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Creating a marketing communications plan tools

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Creating a marketing communications plan tools

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A Creative Solutions & Innovations Tool Kit that describes the tools included in Creating a Marketing Communications Plan. Tools include: SWOT & SWOT Interplay, Positioning your NPO, Channels, POST Development Tool and Message Development Box.

A Creative Solutions & Innovations Tool Kit that describes the tools included in Creating a Marketing Communications Plan. Tools include: SWOT & SWOT Interplay, Positioning your NPO, Channels, POST Development Tool and Message Development Box.

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Creating a marketing communications plan tools

  1. 1. Strategic Marketing Communications Tools “Any group that does not have an effective [marketing] communication program will raise only a fraction of the money they would otherwise attract.” Fundraising Guru Roger Craver Strategic Communications for Nonprofits TOOLS:  SWOT & SWOT Interplay  Positioning Your NPO  Channels  Post Development Tool  Message Development Box Deborah Spector deborah@creative-si.com
  2. 2. Key Research Tools - SWOT & SWOT Interplay What is a SWOT? SWOT in an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The internal part is about an organization’s strengths and weaknesses; opportunities and threats are from outside the organization. A SWOT is used for auditing an organization and its environment. The exercise helps identify strategic issues and the internal and external factors that are favorable – or not, to reach a goal. SWOT is an important research tool for marketing communications & branding initiatives, strategic planning, preparing for a specific project and special events. How to conduct a SWOT:  Pull together a team including senior staff, board members & volunteers. Use the SWOT exercise to involve and engage people and to develop a sense of ownership.  Hang four flip charts on wall or place on easels.  Title each one with a different category.  Identify a team member or outside volunteer to serve as scribe.  Ask each person to name strengths & weaknesses as well as opportunities & threats.  Since a SWOT is subjective at times one person will see strength in what another sees as a weakness. Be sure and capture these differences and record everyone’s comments.  Develop a series of questions for each category. The questions will vary according to goal of SWOT. Strengths/Weaknesses: What are your strengths/weaknesses? What are your competitive strengths/weaknesses? Do you have needed staff, volunteers, IT, marketing, management, strategic plan? Opportunities/Threats What external factors provide opportunities/threats? Relationship with competitors in your marketplace Social, economic, government opportunities/threats SAMPLE SWOT Analysis Internal Strengths:  Staff capacity  Volunteer Corps  Committed leadership  Our momentum of change External Opportunities:  Disseminate data to increase partners  Untapped opportunities with other npos in our market niche  Grant opportunities Internal Weaknesses:  Lack of capacity  Lack of events to engage prospects  No crisis communications plan  No board commitment to communications planning External Threats:  Weak economy  Unsettled political environment  Funders shifting funding focus  Competition from other npos for funding
  3. 3. What is SWOT Interplay? SWOT Interplay is designed to take the information summarized in the SWOT analysis and tell you what actions your nonprofit should and/or should not take. This is where you look at the interrelationship of Strengths and Opportunities, Strengths and Threats, Weaknesses and Opportunities and Weaknesses and Threats. How to Proceed: Take the points listed from your SWOT. On the new table, list the strengths and weaknesses on the left side. List the opportunities and threats at the top. As you proceed you might discover that a strength and/or weakness will link to a number of opportunities and/or threats. And, sometimes you will not find any connections. Stay focused on those points that interplay. Deborah Spector, an NPO Connect Content Expert, is president of Creative Solutions & Innovations, an independent consulting firm that empowers nonprofits to do good! Deborah specializes in strategic marketing communications and special event management. Stay connected – www.creative-si.com/blog. Follow me on Twitter @CreativeSI.
  4. 4. Positioning Your NPO Positioning is at the heart of nonprofit marketing. As described by Philip Kotler, marketer extraordinaire, positioning designs an organization’s image and value offer so that its customers appreciate what the organization stands for in relationship to its competitors. Marketing “pulls” a nonprofit’s audiences from where they are to create a desired action. Communications “pushes” out messages. Positioning is the linchpin between the two. Positioning flows from a nonprofit’s mission. Positioning guides an organization into the future and works to build its reputation with its key audiences. Positioning is strategic. Can you think of anything more valuable than your nonprofit’s reputation? And, in this changing landscape where nonprofit’s must be nimble and quick, positioning takes on even more importance in competition to be loved “or be out.” A positioning statement is a tight, focused description of the core target audience to whom a nonprofit is directed, and it provides a compelling picture of how the organization wants its targeted audiences to view them. A well-constructed positioning statement brings focus and clarity to the development of the marketing strategy and tactics. How does the positioning statement effect a nonprofit’s marketing strategy? According to Brandeo, an online marketing resource, every decision that is made regarding a brand is judged by how well it supports its positioning statement. Brandeo describes the four elements or components of a positioning statement. I have qualified these for nonprofits: 1. Target Audience – Knowing your target audience is fundamental to an organization’s success. 