Who is in charge of your marketing? Do you have your member and staff buy-in to the strategies within it? There are essential parts to a marketing plan that every association needs to address. Once in place it can serve as your roadmap to long term success.
First, conduct proper research and briefly summarize. Define your association’s historical data, the industry climate, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges) analysis, competition for revenue (or volunteers, donors, etc…) and member perceptions, needs, and wants. Staff perceptions can also play an important role. Also, what is your unique selling feature? What is it about your organization that makes you different from others? This is the foundation for your marketing plan.
Second, based on this information determine the best ways to reach your audience. Determine timelines and budgets that fit your organizational landscape. All tactics and measures need to be in line with your corporate objectives, branding and image.
Third, get your staff engaged into the project. Human Resources, Finances, and IT services need to be involved, too, as they can make or break progress. The plan is a living, breathing document. That is, it will change as your business climate changes. Your staff members are your ‘right-hand’ ambassadors. If they do not believe in the bones of your plan, chances are this attitude will, in some ways, get translated to your stakeholders.
Many times organizations have just enough staff to implement tactical activities. Short term successes may be achieved but it is investing in the proper marketing plan with step-by-step benchmarks that will lead to lasting effects.