Mark Rovner and Katya Andresen shared an unusual take on online outreach at today’s Nonprofit Technology Conference: what can Freud and Buddha teach us about marketing communications? Together, Rovner and Andresen came up with these six simple rules for campaigning:
- Crap offline is still crap online. ‘If you put crap on Twitter, it won’t smell any better.’ Really no need to elaborate further on this point.
- Your audience is not an audience. Recognize that they’re people, and find common ground if you want them to respond to your call to action. Both Microsoft and Brian Solis have articulated this quite nicely. Net-net: If you don’t need a conversation, then don’t use social media. If you don’t want a shallow relationship, then don’t use broadcast media.
- Convey a humbling vision. Or in Buddhist terms, ‘give profit and gain to others, take the loss upon yourself.’ Can you share credit with your supporters and clients? Put the members of your community – your customers and clients – at the center of your marketing story.
- Emotions rule. Why do technologists suck at storytelling? Stories are fundamentally emotional, and technologists work in a left-brain community. (I must admit, I was surprised to come up 'right-brain' in the controversial spinning dancer test, though the Hemispheric Dominance quiz claims I'm split-brain.) But overcome your fear of feeling - the consumer’s right brain decides, while the left brain justifies decisions. And for nonprofits, ‘emotion powers the fundraising engine.’ By telling stories with emotional (rather than statistical) impact, you’ll be more likely to connect with your supporters.
- Humor is a basic human need. Have you noticed how easily humor can form a personal connection? Try using humor in your next campaign...but make sure to test it out on a funny person before springing your attempt on the general public. There’s a lot to be gained by making people laugh. And even if humor isn’t a fit for you, it’s still a good idea to lighten up in your campaigns. 'If you can’t be hilarious, be hopeful.' Fear messaging only works if there’s a clear and simple solution being offered. Intractable problems are paralyzing.
- Keep it simple. Lots of choices + too much noise = paralysis. No matter how many balls (marketing messages) you throw at someone, they will still just catch one...or if you throw too many, they’ll catch none. If you want someone to catch multiple balls, try throwing them one at a time.