Commentary: How to treat your best customers

Posted by Seth Godin on his blog, February 7, 2011

Here's what most businesses do with their best customers: They take the money.  The biggest fan of that Broadway show, the one who comes a lot and sits up front?  She's paying three times what the person just three rows back paid.  That loyal Verizon customer, the one who hasn't traded in his phone and has a contract for six years running?  He's generating far more profit than the guy who switches every time a contract expires and a better offer comes along.  Or consider the loyal customer of a local business. The business chooses to offer new customers a coupon for half off -- but makes him pay full price.  If you define "best customer" as the customer who pays you the most, then I guess it's not surprising that the reflex instinct is to charge them more.  After all, they're happy to pay.  But what if you define "best customer" as the person who brings you new customers through frequent referrals, and who sticks with you through thick and thin?  That customer, I think, is worth far more than what she might pay you in any one transaction.  In fact, if you think of that customer as your best marketer instead, it might change everything.


Commentary: Is your arts nonprofit utilizing 'free agents'?

Posted by Colleen Dilenschneider on her blog, February 1, 2011

Free agents are connected individuals who care about your organization's cause, and their network is likely to consist of similarly-minded people also likely to care about your cause.  Free agents not only spread awareness, but they increase morale, and may even put together events or programs to benefit your organization.  For instance, a free agent may have a party in which all proceeds go to an organization. Though they do not work for the cultural nonprofit, free agents will champion your organization's message simply because they have a network and they believe in your cause.  While nothing replaces face-to-face communication, it's easy for professionals (especially members of older generations unfamiliar with social media) to underestimate the value of online networks in helping an organization to reach marketing and fundraising goals. It may seem particularly strange to be encouraged to devote time and energy to cultivating young, sometimes still-unproven professionals.  But try ignoring young professionals who are looking to support your organization, and you may find yourself slapping your forehead and relating to this scene from Pretty Woman.


Commentary: No, I will not endorse your event for free on my blog

Posted by Mazarine Treyz on her blog Wild Woman Fundraising, February 7, 2011

Quite often, I get emails from kids wet behind the ears, just following orders, trying to get the word out about their event/company and wanting me to blog/tweet/endorse. For free.  Why would I do that?  Since I kept writing these emails, it would be fun to share one with you: 

Dear ____, I have noticed big marketing firms for big nonprofits tend to send out big generic marketing emails to bloggers via young employees like yourself. I understand that you probably don't know how to interact with bloggers to get them to do what you want. You're following orders.  As a free tip, if you would like bloggers to get the word out about a particular thing, courtesy in the internet includes subscribing to their newsletter, or commenting on a blog post, or even following and retweeting them. Basic stuff.  Bloggers who ALSO have a way to ADVERTISE on their site means that they expect to be paid for any endorsement, implied or explicit, on their site. You may have noticed I do have an advertise link on my site. I don't care about big nonprofit X, which has approximately 788,000 incoming links. A juggernaut like that is so far beyond needing my help. I hope you understand that for all of these reasons, I am not going to be "helping you get the word out."


Commentary: How to decide which social media to use to reach audiences

Posted by Katya Andresen on her Nonprofit Marketing blog, February 07, 2011

This excellent graphic shows why solely focusing on the tool and not your strategy is missing the point. The tip of the iceberg is mindless nonprofit marketing.  The underwater stuff is where you need to spend your mental energy. The wrong, tip-of-iceberg starting questions about social media:

1. Should I be spending time on Twitter?
2. How many "likes" should I try to get on Facebook?
3. Do I need a YouTube video?

The iceberg questions you must ask first:

1. Who is my constituency?
2. Why do I want to engage them -- what is the goal?
3. Are these members of my community even using social media?
4. Have I watched and listened to how my community is using social media before I dive in?
5. Which few tools make sense - and do I have the time to do them well?
6. What are some small, measurable goals that I will use to measure success?

Answer those questions and you'll know where -- and how -- you need to engage.


Commentary: How to draw audiences when you receive mixed or bad buzz

Eliza Bent, writing in the February 2010 issue of American Theatre magazine

Ever been involved with a show that just couldn't get a break?  Take California's Geffen Playhouse. The theatre presented Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas -- a silly romp of a show.  When the reviews came out, a flurry of satirical quips dominated the critical response [which the theater then used in its quote ad].  Says Geffen marketing director Joseph Yoshitomi, "We wanted to get the feel of this show in the ad.... I don't like to back away from the reviews."  Neither does artistic director Sarah Benson of New York's Soho Rep.  She and her team [rounds] up all reviews -- warts and all - and [sends them] to ticket buyers. "Multiplicity really interests me -- a range of opinions is better than one." The review round-up Soho Rep sent out for [its production of] Lear ultimately engaged audience members to join in on the debate. "People seemed more willing to voice their own opinions. They found the transparency refreshing."  What to do when offstage tittle-tattle eclipses the show itself?  Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins [embraced] it full throttle. Just weeks before his Octoroon was set to go, the director pulled out. Rumors ran rampant and culminated in one actor's e-mail blast which disparaged the show.  Instead of sweeping this hubbub under the rug, Jacobs-Jenkins used it as fodder for the show's first 20 minutes.  The night I saw Octoroon, the house was jam-packed, and a perhaps unexpected sense of cheering for the show prevailed.

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