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Communicate, Educate, Empathize: What I Learned at the 2017 American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketing Conference

Posted: Oct 11, 2017

Meredith Lubking, Marketing & Communications Project Manager

The AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference is widely regarded as a leading forum for marketing in the nonprofit community. Over the course of two days, I had the opportunity to listen to and learn from industry experts about better ways to communicate with my audience and market my product in the best possible way.

Here are my top three takeaways:

1. We live in a storytelling culture where people are hungry for positive, inspiring content and social change

  • People want stories, not stats.
  • Speak beyond the core audience and be inclusive of everyone.
  • Focus on that audience, not just policies.
  • Take risks.
  • Start with truth, authenticity.
  • Break into someone’s consciousness.
  • Have constructive, disruptive conversations.
  • Documentary-style stories based on real people and events are powerful. Martha Adams’ “Girl Rising” is a great example.

2. Schools ARE our communities, so how do we reach the people within?

  • Use online, email, and web/digital advertising that target educators first. Create content with the educator in mind. Educators typically:
  1. Have a higher income
  2. Are high social-community influencers
  3. Have graduated from college
  4. Own their own home
  5. Are parents and/or married
  6. Are passionate and care deeply
  7. Recycle
  8. Volunteer for causes
  9. Are ethical
  • Content targeted at educators creates a ripple effect that trickles down from educators to students to parents.
  • Educator-targeted content results in reaching large groups of people.

3. Content is a means, not an end. Make it count!

  • You build the experience when your content is effective and aligns with the overarching goals for your company.
  • Be clear and concise—use no more words than necessary.
  • Use graphics if appropriate.
  • Convey emotion—use photos that best tell your story.
  • Create empathy.
  • Make it feel authentic—use content directly from the source.
  • Use multiple channels for promoting your content.
  • Gratitude is a powerful thing.
  • Give your supporters a way of saying “Thanks!”
  • Keep people connected by tailoring content to where the audience is coming from—tell stories they can relate to.

In today’s world, the only way to truly connect with your audience is to communicate in a direct manner, across a variety of channels with relatable content. People enjoy hearing true, honest stories that come from the heart. They seek similarities between themselves and those in the stories. This, according to industry experts, is the key to success in reaching today’s device-obsessed society.

MMS Education specializes in helping nonprofit organizations and corporate foundations reach, engage, and measure impact in the education market. Call us today at 866–382–6116 or fill out this form to see how MMS Education can help you.

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