Five Days of Marketing: Relationships

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. ISBN 978-1-300-59132-1. $24.99.

Congratulations—you have completed the first two sections of this workbook! We are now going to explore your organization’s relationships.

Relationships are perhaps the most important thing in life, and this maxim holds true in the practice of marketing as well. Marketing is the process of making the most of your organization’s relationships in, I argue, a non-manipulative way that creates value for everyone.

In this section, we are going to explore your organization’s relationships with multiple stakeholders:

  • Program participants—the people who actively engage in the programs and services offered by your organization
  • Philanthropic partners—the people and organizations that provide financial support to your organization
  • Staff—the people who perform the work of your organization for remuneration
  • Board of directors—the group responsible for governance of your organization
  • Other volunteers– people who contribute their time to the work of your organization
  • Strategic partners—organizations that collaborate with your organization
  • Communities served—groups of people who benefit from your organizations
  • Communities of practice—other organizations that are providing similar programs and services

These groups are called target markets in marketing practice, but I like to think of them as friends of the organization to emphasize the mutuality of the relationship. Another marketing practice is called segmenting. This is the process of organizing large groups, such as program participants, into more specific groups based on relevant characteristics such as age, length of involvement, or depth of involvement.

On the pages that follow, describe each type of organizational friend, or target market. You might find it helpful to complete a worksheet for specific individuals or market segments. You may also find that you are able to identify market segments by thinking through the questions about each group.

Make sure that the information you record for each target market is not based on unexplored assumptions. Use formal and informal means to gather information about each group.

After describing each target market, we are going to analyze the networks that connect your organization to individuals and groups both within and outside of your community.

The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook can be purchased at our store. An eBook version is also available.

Five Days of Marketing: Introduction

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. ISBN 978-1-300-59132-1. $24.99.

Marketing is the art of bringing together like-minded people to develop mutually beneficial relationships and to exchange ideas and resources. Organizations engage in marketing whenever they offer a program or service, recruit volunteers, or raise money. In other words, marketing is an ongoing, everyday practice. In this book, we will learn how to be more intentional and strategic about marketing so that your organization builds stronger relationships to achieve its goals.

In my experience, many people in the nonprofit sector resist marketing. It is sometimes thought of as a wicked enterprise that is based on deception and manipulation. Nonprofits sometimes adopt marketing practices from the for-profit sector only to deepen their distain for the field. In this workbook, we are going to redefine marketing as a positive, relational practice that is specific to social change and community benefit organizations. We will carefully explore and expose all of the mysteries of marketing, leading to both greater comfort and confidence as well as a solid plan that can benefit your organization, the people you serve, and your community. By the end of this book, I hope you will see marketing as both useful and fun.

I was a marketing major in college. I love creative ideas and creating connections. Marketing feels very natural to me. My marketing practice is authentic and holistic. It is an expression of my values and my hopes for the world. I never compromise myself when I engage in marketing, though I do sometimes stretch myself so that I am able to meet others where they are. As you work through the pages in this book, think about your own philosophy of marketing and how it can be an expression of your organization’s core values.

We are going to begin by carefully examining your organization. We will start by exploring your organization’s values and culture. From there, we will identify core competencies, describe your programs and services, describe your location, and articulate your brand. Next, we will examine the social, institutional, and political environments in which your organization is situated. From there, we will explore all of your organization’s internal and external relationships. After that, we will discuss how your organization can communicate with the many people and organizations that are involved with your work. After we have explored your organization, environment, relationships, and means of communication, we will start to develop specific marketing goals and strategies. To conclude, will organize everything into a living plan to guide the marketing efforts of your organization.

With best wishes for continued success in responding to community needs and creating new possibilities,

Jessica R. Dreistadt

Founding director, the Fruition Coalition

The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook can be purchased at our store. An eBook version is also available.