The Perfect Gift


'Tis the season to be jolly! Oh, how we love the Christmas and holiday season here at THuS Marketing. Usually, folks get a little kinder (after the Black Friday rush), there is a beacon of hope blanketing the atmosphere, and gift-giving allows new ways of expressing how we feel for one another.


We believe as association marketers that there is so much we can learn from this time of year. Trickled within the music, jingle bells, lights, and carols are invaluable marketing advice that will benefit any marketer, but especially those wearing their nonprofit marketing hat.


This Wednesday, let's look at the retailers who will have stores filled with wall-to-wall people grabbing at shelves or websites with a record number of visitors for the month, searching for just the right gift for the ones they love. Gift-giving is an art form that shouldn't be taken lightly. After all, the last thing you want to be is that person everyone regifts whatever it is you have wrapped up for them because you never get it right.


Your friends and loved ones are no longer excited to see your gifts under the tree. They wait until January 5th, open it, and tuck it far back in the closet until the holidays roll around again to hand-off to someone else. Yikes, who wants that reputation?


Nonprofit marketers, at times, become the friend or family member that everyone is whispering about. We offer programs that no one is asking for, develop campaigns that no one is responding to, and create content that our members, community, or donors seem to ignore. In our case, however, our unwanted presents to our audience aren't being stored in a closet for later. It's just falling flat.


Instead, the goal is to be the popular aunt or uncle who shows up with a sack full of gifts folks are salivating over. They know your stuff is spot on and will include items they noted on their list to Santa. Picture this, the door opens, and your family sees you standing there. Now, before you can cross the threshold, the kids in the room race to greet you. They gather at your ankles and are jumping up and down, anxious to see inside your sack. The big question on everyone's minds, "What awesome goodies does your bag hold for them?"


This reaction is the one we want from our audiences. We want them flocking to our websites, anticipating our emails, waking up to our social messages, running to the mailbox for their renewal letters, awaiting their opportunity to donate, and dancing as they open your invitation to your next conference. Creating an excitement to engage with you is the kind of gift-giver you want to be for those you serve. It does take skills, and it takes poise, but we all can wear the crowned deemed the best of the best.


Think about it. When we study the store shelves and browse through websites for the perfect gift, where do we begin? With the recipient. We immediately start to ponder their taste, their style, their need, and their desires. We remove our wants entirely out of the equation, and the one whom we are gifting takes precedence at this moment. We turn our attention in full to this person recollecting their personality and placing their happiness above all else.


It's no different with our audiences. When we craft and chart out marketing promotions, communication pushes, and business development offerings to our members, partners, or donors, we should disappear at that moment. What we want and what we need falls far to the backdrop of the plans, and the spotlight beams brightly on the audience we are serving.


It is when we begin to step outside of our shoes and slip on the pair our audience wears that we will start to excel at the gift-giving game. No longer are we building with just our organization's goals, objectives, or mission in mind. Now we are producing for the ones who are to receive the gift. Your audience will take notice, and the more you show up at their doors, the more they will anticipate your arrival.


You no longer will be the one known for the fruit cake that will be passed on until the last holiday party of the year. Instead, your audiences' arms will be opened wide as they scream, "Give me, give me, give me more!"


When it comes to nonprofit marketing, trust and believe we have no choice but to put our audience first. After all, that is the heart of marketing!


Join us next week as we talk about steps that the master gift-givers take to know their recipients well enough to ensure the perfect present is given.


Merry Christmas to all and to all a happy gift-giving season!

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