3 Simple Steps. 1 Great Plan.

Why plan?

Why create a marketing plan? It takes time, energy and usually isn’t all that fun. Plus, you have your plan in your head so you should be all set, right?

Wrong.

According to Kivi’s 2012 Trends Report, only 24% of organizations have a written plan that has been approved by leadership. And yet, writing down your goals has been proven to up your odds of achieving them.

With no written plan, you are at risk of falling prey to shiny object syndrome. You will hear about a new social media tool that sounds fab and decide everyone else is using it and you must use it, too. Or a board member will suggest you do a big PR push and off you’ll go, in full pursuit of the latest shiny object.

This is the tail wagging the dog. Maybe these are great ideas, maybe they’re not. It depends on your goals. Twitter, Facebook, PR, websites, blogs, newsletters, annual reports—these are all simply a means to an end. Planning makes sure you achieve your goals in the most effective and efficient way possible.

How to plan?

Now that you’re convinced you should have a written marketing plan, the question is how do you develop one given limited time, money and, let’s be honest, enthusiasm for the task at hand?

Enter the 1, 2, 3 Marketing Tree, a tool I developed to  make it simple for you—the mission-motivate of the world—to get laser-focused on your marketing goals and how you’ll achieve them.

The 1, 2, 3 Marketing Tree demystifies marketing and reveals the three questions you really have to ask and answer in order to reach your goals.

  1. WHAT does marketing success look like for your organization?
  2. WHO do you need to reach in order to be successful?
  3. HOW will you reach them?

Ready to get started? Download a free version of the Tree or buy the poster-size version (featured in the video above so you can see it ‘live’) and get planning!

Avoiding Messaging Mayhem

Remember the game ‘telephone’ from grade school? The first person would whisper something to the next and it would make its way down the line until it got to the last person who would announce the then mangled sentence. I love that game. But I don’t love it when it happens to nonprofits and it happens a lot.

We talked about this game when I recently spoke at the Washington Food Coalition’s Annual Conference because there was a lot of angst about “losing control of our message” among this great group of folks.

My suggestion was to focus on making it really easy for people passionate about their organizations to spread the word about your organization. That means picking one thing that everyone will focus on. One thing; not your everything.

When it comes to messaging, success isn’t everyone repeating the same one phrase verbatim; success is when your fans can consistently convey the most important and compelling thing about your organization while still making it feel personal.

This is why all organizations benefit from having a simple Messaging Framework. You should see the relief on the faces of staff and volunteers when they know how to talk about the good work you’re doing.

Here is a template that will help you develop a Messaging Framework Template.  It’s simple, straight-forward and will make people jump for joy at the opportunity to learn more about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.