Public Education Is Marketing.

I’d like to introduce Susan Kamins to the Marketfix community. Susan is a remarkable public speaker, and I am very excited that she agreed to guest post about public education as marketing. Susan is known for helping nonprofits gain support through media outreach, with a particular knack for building alliances between stakeholder groups. I had the privilege of working with her at the Glen Helen Ecology Institute, where she taught me the basics of getting my voice heard.

– Motyka Johnson, a.k.a. Marketini

Public Education Is Marketing

By Susan Kamins

Usually the term “public education” conjures up images of school desks and lectures, or if you are fortunate, perhaps an experiential education program.  If you are a non-profit or public outreach professional, you likely engage in a different kind of public education as well to raise awareness about important public issues.

Issue-awareness programs contain at least an implied call to action:  “Dogs in Austin deposit 60,000 pounds of poop every day.” In its simplest form, that’s just information.  You hope that your audience realizes that the point is to “Scoop the Poop!”

, but they might get it wrong and think it merely means “Watch Out – Don’t Step in the Poop!”.

Because you educate to motivate (i.e. get a conversion), you will experience the greatest success by thinking of your issue-awareness program as a marketing campaign with the “sale” being the behavior you wish to engender.   Rather than simply putting out the facts in detail and hoping constituents get the point, you will get better results by considering the audiences you want to reach and the best mediums for your message, then designing message content and look and feel accordingly.

Sales funnel design is also an important consideration:

1.  A “coming soon” poster on a city bus registers in awareness and primes your audience; soon after an email or utility bill insert using language and images from the poster is sent inviting citizens to visit your table at an event.

2.  Ambassadors at your table deliver a more personal call to action and offer a sign up for kits to aid constituents; those who sign up receive their kit in the mail a few days later complete with instructions demonstrated at the table.

3.  Kit delivery is followed up by a call from a volunteer to see if the recipient has any questions.  A link on your program’s website and/or Facebook page invites participants to share tips and comments, coordinate with other participants, fill in surveys, and score points so that participants are acknowledged and results and “buzz” can be tracked.

This is a linear approach; in reality multiple channels can be simultaneously leveraged to reinforce the message and engage “customers” via several entry points. Conversion metrics are analyzed throughout and the campaign adjusted to maximize effectiveness.

As nonprofits and even municipal governments re-envision themselves as social action corporations, the usefulness of business marketing techniques such as marketing mix analysis and branding is becoming increasingly apparent.  If you stay true to your vision and sell what you believe, you are sure to reach and convert your constituents (i.e. customers) by infusing some strategic marketing savvy into your public education campaign.

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Bird-Watching: It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Hobby Anymore « Marketing Musings

Bird-Watching: It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Hobby Anymore « Marketing Musings.

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What Do I Call Myself?

Mark Zuckerberg business card from the movie "The Social Network".

Mark Zuckerberg business card from the movie "The Social Network".


Like a myth of the tech gods, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had “I’m CEO, Bitch” on his

 business cards. Whether this was just a great addition to the movie The Social Network or is actual reality is inconsequential, the questions still remains, what do you call yourself when you are in the Seed Stage or Start-up stage?

 After scouring the internet I found these useless answers:

  •  “Call yourself whatever you want, it’s your business”
  • “Call yourself the founder, or owner; but nothing else”
  •  “Call yourself CEO or president, regardless of size”

 Now, since this is a marketing blog, the question probably comes up; “why does this matter?” The answer is that it may not matter internally what you call yourself, but externally the ramifications could be noteworthy.

 For instance, suppose you are a new MBA grad creating a startup company centered on stock speculation in one form or another. Would it make sense to say you are the “owner” of Super Stocks Inc.? Wouldn’t “principle” or “president” make more sense to those within the industry that you are trying to establish both clients and credibility with?

 What you call yourself can be a small, but important part of your marketing strategy as a small startup company. It can give you a small increase in position within your industry if developed right, but can also make you come off as pompous and illegitimate if you go so far as to cross the line by calling yourself CEO if you’re a company of one.

 So, after researching both the internet, and questioning many MBA students, here are some tips to go by when giving yourself a title:

  1.  Make sure your title fits your industry. The food industry does not run with CEOs until they have multiple units, so if you are kicking off your first establishment, “owner” or “founder” may fit better. However, tech industries love the term CEO, so the use can possibly be used earlier in the process.
  2. Understand where you are as a company in terms of long term growth. Your company may never have a true CEO. Somebody recently said that very specific job titles are needed once a company gets big enough that roles start to get blurred. This is when “marketing manager”, “operations manager”, “CEO, etc… can start to be used. Once the functional departments are developed you are probably safe to call yourself what best fits your industry.
  3. Understand your competitors within your industry. If the closest rival to Super Stock Inc. is Amazing Speculation Artists Inc. and they are calling their chief “CEO”, then it would make sense to do the same. This can go for all other functional positions down the line when comparing your company with others of similar size in a similar industry. This will help you hire and retain talent as well since you will be playing on the same field.

 While this may seem unimportant at first, remember that your business card is your personal marketing statement, and what you put on it says a lot about you. Social media connections such as LinkedIn and Facebook also act as your personal marketing domain at times, so the same applies to them. Do not underestimate the importance of what you call yourself!

