What is a media tour and how can it positively affect my bottom line? Many years ago, I asked the same question. When our public relations (PR) agency first mentioned this concept, I immediately assumed it was something that authors and actors do to promote their latest creative endeavor! Whatever the term media tour might mean to you, though, in the PR business, it means free money!
When the topic of "marketing" arises in a conversation, it's always interesting to hear the numerous perceptions tied to this rather straightforward concept. The full spectrum of responses includes advertising, word-of-mouth, fluff, and my personal favorite—selling you something you don't need! I believe the problem with understanding marketing lies in the over-commercialization of the term, which ignores business acumen, strategy, and execution.
According to the American Marketing Association, "Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives." Sound simple enough?
Unfortunately, there is no marketing equivalent of accountants' Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or manufacturing managers' First In, First Out (IFO) or Last In, First Out (LIFO) for inventory valuation. The following discussion is intended to help senior nonprofit managers evaluate and realign specific facets of their approach to marketing.
Every nonprofit has goals or objectives. In the process of reaching those goals, the organization needs financial supporters (donors) who hear its message and want to be part of its journey. Organizations then apply traditional marketing methods to reach those donors.
An organization's greatest asset is its brand. Branding is the process of creating a clear, consistent message about your organization, so that when people see your logo or hear your name, they'll think of your mission and programs in terms you have defined. I.e., the way you want them to.
In graduate school recently, I drew on 18 years' practical experience in marketing to look at nonprofits and branding. I found that nonprofits devote little time, energy, and care to branding, and that they generally relegate this process to a lower-level functionary.
The reason why is readily apparent: daily responsibilities and thin resources give nonprofit executives little time for the reflection that effective brand management requires. The purpose of this article is to help busy nonprofit managers by distilling the essentials of branding in a simple and concise fashion.