Non-government organizations often find themselves having a harder time when it comes to building out and implementing effective marketing strategies due to their unique situations. This, compounded with an over saturation of social agencies can make it quite difficult to stand out in a crowd and formulate an effective plan.
Furthermore, the world is changing, demographics are shifting, and the ever growing technological advancements are having profound effects on every industry across the board, transforming the ways in which we view traditional forms of marketing.
However, one thing remains certain — there is a consistent and ever-growing, overarching sentiment for a “back-to-basics” mentality when it comes to Non profit communications. Long gone are the days where self-promotional press releases and monthly email newsletters will suffice.
Cultivating relationships through organic communications and organizational transparency are now more than ever the key to long-term sustainability. As a result, we’ve brought to you 5 marketing trends that Non profits should consider in 2018 that will absolutely dominate the industry. The successful implementation of these following trends are the key to longevity and sustainability.
Authentic, organic connections are what every NGO should be striving for when it comes to their marketing agenda. It’s not just the millennial demographic that is tired of traditional in-your face, self-promotional marketing tactics and strategies and boring press releases — it’s the public in general.
According to a recent Forbes article, storytelling was considered to be one of the “most important marketing tools” for NGOs in 2017. Ever since the beginning of communications, humans have been telling each other stories. It’s practically embedded within our psychology as a comforting act that breeds emotional connections.
Improving identity through authentic and organic connections is absolutely vital to sustainability in today’s market. You have to become relatable, to humanize your organization and strive to improve engagement with the public, donors and potential investors in both the digital and offline spheres.
So remember that transparency is key when it comes to all forms of communications, especially those of the marketing form. So give a face to your organization and show them that you are invested in the social sphere.
Social Media & Livestreaming
According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of adults (56%) with internet use “more than one of the five social media networks”. If you’re not already aware of how essential the social networking realm is to society in general, let alone your organization, then you have a good deal of catching up to do.
In fact, an insane “92% of NGOs worldwide have a Facebook Page” as of this year. Furthermore, a recent 2017 Tech Report found that “72% have a Twitter profile, and 39% are active on Instagram”.
Again this all goes back to authenticity and the desire for transparency and unadulterated communications. Platforms such as Periscope, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are essential for making an impact with your livestreaming efforts. While Snapchat is currently the most popular among tween and teenager demographics, data shows a steady and consistent growth in their daily active users, especially among millennials and Gen Xers.
In fact, the platform Snapchat has “150 million active users; 86% of those users are between the ages of 13 and 34”. Even the White House is taking notice and actively uses the platform for strategic communications. The platform Ironpaper suggests “repackaging the live stream content for further use in blogging, email, and social media content” as an essential step.
Furthermore with digital payments making their mark on the social media sphere, the ROI of social network investment is going to be practically revolutionized.
If you’re in the school of thought that influencer marketing is limited to makeup brands and personal trainers then you’re sorely mistaken. In fact, influencer marketing, including micro influencer marketing is a key marketing trend across all industries — and it’s only continuing to catch on and spread like wildfire.
According to InfluencerMarketingHub, micro influencers in fact “perform…at least 90%” of influencer marketing as just average every day individuals who have built up a social media following. Influencers are extremely useful in providing assistance through blogs and websites, guest posts and can help in spreading the word via their vast social networks.
Meltwater Influencer Contact Database is an excellent resource for NGOs looking to do research on influencers in various industries. The platform not only contains a large list of influencers available for contact, but it also conveniently allows you to customize your searches and delve into deeper details on the activities of various influencers. The platform also offers insanely convenient ROI and analytics tools so that you’re able to keep track of certain engagement KPIs.
Organizations can choose to implement various influencers as brand evangelists or advocates who can help rally their social circles around a cause. According to recent statistics, organizations are making a whopping “$6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing” — that’s a pretty solid ROI.
Content marketing should be a foundational piece to any NGO marketing strategy — and for most — it absolutely is. In fact, 92% of NGOs currently use content marketing and consider it a vital part of their overall marketing strategy. Content marketing is a powerful tactic and recent statistics have found that it can harness as much as 6x more the power than other forms of traditional marketing, according to the CMI.
A large part of this reason is because it’s so versatile. Content is the basis for blogging, website development, social media presence, email marketing and just about every other form of strategic communications in the digital sphere.
When it comes to content marketing, developing and properly implementing a solid strategy that is measureable and can be analyzed and tweaked for maximum effectiveness is key to success. Multiplatform publishing is also a trend for 2018, however, it’s important not to widen your focus so much that your efforts become diluted.
Keep them concise and targeted for maximum effectiveness. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Medium and even Google, which is currently in the process of preparing to launch a podium, are great options for organizations, regardless of industry or size.
With the ever increasing demographic shifts going on (most notably being number of active internet users), it’s important that NGOs imbue a fresh perspective when it comes to the face of their organizations and strive to become sustainable social enterprises.
Devex is a media platform which caters to the “global development community” and also boasts as the “largest provider of recruiting and business development services for global development”. In a recent article authored by Chris Meyer zu Natrup, founder and director of MzN International, the author discusses the importance of revamping perspective to meet contemporary society.
Many leaders he speaks with are now more than ever “considering moving the business model from that of a donor-funded, traditional non governmental organization, toward a sustainable social enterprise”. All too often NGOs find themselves heavily dependent on a small handful of large donors and as a result they are in a perpetual state of vulnerability.
The change from a traditional NGO that “secures and implements government development and aid projects “ to an organization that is able to embrace creativity and independence and be able to “account for its actions openly” should be embraced wholeheartedly.
When you’re able to diversify your funding bases, you’re able to breathe, spread your wings and enjoy greater levels of both security and simultaneously independence. This is an immensely beneficial state to be in now that authenticity and organizational transparency are so valuable.
If one thing is for certain, it’s that most traditional NGOs find the prospect of implementing successful marketing strategies to be particularly daunting given their unique situation.
However staying on top of current trends is absolutely essential to success and getting the highest ROI. Through marketing NGOs are able to mold and define their public image, spread their message, attract donors and volunteers and catalyze change.
However, traditional techniques simply will no longer cut it. Contemporary society yearns for a more authentic connection from organizations and transparency is a vital necessity. With the vast spread of social media and its profound effects on our society, now more than ever is the time for organizations to hone their strategies and invest in ventures such as livestreaming, influencers and multi-channel content marketing.
Most importantly of these however is the need for a fresh perspective — a fundamental shift from the traditional purpose and identities of NGOs to one that seamlessly melds with contemporary needs and desires.