Category Archives: Marketing

25 Things List on Communications

I just wanted to say that I love this list from Teaming for Technology Colorado.

Summarizing learnings from this year’s NTC, it’s a great list of using tools to increase organizational productivity.

I’ve shared it, printed it, posted it, mailed it, copied it, read it, linked to it, and used it.
And now it’s here for safekeeping, so when I want a refresher or have a moment to ponder some of the tips more deeply (yes, I know I can use GoogleForms, but where could I use this in my work right now?), I’ll know where to find it!

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Book Review: The New Recruit

The New Recruit: What Your Association Needs to Know About X, Y, & Z
…those being the Millenial generations!

by Sarah Sladek

Boomers want a successful career and to make the world a better place; membership associations help them do both. However, this relevance is lost on younger generations who are already doing these things without a career or experience.

I recently had a conversation with a board member about promoting community arts events and new ideas to tap into a wider audience. He remarked–uncreatively, I though–that ‘under 40s’ weren’t their target market since their families took all of their time and money.

Quick ideas to ponder from the organization Women of Today:
• Totally electronic communications
• ‘Big sister’ mentors
• Leadership, public speaking, and professional development opportunities
• Scholarships
• Partnerships

‘What’s in it for ME?’ younger generations ask. Although organizations have been trying to answer this regarding their target markets for years, Gen X demands answers, and since they can get the benefits that associations traditionally offer in so many alternative ways, if they don’t have a sense of belonging, they’re not going to join.

What young folks, in general, want from an association:
o Must have a sense of belonging–an invite, not a form
o Age-specific networking opportunities, career-building , making a difference,
o although time-sensitive, so employ virtual career and networking opportunities
o One-time projects, make decisions (meetings–ugh!)–episodic volunteers, just like new retirees
o Opportunity to lead a group or oversee a task
o Marketing materials make a strong first impression–straigtforward, online. Appeal to all generations’ needs in your bullet points! Case studies should profile how membership has made a difference in careers.

Membership will take longer, as it’s a trust-building process with younger generations. This process will affect traditional recruiting, and most of all budgeting. Future projections must be taken into account when investing in new ideas to reach new populations, not just the per member cost or annual revenue.

Recruiting Students

o Offer a discount rate
o Target recruiting at colleges, teleconferencing and web availablility, and two tracks of programming
o Consider special fairs targeted just to students, relationships with colleges, discounts, student chapters, mentoring and more.
o Another creative idea is a competition only open to the target generation, one that relates to your mission and gives young professionals a chance to connect with their careers.
o How about a students-only resume posting section on your website? Or a student award?

High emphasis on students creates a sustainability–not a revenue-generation–plan. Prioritizing recruits from college, high school and even younger develops long-term interest and builds that trust necessary for a membership relationship. Students must be involved in the planning and management, though.

Ideas from Others
At Minnesota Entrepreneurs, they aligned their new outreach with their mission, focused on:
Inspiration: high-profile speakers in profession
Education: panels of experts
Networking: events
Some changes to their normal m.o. were that dues ($240) included admission to all events, which were held at a trendy locale with amenities that appeal to younger generations. They featured young members and new events on their website, and swapped discounts with other organization’s young professional members.

The National Association of Women Lawyers has a career-introductory program called Backpack to Briefcase to connect students with professionals, something that could be implemented online, on campus, or via a one-to-one mentoring program. Job shadowing could also be seen favorably. Mentors could bring protégées to events for free.

Boston’s Young Professionals Association boasts 10,000 members from its low cost ($35) membership, weekly networking, and service opportunities. Many of these organizations grow rapidly from their inception, I suspect because the concept is both new and speaks to the younger generation.

A Minnesota Chamber group hosted for-fee Emerging Leaders sessions that were speed-networking, but also added a monthly service project for those Leaders. I like this concept of casual interaction and then a follow-up opportunity. A San Francisco PR association got PR firm members to host monthly programs by their executive leadership, offering tips and connections. Access to these programs is through membership in the Young Professionals program, $50 annually, which includes many regular membership benefits such as training discounts and a one-time discount when transitioning from student to chapter member.

Two things you must have in order to attract young professionals:
o Opportunities that appeal. What about connecting young potentials with opportunities to serve on boards, mentor, volunteer, or serve at peer organizations?? This is not the old way of doing business, e.g. committees-for-life, board and officer positions
o Tech on your website! Interactivity, self-control, membership interaction, online learning, video, blogging & podcasting are all part of Gen Y’s life. If you’re not including these things, you’re not relevant.

Ready to begin recruiting younger members?
Remember, you’re not making money off their membership, it’s their future investment and purchase you’re after. There is a great grid in the book where you list each of your association’s specific programs, services, communications, and opportunities, and compare them to the desires of younger generations:
Does it: Use Tech? Provide Tangible Benefit? Offer Professional Development? Engage in community service? Take < 2 hours/mo.? Cost < $30/ mo.?

Of course, the next step is to expand the areas where you’re not fulfilling those needs, and to budget for associated estimated costs.

Some Other Ideas and Next Steps

Consider a ‘transition’ membership for new professionals to avoid the drop-off of student members who are suddenly faced with the burden of the full rate. You can attach age limits, years in profession, or adjust the rate to more than 50% of the full rate. Also consider appointing a young spokes- or chair-person for this effort. If you’re trying to recruit younger members, it makes sense to have someone of that age inviting people to join in a public way via the media, online communications, at the board, or emceeing events. Recognition is an important benefit, and if you have younger members involved, be sure to recognize them.

