NAVCA Blog - 17/5/2012

The following blogs were posted on 17/5/2012.

Get the most out of marketing

One of the biggest myths in our sector seems to be that marketing is just about promoting or selling things.

This is a myth that needs busting because it can stop organisations from getting the most out of marketing.

If you hear the phrase “we’ve finished designing our new service, now we can get on with marketing it” in your organisation, you're missing out on 99% of the value marketing can offer.

Marketing isn’t promotion

Promotion is part of marketing, but marketing isn’t just promotion. Marketing is simply a way of getting value from your organisation to your stakeholders (and back again).

post it

In fact, marketing is just the term academics use to describe one of the largest collections of management tools available to every organisation.

Certainly not rocket science

Marketing isn't complicated; it only seeks to answer four simple questions:

  1. Where are we?
  2. Where do we want to be?
  3. How do we get there?
  4. Are we there yet?

This can be in the context of business planning, customer / user research, communications, promotional activity, income generation or a variety of other topics. The models change, but the principles remain the same.

Take, for example, the question “where are we?” in one key context.

Business planning

Marketers love a matrix when it comes to business planning. Especially if that means we can use acronyms or strange terminology (question marks on a BCG anyone?).

However, many models are not easy for local support and development organisations to apply. Particularly when the services under analysis are new, or are moving from grant funded to earned income support.

One of the best analytical tools I’ve come across is Adrian Sargeant’s nonprofit portfolio analysis, included in his book Marketing Management for Nonprofit Organisations.

This looks at products and services by their external attractiveness and internal appropriateness. Ranking the former by public concern, number of people aided and immediacy on beneficiaries, and the latter by experience, importance, expertise and compatibility:

portfolio model

You can use this to work out where to focus your efforts, as well as identifying what to stop doing (i=invest, e=evaluate, d=divest).

Give it a chance

I guess what I’m saying is… don’t wait to get your marketing professional involved in your most important projects, or ignore a discipline that could give you fresh ideas at a time when our movement needs them the most.


Paul is NAVCA’s Marketing Officer. He will be facilitating the ‘Marketing your services’ workshop at CORE 2012, NAVCA’s annual residential event for chief officers and senior managers from local support and development organisations.

The workshop will be a chance to explore how marketing tools can be applied by infrastructure organisations.

The key contributor to the workshop will be Lisa Wimborne from Matter&Co.

Continue reading the rest of this entry »Posted on 17th May 2012 at 03:03 by Paul Nelson and has 7 comments.

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