Small Orgs: How and Why to Prioritize Marketing

Incorporate marketing into your organizational culture.

Wendy Ruyle 8.13.2014

As a small organization you have to put marketing at the top of your list if you are going to take it to the next level. Here’s a few ways to incorporate it into your strategic plan and organizational culture.

Why is it so hard?

Marketing has changed drastically since content marketing entered the picture. It used to be that you had a set number of marketing pieces you needed to create for the year. When those pieces were done and printed, they were done. Nobody shared them online. Nobody posted comments about them. If your customers were having a conversation about you, you didn’t know about it and you didn’t worry about it.

Things are different today. Every day, every hour, every minute, new content is going up on the web and you have to deal with it. Either it’s someone else’s content that you are competing with or it’s your content that needs to be created and shared and monitored. And it never ends.

The problem is, we’re still treating marketing like we did 10-15 years ago. We started all these social accounts, enewsletters, and blogs and we forgot how much more work it is. A lot of us never made all this extra stuff someone’s job.

Make it someone’s job

The buck has to stop somewhere. Someone has to be responsible for getting the work done. Because that work is endless. It’s not just pushing a message. It’s a conversation. It’s customer service. It’s outreach.

This person doesn’t have to do all the work themselves. They can recruit other staff, volunteers, and board members to help create content and share it. But they have to be empowered to take the lead and they have to take it seriously.

Allocate resources

In order for this person to be empowered, you need to give them resources. Probably the biggest one is time. They need time to monitor what’s going on online, respond to issues that come up, grab opportunities to spread your message, and create the planned content that gets your message out.

They need a budget for internal and external resources. If you are a nonprofit looking for grants think about how content marketing—the content you are producing and putting out there for your constituents (which is really outreach)—fits into your mission. Marketing is more than and operations cost these days. Get it in your yearly budget.

They also need training. They have to have the time and budget to research new marketing techniques and try them out. Classes or other professional development events can help them keep up with the ever-changing world.

Make it part of your culture

Not only do you have to empower that one person who’s wrangling the marketing in your organization, you have to encourage everyone else to participate. Make content marketing part of your culture.

For staff, get them involved with creating content. Have quarterly meetings to discuss marketing with everyone. Include marketing staff as a part of your decision-making process. Invite them to the table when you are making strategic decisions.

For board members, management, and volunteers, make sure they know how important marketing is and how they can help—writing articles, sharing on social media, sharing their personal stories and expertise, getting the word out.

By taking these steps to integrate marketing into your organization at the level it needs to be, you’ll be less reactive and have more perspective to accomplish your goals.

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