OnPoint, the 2011 American Marketing Association and American Marketing Association Foundation Nonprofit Marketing Conference made a couple of big moves this year. Seems like it paid off!
This year’s theme focused on three main content ‘buckets’ determined to be crucial to nonprofit marketing success. The AMA/AMAF volunteer organizing committee identified the following areas for further exploration:
- Marketing Strategy
- Integrating Traditional and Digital Marketing Communcations
- Relationship Management
There were a number of great speakers, including Carol Cone’s keynote promotion of her new book co-written by Jocelyn S. Daw, Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding, Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results, (more on Carol in a minute).
At the conference, I followed the ‘Relationship Management’ track and attended an interesting breakout session led by Angie Moore, Merkle and Hilary Noon from the American Cancer Society where they shared their perceptions from the opposite side of the relationship table about the overall significance (plus they noted a few nuances) of constituent insight. Both speakers discussed the importance of establishing and agreeing on some common language and values to guide the complexities of digging deeper into constituency management. It was refreshing to hear Hilary’s perspective that the American Cancer Society looks at consumer insight and relationship development not as a ‘project’ with a distinct end date, but a journey that in the long run will give them the ability to get closer to their most loyal brand supporters.
Although the AMA/AMAF nonprofit conference planning committee recognizes how important cause marketing and business partnerships are to nonprofit marketing, there were limited opportunities on the conference schedule devoted to the topic of strategic marketing partnerships. I’d have to say they made up for quantity with quality with the lively panel discussion Managing the Cause Marketing and Business Partnership. Moderated by Carol Cone, panelists included Kathryn Brown, The Conservation Fund, Keecia Broy, DonorsChoose.org and Sean Milliken from eBay.
I’m a huge (personal and professional) fan of Keecia and Katie from Donorschoose.org and really admire their thoughtful approach to creating award-winning corporate partnerships. In case you didn’t know, in 2011 Donorschoose.org was the ONLY nonprofit to appear on the World’s Most Innovative Companies list from Fast Company.
Kathyrn Brown’s frank discussion about The Conservation Fund’s corporate partner evaluation process was refreshing! She shared that they’ve had to make some tough decisions that led to declining corporate partnership opportunities with highly-desirable consumer packaged goods companies when the mission-match didn’t align with their overall philanthropic strategy.
OnPoint attracted a wide variety of nonprofits from national multi-affiliate federated organizations to professional associations to single location theatrical companies and everything in between!
Sean Milliken pointed out that small and medium enterprises are currently under-represented in strategic cause marketing partnerships. This is sage advice for nonprofits of all types. (A note about the term small and medium enterprise (and abbreviation SME) is commonly used in international organizations but often in the USA we use the term small and medium businesses (or SMBs). The definition of what constitutes an SME differs from country to country, but the generally accepted ‘standard’ term is used to describe the wide range of businesses with between 10 and 500 employees. Regardless of what label you give them, considering that smaller and medium enterprises are far greater in number and often responsible for driving innovation and competition, SME’s offer a wonderful growth opportunity for cause marketing partnerships.
I’m looking forward to putting a few of the conference takeaways into practice!