CDFI Marketers Connect at the AMA Conference
This July, more than 300 nonprofit marketers attended the 2011 American Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Marketing Conference in Washington, DC. Among the attendees were a handful of CDFI marketers, including: Kathryn Brown, The Conservation Fund/NCIF; Lina Page, OFN; Jenna Urusky, FAHE; and Steve Varnum, NHCLF.
The presence of so many CDFIs at this year’s AMA Conference may be a sign of the times. There are more and more opportunity finance professionals who recognize the marketing imperative to make their CDFI brand and message more accessible to more audiences. The CDFI marketing cohort at the conference met for an impromptu discussion and agreed that we were universally committed to bringing back fresh inspiration and actionable strategies for our own organizations and the field, and that we hope to continue a dialog about best practices throughout the year.
There were a lot of takeaways for us CDFI marketers to ponder. Here are a few.
Are we capitalizing on our values? We learned that consumers are saying that businesses must place at least an equal emphasis on social interests as business interests. This is driving companies to look for ways to show their values in action. If we capitalize on our values as we position CDFIs for more visibility, will we be able to attract more businesses to partner with CDFIs for emotion, stories, and content? Given lessons learned at the conference, the answer would seem to be, yes.
Ready to launch an effective but inexpensive brand campaign? For a grassroots brand campaign, we already have what we need. Think of a target customer for the brand campaign. Identify three attributes of your brand that you want to highlight to that customer, determine three communication channels that you already have, and then illustrate your attributes with stories or content as you rotate each attribute through each channel—publishing three brand-oriented communications per month for three months.
Are we using social media for mobilization marketing? Social media can help us to promote the opportunity finance cause. Look for bloggers with engaged communities and add to their conversations by responding to posts and introducing evidence of CDFI impact. Find ways to empower our constituents to promote our work—for example, events can be posted for Facebook and Twitter followers to “attend” or retweet. Can you spice it up and introduce a friendly competition regarding a goal that you have posted?
The AMA Conference proposed that nonprofit marketers are agents of change as much as the organizations for which they work and that marketing excellence is not just a business nicety but a moral obligation. CDFI marketers are recognizing their role and rising to the challenge.
Pictured in the photo above (left to right): Jenna Urusky, FAHE; Elaine Fogel, Chair, 2011 Nonprofit Marketing Conference; Steve Varnum, NHCLF; Lina Page, OFN; Kathryn Brown, The Conservation Fund/NCIF.