feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities and challenges of building a set of relevant and compelling messages that will result in new donors.

We’re doing an online study that will result in some new “personas” that will help us target our messaging. We’re opening up dialogues with existing donors to find out why they became donors in the first place and we’re listening intently to the marketplace by constantly asking ourselves if our messages are relevant and compelling. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we’re closing the gap and trying hard to be relevant with messaging that at least gives us a shot of “breaking-through” the clutter.


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