The Rotary Conference is an annual event designed to bring clubs across District 9810, covering Melbourne’s eastern and south-eastern suburbs, together for networking and knowledge exchange.
The conference was held in Wangaratta, and despite replacement coach services it was enjoyable weekend filled with a range of Rotary projects.
The weekend conference covered new initiatives and projects undertaken by clubs within the District. One of the sessions included Marketing and I had the privilege of presenting an overview of strategic marketing to the assembled Rotarians.
Rotary, like any other organisation, needs effective marketing to achieve its goals. Marketing enables individual Cubs to identify their target markets and the objectives they wish to achieve.
Marketing is broader than member recruitment and needs to encompass all potential markets of a Club, including business partners, community organisations and public support. Each of these target markets will have specific reasons for becoming involved and Clubs need to develop consistent messages to ensure a positive interaction.
Individual Rotary Clubs possess their own strengths and these should be used to develop a competitive advantage relative to other organisations. Rotary Clubs are ultimately competing for people’s time and resources. The value proposition needs to demonstrate the benefits from being associated with Rotary.
Key messages should reinforce the strengths of the Club and articulate this value proposition. For example, Clubs could demonstrate the professional skills that are gained through assisting with Rotary projects and the benefits this provides for career prospects. Similarly, Clubs can demonstrate the benefits for business partners in aligning themselves with a globally recognised brand and potential customer base.
Every form of contact someone has with the Club, whether it be through bulletins, brochures, meetings or correspondence is a form of a marketing; since an impression is left with every encounter. All marketing tools need to reinforce the key messages and develop a consistent brand image for the Club.
Similarly, a Club’s website and social media presence needs to complement existing forms of communication. A club should utilise a number of tools and evaluate each of them to measure their reach with the desired target market.
Inconsistency creates confusion and diminishes the ability to encourage the target market to interact with Rotary.
Rotary is a high involvement product, it requires a significant commitment from individuals and a consistent image helps to ensure top of mind awareness. In addition, encouraging involvement in projects can assist in recruiting members for specific tasks and to demonstrate the outcomes they can achieve.
The District Conference is a great opportunity to meet fellow Rotarians and to discuss ideas, it is great to see marketing being considered as part of the program fixture.