When Should Your Organization Conduct a Marketing Audit?

By Marketing

There are a few key stages in which a marketing audit can best benefit your organization.

  1. If you’ve never conducted an audit before, and are unsure how effective your marketing and outreach efforts are, then now is clearly the time to do so.
  2. Are you making a change in marketing and communications staff? If you’re thinking about restructuring, or are at a stage in which you need to hire a new director of marketing, a thorough look at what’s been working and how it aligns with the organization’s goals are in order. It can, as it did in one case recently, inform at what level your new hire should enter the company.
  3. It’s been three years since you last made any changes to your marketing and communications strategy. Every business changes over a three-year period, and the three-year mark is an excellent time to benchmark and set new goals.

But what does a marketing audit include?

This is the process Jaggers Communications employs:

LEARN: We will learn about the organization’s business goals and objectives and the marketing goals and objectives that support the broader goals. We will ask a lot of questions to learn about your customer profile, donors, grant sources, and any other audiences. We’re interested in your long-term relationships, what creates loyalty, and what audiences represent your most recent growth.

GATHER: We will ask for descriptions of all products and services, including information about what has been the marketing focus or prioritization of each over the past three years.

We will ask for access to all available analytics and marketing data for the past three years, your business plan, your milestone tracking sheet, and other benchmark or tracking documentation you have used. We will look at examples of all marketing assets and collateral, including any press releases and earned media.  We will review newsletters, social media accounts, examples of members-only content, and any other forms of communication that were used in the past three years.

REVIEW AND ANALYZE: We will review all of your data and materials, draw conclusions from what we observe, and provide a report that analyzes strengths and weaknesses of your marketing efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch.

In Crisis Communications, Transparency is Key

By Crisis Communications

The worst messages in a crisis are those that are vague, provide incomplete information, and obscure the full message. These messages invite speculation. No, that’s not even the worst of it: they throw gasoline on the fire of speculation. Worse, still is when that message is posted on social media, where commenters behind the freeing veil of the internet feel empowered to invent conspiracies, to make accusations, and thrive on the attention created by the controversy.

Avoid this in a crisis by stating as clearly as you can what happened and why. If you don’t know something, say so. And then, explain that you’re investigating, looking into it, continuing conversations to learn more and (and this is critical) actually do that.

Sometimes there are legal reasons for not offering full transparency, and for that, make sure that your initial message is cleared with your legal team. Perhaps there is no initial announcement or message at all. This could be relevant in a number of scenarios. But when the time comes when your crisis must be shared and addressed with your community in a public-facing platform, be ready to be as transparent and as clear as you can. You’ll be glad you did, rather than spending your time battling the damage to your brand’s reputation, correcting misinformation, and arguing against untruths on a variety of platforms.

Facing a communications crisis now? Call a professional communicator or PR person if you lack an internal resource to guide you.

It’s Time to Adopt Gender Neutral Language in Business

By Communications

On January 6, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to adopt gender-neutral language in the official House rules and established a permanent Office of Diversity and Inclusion. From the article in Advocate:

The changes mean that the rules document will use language such as “parent,” “child,” and “sibling” instead of “mother,” “father,” “son,” daughter,” “brother,” and “sister.” It will also replace “chairman” with “chair,” “seamen” with “seafarers,” and “himself” and “herself” with “themself.”

It’s a small but significant move toward inclusion, recognizing both that nonbinary people do not use gender-specific language and that gender has no relevance in official government documents and proceedings. (These changes are for rules documents only: they do not prevent members of the House from using gender-specific language in other communication.)

Corporate communications should immediately begin to adopt these practices as well, setting the tone for individual businesses to support gender expansive team members as well as remove the burden of gender from hiring practices, promotions, assignments, and yes, pay. If removing gender from business communications is how we get to equal rights in the workplace, then let’s begin today.

 

Covid-19 Vaccines’ Massive PR Problem

By Communications

The speed with which Pfizer and Moderna developed and submitted for approval vaccines for the Covid-19 coronavirus is astounding. The vaccines have been approved by the FDA and trusted sources like the CDC and well-known scientists are urging Americans to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.  But even as the vaccines began rolling out first, to front-line health care workers and other essential workers, misinformation and doubt is beginning to spread.

African-Americans and other minorities are beginning to share a reluctance to get vaccinated, and who can blame them, when the spectre of the Tuskegee experiment still occupies memories?

The vaccines have a massive PR problem that must:

  • Correct misinformation, of which there is plenty
  • Reach people in their communities, through churches, neighborhoods, and even visiting nurses
  • Spotlight trusted individuals through public, televised and social media-broadcast vaccinations, to inspire confidence and change minds

It’s going to be a tough campaign, and like the Y2K campaigns that ruled 1999, the Covid vaccines campaigns will fuel the PR and communications industry for at least the year to come.

Fourth Quarter Marketing in a Pandemic

By Marketing

We’ve made it to fall and the pandemic rages on. Your business has adapted and now it’s time to start fourth quarter marketing, and a look into 2021.

  1. Look at the numbers. I know it’s hard, and it’s not pretty, but take a look at where you are so you are clear on your goals for the last three months of this year.
  2. Your business has changed. What have you learned? What is working? What isn’t? Decide what other changes you need to make before the start of the new year.
  3. What will you spend to support the marketing and communications of your business. 5% of your operating budget is the absolute minimum. 15% is recommended.
  4. Appreciate your customers. The people who stuck with you through this difficult time should hear from you. It’s not too early to make your holiday list and a plan for gifts and cards. Read how to note the holidays professionally.
  5. Ask your staff and customers what THEY would like to see from you next year. Their answers may be surprising.

— Marijean