social media strategy

The Circles of Nonprofit Marketing

33 Comments 09 August 2012

A few weeks ago Seth Godin published “The Circles of Marketing,” in which he rightfully opined that marketing is not buzz or followers, but an entire ecosystem surrounding the product itself. Intrigued, I began to consider how The Circles of Marketing could be modified for nonprofit social media marketing. My version, the Circles of Nonprofit Marketing, is the nonprofit marketer’s iteration, beginning with The Cause.

The outer circle is what most nonprofit marketing consultants and team members are hired to do: create buzz, ads, word of mouth, “virality” using social media, increase the number of social media fans/followers/connections. This is just the tip of the iceberg in marketing. Unfortunately, most nonprofit marketing professionals are hired to primarily focus on the outer circle. What they usually aren’t aware of is that this is the final circle of work, not the first.

The second circle is where the real marketing time should be spent. This circle is focused on creating a community that cares most about your cause, and can help you to promote it. Included in this circle are the elements needed to create an engaged online community around your cause: defining what people really want to talk about (The Conversation,) crafting the story of the cause, developing an online community that cares passionately about your cause, and supporting all of this with excellent content (your organization’s content + crowd-contributed content). If I were to hire just one marketing staff person for an organization, and give him or her a job description, it would say “create the best second circle you can, spend as much time doing it as you need to, and continually evaluate your work there.”

The next circle just outside of  the center is the basis for its adjacent second circle. These are the factors that surround the cause itself, and affect the perception of interest in the cause. Timeliness of the issue, the need for a solution to the problem, and public interest in the cause all affect how The Cause is perceived. This is the circle that executive directors, program staff, fundraisers, and founders will want to continuously review and consider. If perception of a problem does not exist, then the you will need to revise your story. If the issue is no longer timely, that will affect interest, The Conversation, community involvement, etc.

The innermost circle is The Cause. Note that I do not write that it is The Organization. I whole-heartedly agree with Seth Godin’s description of the innermost circle (in his post, it was The Product): “When the thing you sell has communication built in, when it is remarkable and worth talking about, when it changes the game—marketing seems a lot easier.”

 

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Your Comments

33 Comments so far

  1. Jfinthecity says:

    So appreciate this – clear and concise way to explain/conceptualize the nonprofit marketing approach…I think you’re adaptation of Godin’s circles is right on. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

     You’re very welcome! Thanks for the sweet note. Would love to know if you end up using it in your work – please check back in and let me know.

    [Reply]

  2. I agree that it’s in the second circle that real marketing work has to be done. When work is done right there, the last circle will require less work.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

     I, too, feel that the second circle (from the outer circle) is so critical. You are so right that the work put into that circle makes the outer one so much easier.

    [Reply]

  3.  Hiya, I don’t have any more detailed information about the circles other than what I’ve published above. If you’d like to read Seth Godin’s article, you will find it here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/07/the-circles-of-marketing.html.

    [Reply]


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    […] on http://www.communityorganizer20.com ← Why Millennials Don’t Want To Buy Stuff FOLLOW US © 2012 TecBridgeUS | […]

  20. The Circles Of NonProfit Marketing | Professional Communication | Scoop.it - August 23, 2012

    […] In this Post, Debra Ashkanase has also used  Seth Godin's, “The Circles of Marketing,” in which he states that marketing is not buzz or followers, but an entire ecosystem surrounding the product itself. Intrigued, Debra considered  how The Circles of Marketing could be modified for nonprofit social media marketing. Here  the nonprofit marketer’s iteration, begins with The Cause. As shown in this Infographic The outer circle: Most nonprofit marketing consultants and team members are hired to do: create buzz, ads, word of mouth, “virality” using social media, increase the number of social media fans/followers/connections. This is just the tip of the iceberg in marketing. However, most nonprofit marketing professionals are hired to primarily focus on the outer circle and that this is the final circle of work, not the first. The second circle: The real marketing time should be spent. This circle is focused on creating a community that cares most about your cause, and can help you to promote it. Included in this circle are the elements needed to create an engaged online community around your cause: defining what people really want to talk about;  crafting the 'story of the cause', developing an online community that cares passionately about your cause, and supporting all of this with excellent content (your organization’s content + crowd-contributed content). The next circle just outside of  the center is the basis for its adjacent second circle. These are the factors that surround the cause itself, and affect the perception of interest in the cause. Timeliness of the issue, the need for a solution to the problem, and public interest in the cause all affect how The Cause is perceived. This is the circle that executive directors, program staff, fundraisers, and founders will want to continuously review and consider. If perception of a problem does not exist, then the you will need to revise your story. If the issue is no longer timely, that will affect interest, The Conversation, community involvement, etc. The innermost circle is "The Cause" not The Organization. description of the innermost “When the thing you sell has communication built in, when it is remarkable and worth talking about, when it changes the game—marketing seems a lot easier.” [Seth Godin]   By Debra Askanase.http://bit.ly/N9B5lV Source. http://bit.ly/MRrSDa  […]

