Third Sector Magazine – Developing a Successful Marketing Plan

Third Sector Magazine is a publication designed specifically for Australia’s not-for-profit sector. Syneka Marketing as market leader in providing solutions for the not-for-profit sector has been offered editorial content in the Third Sector Magazine.

This edition we covered the steps required to develop a successful marketing plan, utilising the Rotary Club of Ringwood as a case study, through the formation of its corporate membership program.

An edited version of the article is available from Third Sector Magazine and was included in the August edition of the magazine.

The complete edition of the article Developing a Successful Marketing Plan is available for registered members of the Syneka Marketing website. Registration is free and provides exclusive access to presentations, articles and papers.

Tips for Developing a Successful Marketing Plan

Good governance is all about knowing where your organisation wants to go and having the right people and resources to get you there.

Marketing, through being able to develop the right messages and reach the right people, is an integral part of governance.

Marketing is more than direct mailers, telemarketing campaigns and volunteers collecting funds. It about coming up with a strategy and then implementing this in a way that meets the goals of the organisation.

Success Starts with Strategy

When we develop a marketing plan for an organisation, we first look at the business plan as a basis for the direction of the organisation. Looking at a business plan enables me to see where an organisation currently is and where it wants to go in the future.

A marketing plan sets the strategy for an organisation. An effective marketing plan ensures good governance, through performance targets and accurate budgets.

The right strategy is important, because marketing needs to support the goals identified in a business plan. A business plan identifies what an organisation seeks to achieve, while a marketing plan looks at how to achieve these outcomes.

Typically a marketing plan will consider the services offered by an organisation, key communication messages, and the stakeholders that should receive these messages. It is important to remember that stakeholders are broader than just clients or volunteers, but also encompasses staff, board members, funding bodies and partner organisations.

While each of these stakeholders interact with an organisation in a different way, they are collectively important to its success.

Start by identifying the Goals

We recently worked with the Rotary Club of Ringwood in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, to develop a corporate membership program. The Rotary Club of Ringwood was chosen to develop a pilot program for corporate membership by Rotary International.

As a result the Rotary Club of Ringwood’s business plan included the corporate membership program. A marketing plan was required to identify how they could develop and implement this program and recruit new members.

Rotary Clubs typically have one membership category being individuals. The corporate membership introduced a second membership category for businesses. This introduced businesses directly into Rotary and the people connected with these businesses.

We developed a marketing plan to implement this goal with clearly defined objectives and actions that could be measured to evaluate performance.

Marketing is Inclusive

The marketing planning process needs to involve key stakeholders, staff and board members to ensure collective ownership and a shared understanding of the organisation.

For the Rotary Club of Ringwood existing members needed to support the introduction of corporate membership. We convened a workshop to discuss potential options and to receive feedback from members. This engaged these key stakeholders and made sure that they were comfortable with the direction of corporate membership.

In addition, this approach helps ensure that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities. One of the actions in the marketing plan was the distribution of information materials. This was only going to be undertaken if members felt that their views were heard.

Identify the Steps Required

A Marketing Plan will consider several objectives that should support the goals identified in a business plan. These objectives should be supported with strategies, outlining actions that need to be accomplished.

The marketing plan for the Rotary Club of Ringwood supported its aim through the following objectives:

  • Create a point of differentiation to other business and service clubs.
  • Secure speakers relevant to businesses members.
  • Develop a compelling program to encourage ongoing involvement of business members.
  • Connect businesses with community service to involve them in club activities.

These objectives reinforced the aim by considering the requirements for a successful corporate membership program.

Once again, an inclusive process was critical. For example, this ensured the Program Director scheduled speakers that were relevant to prospective business members.

Have The Right Information

Good governance relies on having the right information and a marketing plan is no different.

In developing the plan for the Rotary Club of Ringwood we had to consider the context of the existing business community. The service area included 12,000 business of which 75% were home-based sole operators.

The methods required to reach these businesses is clearly different to targeting larger businesses in areas like the Central Business District.

Metrics also assist in measuring outcomes. Objectives need to be supported by actions that can be undertaken and evaluated.

For the Rotary Club of Ringwood this included the distribution of leaflets to reach home-based businesses, the inclusion of membership on the website and a series of media releases targeting local newspapers.

Outcomes included progress towards distributing leaflets, the collection of contact information, the issuing and coverage of media releases and attendance at the business sessions.

Measuring Results

The approach we provided for the Rotary Club of Ringwood ensured good governance by providing clearly defined actions and evaluation. We provided an inclusive approach that meant all members were able to contribute to the success of the program.

You can only consider whether you have achieved your goals, if you know how you are going to measure success. Knowing this lets you make adjustments and respond to changes as needed.

About Syneka Marketing

Syneka Marketing is a dynamic and innovative strategic, creative and digital marketing agency. Syneka Marketing is a market leader in providing marketing services to the not-for-profit sector. Clients include Volunteer Resource Centres, Community Houses, Peak Organisations and Service Clubs.

Alex Makin is the Managing Director of Syneka Marketing and has extensive experience in not-for-profit organisations, in volunteer, staff and board positions.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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