You’ve heard The Agitator use the word ‘relevance’ over and over.

Why? Because relevance is the only gateway to your donors these days. They’ll no longer allow you to just barge in with stuff you think is important. Indeed, relevance is a concept that originates totally in the customer. The consumer/donor, not you (the brand) does all the defining. Your job is to be prepared to respond with content that meets their specifications.

So, forget about the ‘brand telling stories’ model. Sure, stories are terrific vehicles, use them, but not if they aren’t relevant.

And because consumers/donors are ‘always on’ (think social media, think mobile), your organization must also be ‘always on’ in the marketing sense … and especially with respect to creating fresh relevant content.

This article from the Harvard Business Review blog — Advertisers Should Act More Like Newsrooms — talks about ‘always on’ marketing as the new marketing paradigm.

It urges advertisers to abandon the traditional long-term ‘campaign’ — committed to a message or theme a year in advance, creative all prepared and waiting in the vault (think Mad Men) — and instead to think and operate like always evolving newsrooms. And what is constantly changing is content that’s relevant and available on demand.

“For messages to be heard in 2020, brands will need to create an enormous amount of useful, appealing, and timely content. To get there, brands will have to leave behind organizations and thinking built solely around the campaign model, and instead adopt the defining characteristics of the real-time, data-driven newsroom — a model that’s prolific, agile and audience-centric.”

Perhaps this is a mindset already embraced by at least certain kinds of more opportunistic nonprofits — advocacy groups, for example — rather than by more static charities or our commercial brethren.

I hope so, because if your organization can’t keep pace — can’t keep a steady stream of relevant content available on demand — you’re hosed. Better be a ‘newsroom’ in your organization.

Tom Belford

This article was posted in: Communications, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit branding, Social media.
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