2. Frame of Reference – the marketing niche in which a nonprofit competes. 3. Benefit/Point of Difference - the most compelling and motivating benefit that an organization owns in the hearts and minds of its target audience relative to the competition. 4. Reason to Believe - the most convincing proof that the brand delivers what it promises Creating a Positioning Statement Start with the discovery process. The discovery process should be inclusive. I like to convene a blue ribbon panel composed of at least senior management and leadership. Task them to identify their niche in the market, e.g., market leader, challenger, follower or nicher. Chances
  5. 5. are people sitting around the table will have a feel for the role their organization plays in the marketplace. Audience discovery phone calls provide insights from the nonprofit are stakeholders. If the leadership and staff identify themselves as a market leader, you will have to decide whether to emphasize expanding the total market, protect current market share or expand the market share; as a market challenger, decisions include whom to challenge and how; as a market follower, focus on following closely, at a distance or selectively; or as a market nicher, in what parts of the marketplace the organization will specialize, e.g., which services can be offered through specialization better than larger nonprofits. The next step involves identifying challengers and collaborators within the niche. Time and again I hear that an organization is unique, that there are no challengers. More unsettling is the belief, especially by leadership that collaboration is not necessary. Interestingly, as the exercise unfolds, the discovery of challengers (and what they do as well if not better) spurs very dynamic conversations. SWOT is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment, and is extremely useful. The visioning exercise sets the stage; the SWOT analyzes the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your preliminary plan. Be realistic when you do a SWOT. Be as specific as possible. Next explore SWOT Interplay. This is where you look at Strengths and Opportunities, Strengths and Threats, Weaknesses and Opportunities and Weaknesses and Threats. From this you’ll learn:  Clear matches of Strengths and Opportunities through which you can leverage your strengths to take advantage of an opportunity  With the organization’s Strengths and Threats if you need to mobilize your resources, either alone or through your network, to avert a possible threat  Judgment calls to invest, divest or collaborate where you have Weaknesses and Opportunities  The need to do damage control where the nonprofit has Weaknesses and Threats Once you’re finished the discovery process it will be time to write the positioning statement. Don’t forget that a mission statement defines the nonprofit’s purpose, whereas the positioning statement speaks to the organization’s uniqueness. The positioning statement is internal. All external communications should flow from and refer back to the positioning statement.
  6. 6. CHANNELS Communication Channels to Listen, Monitor & Engage Provide Info & start dialog Fundraising News & Link Promote Research Provide Resources Promote Events Person responsible for Channels Website      DS Blog    On-line newsletter Email SEO Facebook YouTube Podcast Twitter Webinars Conferences, training Face to Face meetings SEO Press Releases PSA Advertising On-line advertising Meeting with Community Partners SlideShare
  7. 7. People: Evaluate social media activities of your community. Objectives: Identify the goals & accomplishments you want to achieve Strategy: Plan how your organization’s relationships with community will change Technology: Decide which traditional & social media tools are most applicable based on P, O & S
  8. 8. Message Development Box The message development box helps you develop the messages you need for your communications plan and/or for a specific campaign. Use a clean copy (see next tool) at message development sessions. You do not need to use the messages in any particular order. You need to decide where to start depending on your audience. Messages for The Media THRESHOLD MESSAGES: What do people need to know, believe or care about to become engaged? What obstacles do you have to overcome to get people over the threshold? SOLUTION MESSAGES: And, the world would be a better place. . . What is the projected positive outcome? How would people’s lives be better? ACTION MESSAGES: What is the purpose of the message? What do you want people to do? Link it to the goal of this specific campaign. REINFORCEMENT MESSAGES: How do you keep people involved? Do your supporters carry your messages? What do you give them to do so? Do you have statistics, anecdotes, or sound bites? Put your organization’s name or the name of the campaign here
  9. 9. Message Development Box Threshold Message & supporting points 1. 2. 3. Solution Message and Supporting points 1. 2. 3. Action Message and Supporting points 1. 2. 3. Reinforcement Message and supporting points 1. 2. 3.

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