How Australian not for profits can outperform the big guns

The team at ntegrity celebrate their newfound status as a triple threat.

The best marketing campaign in Australia, this year, was for a cause, writes Richenda Vermeulen, founder and CEO of ntegrity, as she shares two pieces of advice on effective, cause-based marketing.

When you work in marketing at a not for profit, you often feel like you are behind. The industry is growing at lightning speed and it can be hard to keep up. Tight budgets mean you have to do a lot with a little – including staffing and resources.

But with the announcement of the AMI Awards finalists at the AMI Marketing Excellence Gala, ntetgrity’s campaign with WISE Employment (a not for profit that helps people with disabilities find jobs) was recognised by the Australian Marketing Institute as the national Marketing Campaign of the Year.

The campaign helped thousands of people with disabilities find employment. Each of these people has their own story and may have been rejected for work because of their disability.

Here’s Richenda’s key recommendations for Australian not-for-profit marketers:

Be crystal clear about your strategy

Strategy should be at the centre of everything you do as an organisation. Our 2018 research revealed that higher-performing organisations are more likely to have a documented vision and strategy in place.

Campaign strategy needs to link to the business objectives and understand your audiences deeply. For WISE Employment, their vision was to position themselves as the first choice disability employment provider and grow their online registrations.

We developed a multi-channel acquisition strategy and helped execute it to get new job seekers and employers, fast.

By starting with a clear strategy, WISE increased their online job seeker registrations by 42 per cent, while simultaneously decreasing their cost per lead by 35 per cent.

Unfortunately, most campaigns are light on strategy. Strategy is often viewed as “taking away” from implementation budget. This sets up a dangerous loop – because then yes, you can spend more, but you are spending budget on non-strategic implementation. In essence, more spend on less effective marketing.

If you are investing in a campaign – make sure you are investing in strategy as it will pay off in spades. Otherwise, your entire campaign budget becomes a test and learn activity rather than an activation of strategic thinking.

Right person, right message, right time

It can be frighteningly easy to forget the simple fundamentals of delivering excellent marketing – which starts with understanding your audience and reaching them effectively.

Google refers to this as “winning the moments that matter”. Their research shows that people are more loyal to their needs than to any particular brand.

Our campaign strategy recognised that different disabilities impact people in completely different ways. By addressing people with autism, chronic pain, depression, and physical disabilities individually, WISE was able to show the unique ways they partner with job seekers.

In the words of the judges: “… ntegrity’s strategy and action has not only delivered growth, but they delivered a first-in-market style campaign which speaks about different disabilities in different ways to appropriately targeted audiences. The campaign creative and messaging is simple but effective and has delivered strong results, ROI and additional benefits to the organisation.”

Now more than ever, it is easy to be distracted by new tactics and tools. But it’s important to understand your audience and have a strategy in place.

The above only scratches the surface of what makes an effective campaign! We haven’t touched on developing compelling creative, experimentation with new channels, obsession with monitoring and ROI.

*This article was originally published on Probono Australia and republished with the author’s permission.

AMI award
The proof is in the pudding. Not-for-profits CAN hustle like the best of them.

About the author

Richenda Vermeulen

Richenda Vermeulen is the Director of ntegrity, a digital consultancy that helps NFPs implement innovative solutions to improve fundraising and communications.

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