All Marketing is Not the Same
Yes. That's a QR code. That you scan with a phone. On a billboard.
Does that mean QR codes are bad marketing?
Of course not. It just means that all things cannot be marketed the same.
This comes to mind on the heels of recent conversations where advancement MarComm teams are looking to promote new things to their alumni. It might be their first day of giving. Perhaps they have a new alumni mobile app. Or even a new alumni website or membership program.
While some marketing to alumni and donors will be iterative to things a team has marketed before - like a new type of membership recently added to a long running alumni association membership program - many things are just plain new.
Now, we believe all manner of marketing can be learned. We've also witnessed a lot of new flavors of marketing fall flat. If you have a new alumni app, for example, email promotion simply isn't going to be enough.
You'll need social media ads. You'll need pixel re-marketing strategies. You'll want to leverage Google AdWords. Relevant event signage. Ambassador programs. Peer-to-peer marketing tools and incentives. And, yes, email. And while the email part might be "free," those paid Facebook ads are probably going to butter your bread on alumni app adoption.
Does that mean you shouldn't get an app? Or relaunch your website? Or startup a new affinity program? Of course not. These are the things that alumni want and you are mission focused on their engagement increasing.
So what is one to do?
By and large, I'd say that marketing and adoption support should be rolled into anything new you might offer your constituents. Might you have some of the pieces of the team in house? Of course. But depending on how unique to your org the new offering is, you might only have a fraction of what you really need to be successful.
And, frankly, if you cannot fund a strong adoption program, you shouldn't bother funding the new offering for your community. It just isn't going to pan out. It doesn't have to be a lot. And it doesn't have to last forever. But as you build up a budget and your Total Cost of Ownership, don't forget to develop a Total Cost of Adoption.