A nonprofit organization had moved from a start-up phase into its formation phase.
We were contracted to create their marketing plan. In all of our projects related to marketing requests we do what we call the discovery phase, which basically consists of finding out what the current marketing activities are, the results of these activities and the current plans for going forward. After performing the discovery phase, we found many things including the following key points:
1. Past and current marketing activities were executed on a shot-gun approach or just trial and error
2. Branding (customer awareness) was about nil and no branding programs were planned
3. External and internal marketing communication was relatively ineffective
We recommend that instead of a marketing plan for 2012/2013, that a mini market research program be performed with the following key objectives
1. Who are the customer/audiences (demographic segmentation)?
2. How aware are the targeted audience segments about your organization (awareness)?
3. What perceived value does your organization provide to the various audience segments?
These were key objectives because to have a successful marketing campaign you need to know your audience, what value you bring to the table along with goals and objectives.
We preformed a first pass interview process (electronically, phone calls and in person methods) to provide insight to the major objectives.
This high level survey provided the following:
1. They have a very diverse customer audience (segmentation)
2. There is very little awareness in each of the segments
3. Of those who were aware of the organization, they thought there were some unique value propositions
The benefits from doing the survey first before creating a marketing plan is that it definitely saved valuable time and money
Second, the survey provided basic information which didn’t exist before, that would be used in the foundation of a more effective marketing plan.
Third, the survey provided insight that structural changes are needed within the organization, along with better defined roles and responsibilities before any kind of marketing and strategy plans were developed and implemented.
Lesson learned — collect current, accurate and appropriate data before any plans are developed, don’t depend upon assumptions or institutional knowledge!