A marketing campaign - means to move forward (Part 1)
Many groups have discussed or been involved in efforts to generate a "marketing" campaign.
I would like to lay out a process where non-profit recreation groups can change their current strategy (or on-going efforts) in order to become more effective.
Marketing is getting your name/logo recognized in a broad segment of the market. As such, a successful campaign attains name recognition outside their field. The entire marketing aspect encompasses two different aspects: individual members and businesses. That requires a two prong marketing strategy. One geared to individual members and another geared to supporting business members.
Okay, so what? You already have that. But, are you effective?
A lot of time is spent on individual membership issues and I will not dwell on that effort as that requires a different marketing approach. However, it is a critical component of a successful marketing campaign.
My focus will be on the supporting business membership aspects.
For the sake of a starting point, let us say that Organization Broken Winch intends to increase name recognition as a major advocate for recreation. A measure of knowing that they are succeeding is they attain name recognition outside the traditional 4x4/OHV community.
From that perspective, you need to address two market segments: traditional partners and non-traditional partners.
In Marketing 101 Part 1, I will deal with the traditional partner concept.
Traditional partners are easy to identify. They are the manufacturers and suppliers of products used by the membership. To that extent, your marketing approach needs to address that you represent a market segment that buys their product.
Now, you need the means to communicate the message that associating with Organization Broken Winch is an opportunity for the manufacturer/supplier to increase their profit line. To achieve that, you need to provide the manufacturer/supplier with data that describes your membership base in terms of demographic profiles that describe the products your members use.
With that type of data, you can show that you represent an important market segment that will reduce the cost of marketing on the behalf of the the manufacturer/supplier. That translates into simple advertising revenue income on our part.
A more complex aspect involves making them aware that you, as an organization, are pursuing efforts to increase your membership base in order to provide them with a larger target audience for their marketing efforts. And, that you, as an organization, are being successful in increasing your membership base.
To accomplish that, you need to have a strong membership drive that grows the membership from year to year. And, you need to retain your membership from year to year.
And, you need to provide the manufacturer/supplier a solid foundation of vision and strategy as to why you are more important to them than your competition.
During my tenure as chairman of the Tierra del Sol Desert Safari, I set out to increase our name recognition as an event that brought together a large crowd of 4x4 enthusiasts so that participating vendors had a large target audience to promote their products. And, the vendors had an audience that could provide them with critical feedback on durability of their product.
The fact that Desert Safari has grown from 20 on-site vendors to over 100 on-site vendors attest to the success at delivering the audience to the vendors. And, that Desert Safari attendance has maintained a consistent growth helped entice vendors to commit their resources to attend the event.
As a by-product, efforts to solicit raffle prizes have been reduced. And, vendors are now calling Tierra del Sol asking about attendance and participation.
With respect to Organization Broken Winch, your marketing strategy to the traditional partners needs to focus on membership growth and what you are doing to protect the fundamental values of your membership base that will keep them involved and purchasing the products provided by the manufacturers and suppliers.
In short, having a successful marketing strategy that attracts traditional business supporter entails having a successful marketing strategy to attract and retain membership.
And, you need to have a cohesive action plan in place that protects the reason people drive a 4x4 in pursuit of recreation experience.
To achieve this end, a marketing presence at the major manufacturer shows such as SEMA and Off Road Expo where your traditional partners are in attendance is essential. Your presence at those types of shows puts our name, logo, and efforts in front of a broad range of potential supporting business members. And potential event participants.
Your presence should be supported by:
1. Marketing/Media Kit that describes Organization Broken Winch, its membership base, and its efforts to promote motorized recreation and why Organization Broken Winch is important to the business owner as a part of their strategy to grow their profit line.
2. Recognize member companies in attendance by placing a placard in their booth indicating they are a supporting member of Organization Broken Winch.
3. Recognize ALL member companies by prominently display on a sign in your booth. In addition, your membership base needs to be promoted to display its geographic diversity and strength in numbers.
Yes, there is an associated cost that goes with this effort. For example, one of the major costs of manning a booth is personnel expenses, i.e. travel, food and lodging.
Overall, the cost of obtaining a database of e-mail addresses for potential members from a direct marketing firm is significant. Your presence at industry shows allows you to collect those contacts with minimal expense and is a critical part of your marketing strategy to attract supporting business members.
Keep in mind that your "traditional partners" are the manufactures and suppliers of the aftermarket products purchased by your event participants for their motorized vehicles, including tow rigs (trucks/RVs) and trailers as well as the 4x4 vehicles they drive on the trail.