The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

When it pays to be an un-hip marketer

Are you uncool and old school? I am, apparently – at least my teenage daughter tells me so.

The good news is, sometimes it pays to be un-hip. Especially if you work in marketing.

I was reminded of this by Dorie Clark’s recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Blog. As she notes, sometimes the pursuit of shiny new things leads us away from basic marketing principles that work best.

She says, ask yourself:

1. What is everyone else doing — and how can I do the opposite? Being trendy makes you less of a standout. If every other charity is sending out calendars to thank supporters, buck the trend and give donors personal calls, for example. If everyone is zigging, zag.

2. What worked in the past that’s been abandoned — and why? Some old ideas should not come back. Like the below fashion statement which I first saw via Jeffrey Forster. But we often stop effective marketing programs because staff change, people find it dull or someone drops the ball.

Take a tour of your past and brush the dust off what worked before. It might work well again.

3. What circumstances have changed that might allow for new opportunities? Are there old ideas whose time has come?

I’m with Dorie Clark. It’s not a bad thing to eschew the shiny and embrace the dusty. Especially if it’s marketing gold. But not if it’s double denim.

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About This Blog
Caryn Stein hi res

Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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