We can't say it enough; marketing is not sales. Nor is its primary objective to earn your business profit. Sales is a byproduct produced through the relationship marketing has built between your brand and your audience. There is no time like this present moment to be reminded of this very premise. At a time where dollars are flowing less through our economy, we must not forget the value that marketing provides in staying connected to the stakeholders we serve. There will be a time coming where they will be able to invest once again in your company, association, or charity. When that moment returns, you want to ensure they can remember how you used marketing not to sell to them, but just to be there for them. We were so impressed when we saw a post from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) soliciting their members for insight. The call to action was simple. "Please tell us what you need right now. How can we help you?" The association posted this question across all of its social media channels and website.
Key takeaways from this great example:
The simplicity of the message shows no strings attached.
The message brings the audience to the center stage. AIGA guaranteed that this moment was about its members and nothing more.
The ask acknowledged our human reality. Without emphasizing the challenge, the association addressed the current emergency at hand with sensitivity.
AIGA humanized its brand for its human audience. Without taking away from the mission to support members in their careers, AIGA redirected their support to address the needs of their human audience as it relates to life amidst COVID-19.
It shows the association cares. Without having to say so, AGIA told its members that the relationship developed between the association and its constituents is a two-way street. The connection goes above and beyond membership dues. It also includes the support of its members during good and challenging seasons.
At times like these, it's ok to pivot and go off-script. Brands are always talking about and striving towards being relevant. There is nothing more relevant than engaging your audience right where they are. Even if this means using your marketing channels to communicate outside of the everyday product and service offerings. This is marketing with heart. This is the human side of marketing.