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Marketing Tools: How to Write a Call to Action


Call to action

Get to the core of your content.

When was the last time you tried to convince your audience to take action? It is not as easy as it sounds. It is an art form, and it takes a bit of practice to match the right tone with motivation. Here’s my basic guide.


1. Keep it short and sweet. The short part means aim for 55 characters or less. The sweet part means don’t threaten your audience. Instead, appeal to their curiosity. In practice, curiosity is the most effective pre-existing condition to appeal to with internet marketing (It also performs well in direct mail campaigns).

2. Write a haiku. Look at your content. Whatever your destination: a webinar, whitepaper, product, etc… On scrap paper, boil it down to the simplest, most powerful elements. As quirky as it sounds, the  poetic element helps me keep the creative muse around my marketing tablet. Everyone has their own style. This gets to the core of what you are promoting. Once you have the core, you can appeal directly to your customer’s root need.

3. Animation is optional.

Beyond that, I prefer to use action words and present tenses when possible- but not always. These are successful alternatives to your standard present-tense call to action:

The six word story. Like Hemingway’s famous short story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” usually, it breaks the 55 character rule, but with animation it delivers results.

If-then logic: If _______ then __________. The consumer’s need goes in the first blank, your solution goes in the second. The word “then” is optional.

Metaphors. Along the lines of a haiku, a metaphor gets to the core of your content.

Platitudes with a twist. These sayings are popular for many reasons, for example, “A Penny Saved is A Penny Earned.” A bank might create a call to action using only the first part as a teaser. The click-through content could be a whitepaper about their new savings account features. Or modifying elements of the saying: “The early bird catches the sale.”

Questions. Asking the right question usually gets a good response. What do you think?

Share your inspirations for writing calls to action with the community at MarketFix by leaving a comment.

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Social Media Exposure for the Small Business

Go ahead, Google the words “social media marketing” and you will see roughly 85 million results. Plug “social media marketing” into and you will get slapped with over 1400 entries, offering a slew of self-help books for the burgeoning entrepreneur or business marketing professional. With such an overwhelming array of “help” out there it is no wonder that small business owners have simply said “why would I want it?”

If this is you, then do not feel alone as only 24% of small businesses have a true social media identity. Note, however, that this number is up from 12% in 2009. This means that slowly your competitors are starting to come to game, and you should probably figure out if you want to make a fight out of it for the love of your clients!

The fundamental reason for using services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogging tools is purely self-serving, as you want to stay on the forefront of your clients’ minds, and at the top of their favorite techie device. There are numerous success stories available of small businesses that had the foresight to go where their competitors hadn’t yet.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Bakery, Store Interior

Sprinkles Cupcakes out of Beverly Hills, CA has had tremendous success growing a distinct following utilizing Facebook and offering a free cupcake with a valid “password” of the day. This strategy has swollen their Facebook Fan base from about 7,000 in April 2009 to over 70,000 by November 2009. With so many followers on the social media highway it is clear to see that revenues are sure to follow.

If you are still wondering why electronic social media is so important, ask yourself: When was the last time that you didn’t just throw the most recent copy of the phonebook into the dumpster? Not that you just didn’t open it, but actually picked it up off the cement door step and walked directly to the dumpster, getting the most satisfaction out of hearing the loud “thump” that gave way when it crashed down (I  apologize to those that recycle, let’s just pretend it was a recycling bin for you!).  

Social Media is the new phone book, an extension of the traditional “word of mouth” advertising, and a whole new ball of wax all rolled into one. It can allow the small business owner an opportunity to jump ahead of 76% of the competition, have unlimited reach and frequency, at a minimal monetary cost.

The real question should not be “why would I want it?” but rather “why haven’t I started using it yet?”

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Are you are a valued contributor or an Internet bore? | The Marketing Assassin

Another fantastic post from the marketing assassin. This time it’s about your social media strategy. He could title it “how not to spam-comment.” Great advice on blog etiquette.

Are you are a valued contributor or an Internet bore? | The Marketing Assassin.

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Tool Tuesday: Gapminder review

For at least three reasons, it’s hard to have a favorite statistics site. I am a visual learner, so I usually find myself creating charts to understand numbers. Recently, I had to identify desirable international markets for an ecommerce site. I found myself looking for macro-indicators. Especially with internet familiarity and risk aversion metrics. That is when I found gapminder. It is amazing!

If you don’t believe me, watch the “Let My Dataset Change Your Mindset” speech from Gapminder founder Hans Rosling.

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How Do You Measure Brand Equity?

Does everyone do this a little differently, or is there a generally accepted standard for measuring brand equity? Here’s a fun little poll. Comments are also welcome.

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10 Steps to Facebook Success for Your Non-Profit Organization | MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog

Around the internet nonprofits and businesses alike are looking at their social media efforts and asking, “What’s up with Facebook?” Take a look at your facebook presence and check out this short checklist for optimization. I think John Haydon of Inbound Zombie knows exactly what is going on.

10 Steps to Facebook Success for Your Non-Profit Organization | MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.

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My posts may be a little sporadic over the next few weeks. I am balancing updates to this blog and an exciting new job. I should be back to a regular posting schedule soon.

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