Thursday, March 22, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Mass Markets Are Fiction

If I am a buyer of advertising and you own any media outlet (TV, radio, newspaper or direct mail production) and I come to you to reach potential donors, how many prospects do I want to reach? The answer is all of them, if they care about my mission.

But the truth is that whatever “mass” media I choose, I can only reach a vague demographic segment like “the retired” or “women of childbearing age.” Even with direct mail marketing, choosing lists of people that have actually donated to similar causes makes us think we are “targeting” our appeal when 99% never respond.  

Real markets are much more precise. Finding out where a prospect hangs out and what they care about by actually talking to them directly is central to actually understanding their passions and building that into your fundraising business model.

Of course there are metrics that either make a mass media form economically viable or not, but either way you still pay “big bucks” even to test.

Are there costs to marketing on the Internet using social platforms? Of course, but relatively speaking they are extremely low compared to buying media. But here is the differentiator; for nonprofits using social media, the social object that unites people is a shared value or purpose. You find people. People find you. On the always-on Internet this happens in real-time.

Relationships can be forged in real-time with people who actually care about your cause or mission. The relationship is conversational . . . not transactional.

Sears missed most of its performance numbers in 2011 by believing that their only interaction with their customers happened at the cash register.

Many nonprofit fundraising groups missed their 2011 fundraising goals by believing that their only interaction with their donors was the donor sending a check.

It’s not about the mass; it’s about reaching the ones that are passionate about your mission and having a conversation with them.


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