It's helpful for the image of a business to be 'out there' yet I find, even with these social media tools, I'm still communicating in my normal voice. On Facebook I am still the smart-aleck little brother to my former classmates at New Plymouth High School in Idaho (I knew Facebook was here to stay when all my classmates magically learned to type and started living their lives there). On Twitter (another New Year's resolution) I pipe up twice a day with whatever is on my mind but it's generally professional and whatever fits in a haiku. Apparently Rebecca set me up so every post there also feeds LinkedIn so I am more careful than I would otherwise be. But bottom line, to paraphrase Popeye, I yam what I yam, so there are limits to how much I benefit or reach the outside world that I care to reach, because of who I regard myself to be and who I am comfortable being.
Why don't we do marketing well?
I say all this in part because as I use another weekend to recharge and reflect on conversations during the week, it's striking how often our group personality is also very non-marketing oriented. We want to speak in our authentic voice, which is admirable but often just doesn't get the marketing job done. I'm beginning to return to my past as marketing clients express grave doubts and conflicts when direct marketing letters "don't sound like them." We heard this over and over at Marketing General (and I'm sure they still hear it everyday). I heard it at Catholic Relief Services, when fellow division heads, even bishops on our board would express that it's a shame someone as smart as me would be in marketing--as if it's a waste of brains to focus one's effort in sending junk mail, managing telemarketing campaigns, and scheduling drops frequent enough to upset your best donors.
I have always felt this missed the point, because there was a science and art behind what we did. We had to spend well and keep it simple to raise enough money to keep the lights on. If we didn't have the active support (and relevant past experiences) on the part of our CEO, I have no idea how we could have employed the right techniques, aggressive frequency, and memorable messaging necessary to raise the $45 to $60 million we did every year in unrestricted giving.
Successful direct marketing techniques and business development methods haven't changed much over the past 30ish years and yet the average association still seems very far away from using a fraction of the tools and tricks that work. I'd invite comments and questions but I know nobody is reading this .... and those who need help the most don't believe they have a problem. So I'll just treat this first return to blogging as a message in a bottle, and later we'll provide some tips on how even the message in a bottle can be found, read, remembered, and acted upon.