Now, the article I’m going to recommend to you today has this headline — Is Your Online Marketing an F?

When I saw the headline, I figured the piece might be good for a few practical pointers. It was … it’s mainly about optimizing online lead conversions. And for that reason it’s worth a read if you’re in the online fundraising or issue advocacy biz.

But I was especially taken by the article’s very first point — Stop listening to the HiPPOs — which actually turns out to be far more universal in application than just converting online leads.

Perhaps I’ve led a sheltered life, but I’ve never before heard the acronym. For the equally clueless, it means: Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.

Aha! I’ll bet you instantly recognize this common organizational syndrome.

HiPPOs are too often, as the article says, based upon “conjecture and so-called ‘experience’.”

The coping advice given: diplomatically offer an alternative idea and suggest testing it.

I realize that if you’re on a middle rung of the ladder or lower, that advice might strike you as ‘easier said than done’. Nevertheless, it’s the right advice, even if demanding some courage to follow.

What’s the worst HiPPO that you’ve ever come across in your organization? What path to ruin did it put you on? Or were you able to circumvent him/her/it?

Tom

P.S. And if you’re at or near the top of the ladder in your organization, watch yourself. Don’t throw your HiPPO weight around, and don’t squash — instead prize — staff who challenge HiPPO thinking.

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