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Marketing is Not Optional

There are only two things in a business that make money – innovation and marketing, everything else is cost.

Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was many things. Fool, not.

Part I

Marketing is not optional

Marketing is not optional; it’s an essential tool for the success of all business and nonprofit activity. What matters is not what you do; what matters is that you communicate what you do so that others will take interest in it, buy it, support it, join it, and tell friends about it. In some nonprofit quarters, marketing was once thought of as a dirty word, associated with used car salesmen and sleazy tactics. I address this issue and the reluctance to use marketing in the blog post Not To Market is a Crime. As noted there, you are being remiss in your duties to your cause if you do not market it.

What you should NOT be doing is NOT doing marketing.

Your mission is only as successful as far as it can spread and have an impact. If you are indeed working to make the world better, you need to be actively marketing what you do. If you don’t know where to begin with this, then you should probably take one of our Branding and Marketing Discovery Workshops. If you have spent a lot of marketing money in the past to insufficient effect, ditto. What you should NOT be doing is NOT doing it.

There are many strategies for marketing, and there are many means to execute a marketing campaign. It can be expensive or not, effective or not. And price and effectiveness are not necessarily inextricably connected. See Find Your Trim Tab to find out more about how it is possible to disengage expense from effectiveness in marketing.

The point is that you have no excuse not to be doing marketing well.

Now get to it.

Marketing is Not Optional

Part II

Effective marketing and the alternative

Let’s go back to management thinker Peter Drucker for a second. He wrote an important little book that posits an organizational self-evaluation consisting of 5 questions: The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. Here they are in case you don’t have time to read it:

  1. What is our mission?
  2. Who is our customer?
  3. What does the customer value?
  4. What are our results?
  5. What is our plan?

The answers to all of these, but critically #2 and #3, are crucial to devising an effective marketing program for your products and services. They are also at the heart of what our Discovery Process is designed to help you clarify. Without them, your marketing dollars will likely be spent on tactical experimentation. Tactical experiments can work, but they are not the smartest use of a limited pool of marketing money. They are, in fact, much better when conducted in the context of a strong strategic hypotheses about who your core consumer really is and what he or she REALLY values, and exactly how your offer meets them there.

Find out who your core consumer really is and what he or she REALLY values, and exactly how your offer meets them there.

You owe it to the future of your business, your nonprofit, your museum, your zoo, yourself to take the time to honestly answer Drucker’s questions. If you want help so that you can use your precious marketing money more effectively, and if you don’t want to spend forever sorting this out, then I will take the liberty of repeating myself—maybe it’s time you read about one of our Strategy Workshops.

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  1. stephen says:

    I am doing marketing. I must say this is good stuff!!!

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