Once you’ve secured members, be sure you’re engaging them. You can conduct an organizational overview webinar or conference call, host new member receptions, send emails or handwritten notes with business cards at quarterly intervals, even just give new members a personal welcome call. Continue to recognize repeated memberships–2, 5, and more years, and list these in your publications. If they can’t volunteer, ask for their input to solicitation, speakers, and print materials or invite them to contribute articles or introduce events.

It also seems you need to evaluate if you have any younger or student members to begin with. If you have a student membership that isn’t being utilized, analyze why that is and strengthen this program. If you have younger members who are inactive, how can they be engaged? Ask them. Get creative–plan a trip, a special award for young professionals, or a networking event.

No doubt, it’s a lot of work, and more work than with other generations. If you want younger members to feel they belong and that their contributions are valued, your need to find a way to meet their needs and invite them not only to participate, but to lead. Set you goals for recruiting younger members, and name three action steps.

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Ignite Your Presentations

Heard of Ignite presentations or Pecha Kucha?

This year, Housing Colorado’s conference will feature 90 minutes of rapid-fire presentations to an affordable housing audience. Yours truly helped presenters get a frame of reference for the October event by covering what to expect and the basics of how to put a presentation together in this PowerPoint on a ReadyTalk call.

Presentation HC Ignite 9-09

Here are some additional examples:
From Denver’s Pecha Kucha Night
Fancy video of Jeff Veen presenting Great Designers Steal with basic overview of Ignite
Matt Harding of Seattle explains in Ignite format how he created an internet phenomenon

I touched on some other principles of effective presentations at this post. You may have other tips to share or questions…fire away–after all, the goal is to IGNITE–get it?!, he he.
(For Housing Colorado presenters, drafts are due 9/18 to conference@housingcolorado.org.)

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Book Review: e-Riches 2.0

I’m reading a lot this summer. It’s summer. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Well, there’s no beach involved, but I’m on goodreads if you care to sign in and find my lists or keep your own.

e -Riches 2.0: Next-Generation Marketing Strategies for Making Millions Online by Scott Fox is a good book for organizations wondering why and beginning to get into the social media scene.

e-Riches covers the what, why and how of some of the most popular social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and social news. With a bent towards marketing and business. But nonprofits market, and nonprofits are in business, so go forth and find this one to learn how public relations have changed, how you can measure your marketing program, and touches on higher-level topics like search-engine optimization, posting information content that can be freely accessed, and using video and advertising to drive more traffic to your site..

The book reiterates key points like:

  • Social media is just one PART of an overall marketing strategy.
  • Don’t forget that e-mail is still the number one social media tool.
  • MySpace is not where it’s at for most businesses.
  • You gotta build the crowd through multiple means.

Specific examples of each strategy are included, but this is not a book to devote hours and hours to pouring over. Rather, I find it useful as a skimmable reference for newbies or those looking to integrate social media to other parts of their organization.

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Teens & Media

Mobile technologies are a great way to reach teen audiences.
Even if you aren’t pondering a texting campaign, the following provide some pretty good insights to the changing world around us.

See slides of the Nielsen report findings, Kids on the Go: Mobile Usage by U.S. Teens and Tweens is a 2008 report from Nielsen Mobile that finds:
58% of tweens who download or watch TV on their phone do so at home;
64% of tweens who download or play music on their phone do so at home;
56% of tweens who access the Internet on their phone do so at home.

Another excerpt of the report says:
46% of tweens use cell phones.
On average, kids get their own cell phone between the ages of 10 and 11.
55% of tweens who own a cell phone send text messages and 21% download ringtones.

The report itself seems a bit elusive, but Nielsen’s How Teens Use Media (registration required) is from June 2009 and covers a broad spectrum of media, not just cell phones and texting.

Some surprising findings include:
Teens spend less time browsing the internet than adults.
TV watching is NOT being abandoned in favor of new media.
Teens read newspapers and magazines, and are still attracted by ads, and are the largest segment of movie-goers.
The typical U.S. teenager sends and receives nearly 100 text messages a day.
Of course they consume a lot of media–teens are early adopters of all technology, thus the term ‘digital native.’

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Conference? Add some fun…

Click below to see my PowerPoint overview with some ideas & links on integrating social media to conferences….

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Meet. Up.

I’ve finally taken the Meetup.com plunge.
Meetup logo

I’ve been a lurker, joining some groups around town, and even a few in other places just to see how different groups operate. I’ve even attended a few area meetups. Wow–was that a personal challenge for this introvert, or what?! I feel comfortable with the online interface as a user, so I figured it was time to start a group.

Oh, that, and I have some fabulous volunteers who are interested in managing and hosting groups!
That’s key to my outreach strategy for non-profits. It can be overwhelming managing all of these social networking tools. So I crafted some volunteer descriptions specific to meetups, and they’ve just been waiting for the right souls to fill them.

I’ll keep you posted, but wanted you to check out Meetup and share if you’ve had any experiences with joining or running groups of your own. And has anyone done this in relationship to a nonprofit?

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