Who would have thought that a pandemic could be a teachable moment for marketers? World leaders, yes. Healthcare providers and medical facilities, yes. But marketers? Yes.
This particular pandemic caused by the coronavirus has forced us into separation. Like no other time in history, the entire world has been called to stay as far away from each other as possible. Social distancing, isolation, and self-quarantine have been the prescription ordered to turn this pandemic around.
Though prescribed as a swift resolution, we still have difficulty complying with the advice of the experts. Why? Human beings are social creatures.
Rich Alati, a professional US poker player, bet $100,000 he could survive 30 days alone and in total darkness. With all his basic human needs being met by a bed, bathroom, and refrigerator, Alati abandoned the mission after 20 days. He couldn't hold out just another 10 days to become $100,000 richer.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs notes that humans need to be socially fulfilled if they are going to survive. For this to be realized, our need for belonging through interpersonal relationships must be satisfied. Our connections provide a level of intimacy, trust, acceptance, affection, and love that we require to live. We physically suffer when confined without human-to-human contact. Symptoms range from changes in our sleep cycle, experiencing hallucinations, to even suicide arise from too much alone.
What does this have to do with marketing? Well, everything.
You know that dead horse we like to beat around here at THuS Marketing? The one where we keep emphasizing how important it is to treat marketing as a bridge to building relationships with your audience and not just deploying it as a vehicle to gain more sales. The evidence couldn't be more apparent as it is today. Relationships matter. We were born for them, and we thirst for them.
This sentiment couldn't be more true for the nonprofit and association sector. Your organizations are serving those who deemed themselves as members of your community. In their eyes, they are so much more than your customer or audience. They come alongside your organization as one of you. They believe in your mission and take part in it. Whether that mission focuses on protecting and evolving their industry or fighting against a societal wrong, they want in.
Not only do they want in, but they need you to respond to them as if you are aware of this fact. Your audience is waiting for you to treat them like family. Marketing is your best weapon for doing so. The more your organization executes strategies and tactics that market to the human connection your members, community, and/or stakeholders share with your nonprofit, the greater affinity they have for you.
You matter to your audience's world, or at least you should. Isolation from you should wreak havoc on them. Like Alati, there should be a limited number of days your audience can bear separation from your organization.
Does your marketing make it difficult for your audience to stay away? At this moment and time, is your association concerned that members will undoubtedly forget about it, or are you confident that your audience misses you as much as you miss them?
It's never too late. Use marketing to make the distance feel smaller!