As we look back on 2020, there is one simple word that most defines how businesses and associations alike viewed the year…pivot. The word doesn’t mean that those developing new strategies completely abandoned their mission or changed their vision for how their organizations could change the world, rather the definition of pivot means something more subtle. Strategies had to rotate, turn, swivel.
In this, we find the poignant matter to be that organizations who did this well were able to dig deep into their vision for how they serve their audiences and create different ways to make them accessible, meaningful. So, while we covered a lot of ground speaking with practitioners in fields like sponsorship sales, event programming, generating non dues revenue, and the like, this past week we dove into how those pivots were made accessible. Joined by Chief Marketing Officer of Feathr, Abhay Khurana, on 6 Degrees of Associations, we discussed how organizations leverage digital marketing capabilities and platforms to engage their audiences.
The distinction between designing strategies to carry on your organization’s mission and vision and making those strategies known and engaging is important. Often organizations can approach this as a pure exercise in the tactical. We design a new virtual event strategy, therefore it is, now let’s push that out to our audience. Khurana would argue that merely looking to recoup losses from live events by going online and then going about business as usual is a short-term strategy. Rather organizations who craft these pivot strategies but then also invest the time in building a strategy for how to pull the audience in will have more success in the long term.
To put a fine point on this, associations and organizations would do well to consider their audiences, segment them, and build specific strategies around them to engage. In a world where marketing has become synonymous with promotion, some have been caught up in the frenetic energy of bleeding edge promotional marketing tools. We would argue that organizations need to remind themselves that the age old “four Ps of marketing” are still relevant today, that promotion is but one pillar of the strategy. When organizations fall victim to the promotion frenzy, pushing becomes the route to market and who likes to be pushed?
Talking with Khurana, we were delighted to hear of a focus on, well, focus. A desire to help associations evaluate what they are trying to engage on, with who, and how to use tools to streamline this strategically rather than boil the ocean as it were. Feathr offers a different perspective and a different type of digital platform. One that simplifies rather than complicates. After a year of chaos, couldn’t we all use something a little more simple, more focused, more engaging?