  21. The Circles of Nonprofit Marketing | Nonprofit Marketing Tips | Scoop.it - August 25, 2012

    […] Community organizer Debra Askanase modifies Seth Godin's "Circles of Marketing" for non-profit social media marketing.    […]

  22. The Circles Of NonProfit Marketing | Entrepreneuriat, Communication Alternative, Benchmarking, Self Development, Lobbying, Organisation | Scoop.it - August 27, 2012

    […] In this Post, Debra Ashkanase has also used  Seth Godin's, “The Circles of Marketing,” in which he states that marketing is not buzz or followers, but an entire ecosystem surrounding the product itself. Intrigued, Debra considered  how The Circles of Marketing could be modified for nonprofit social media marketing. Here  the nonprofit marketer’s iteration, begins with The Cause. As shown in this Infographic The outer circle: Most nonprofit marketing consultants and team members are hired to do: create buzz, ads, word of mouth, “virality” using social media, increase the number of social media fans/followers/connections. This is just the tip of the iceberg in marketing. However, most nonprofit marketing professionals are hired to primarily focus on the outer circle and that this is the final circle of work, not the first. The second circle: The real marketing time should be spent. This circle is focused on creating a community that cares most about your cause, and can help you to promote it. Included in this circle are the elements needed to create an engaged online community around your cause: defining what people really want to talk about;  crafting the 'story of the cause', developing an online community that cares passionately about your cause, and supporting all of this with excellent content (your organization’s content + crowd-contributed content). The next circle just outside of  the center is the basis for its adjacent second circle. These are the factors that surround the cause itself, and affect the perception of interest in the cause. Timeliness of the issue, the need for a solution to the problem, and public interest in the cause all affect how The Cause is perceived. This is the circle that executive directors, program staff, fundraisers, and founders will want to continuously review and consider. If perception of a problem does not exist, then the you will need to revise your story. If the issue is no longer timely, that will affect interest, The Conversation, community involvement, etc. The innermost circle is "The Cause" not The Organization. description of the innermost “When the thing you sell has communication built in, when it is remarkable and worth talking about, when it changes the game—marketing seems a lot easier.” [Seth Godin]   By Debra Askanase.http://bit.ly/N9B5lV Source. http://bit.ly/MRrSDa  […]

  23. The Circles Of NonProfit Marketing | Designing design thinking driven operations | Scoop.it - September 10, 2012

    […] In this Post, Debra Ashkanase has also used  Seth Godin's, “The Circles of Marketing,” in which he states that marketing is not buzz or followers, but an entire ecosystem surrounding the product itself. I By Debra Askanase.http://bit.ly/N9B5lV Source. http://bit.ly/MRrSDa  […]

  24. Les cercles du marketing à but non lucratif | webmarketing et fundraising | Scoop.it - September 24, 2012

    […]   […]

  25. The Circles Of Nonprofit Marketing - September 29, 2012

    […] More at The Circles of Nonprofit Marketing – Community Organizer 2.0 […]

  26. The Circles of Nonprofit Marketing | Social Media for international Aid and Development | Scoop.it - September 29, 2012

    […] Your description…  […]

  27. The Circles of Nonprofit Marketing | social, digital and tunes | Scoop.it - October 29, 2012

    […] Cause and content come before fans/followers and conversion rate when it comes to non-profit marketing  […]

  28. Nonprofit Media SolutionsFocus On Your Cause | Nonprofit Media Solutions - December 4, 2012

    […] your cause, and can help you to promote it.” great article by Community Organizer found here.  ← Previous […]

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Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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