Move your mission forward: measure your marketing!

Welcome to the second in our series marketing and value. In December’s issue of Foreword, we explored marketing maths and revealed how, with a few quick sums and a bit of common sense, it’s easy to spot value for money marketing activities.

But of course value of money is not the whole picture. As a purpose-driven not-for-profit, your bottom line needs to deliver on your mission as well. This month we’ll look at how to measure the value of marketing activities towards your mission. Continue reading…

Deal, or Dud? How to pick the ripest, most valuable marketing opportunities

You’re sitting at your desk. In front of you are two proposals for marketing activities – one to sponsor an expo, and another to advertise your services in your local paper. They both look like great deals, but you can only afford to do one….

So how do you pick a winner?

Over the next few issues of Foreword I’ll let you in on my special formula to detect the ripest marketing opportunities. By checking your maths, your mission and measurement, the fit between medium and message, and your audience’s mindset in the moment you can pick a winner every time.

This month – it’s maths, so… grab a calculator!


A nice sharp pencil or a spreadsheet will come in handy here, because there are three important calculations to do before you can pick your winner:

  1. Total cost
  2. Total reach
  3. Audience profile

1. Total cost

To get a real picture of the cost of entry, add up:

  • Media cost
  • Materials costs
  • Time costs

Let’s say the expo sponsorship and the newspaper advertisement both cost $500.

To participate in the expo sponsorship, you’ll need to supply content for the expo showbag and deliver your brand’s banner to the site. You’ll need to make a new advertisement for the newspaper.

To keep your direct costs down, look for opportunities to reuse material and reduce staff time.

Let’s imagine that you can use your existing flyers for the expo showbag, and one of your staff is already attending – so they can take and put up the banner. No material or time costs there.

The newspaper advertisement on the other hand, will cost $400 in design, and $100 in staff time to coordinate that process – bringing its total cost to $1,000.

The total cost of the expo is still only $500.

But as any savvy shopper knows, cost is not the same as value. We need to consider how many people each opportunity will reach, how often, for how long, and how well.


2.Total reach

Media outlets selling advertising should have a media kit with information about how many people their medium reaches, and who they are. Examine the source of this information closely. There can be a great deal of difference between externally researched or audited figures, and publisher’s estimates. For example, a newspaper might have a circulation (copies printed) of 2,000 but claim a readership of 6,000. If this readership figure is based on research that says 3 people read each copy, fine – but if it’s just an assumption, go with the lower figure.

In our scenario, the newspaper has an estimated readership of 6,000, and there will be 2,000 people at the expo. These are your “Reach” figures.

Now do this calculation:

Total Cost ÷ (Reach÷1,000) = Cost per thousand reach

This is your base measure of cost efficiency. You’ll see that the expo sponsorship will cost you $250 per thousand reach, and the newspaper advertisement will cost you $166 per thousand.

So… the newspaper wins! Or does it?

We need to consider how many of the people reached are in your target audience.

It’s time to look at…

3.Audience profile

Your message isn’t for everyone – it’s about a service you offer to people over 65 only. Your target audience is potential clients and their children, which means anyone aged 45+.

Looking at each medium’s audience profile will tell you who it reaches:

  • Based on its topic, you can assume that 100% of the 2,000 people at the Positive Ageing Expo will be interested in services for older people.
  • For the newspaper, open up that media kit and see if research on reader demographics has been included. Bingo! 50% of your newspaper’s audience is over 45. That’s 3,000 people in your target audience – 1,000 more than the expo.

Now let’s check to see which medium is more cost efficient by calculating the cost per thousand audience reach:

Total Cost ÷ ((Reach x Profile%) ÷1000) = Cost per thousand audience reach

If you got $250 per thousand for the expo and $333 per thousand for the newspaper you’re right.


Weighing it up: impact, frequency and longevity

Before you sign with the expo sponsorship, there are three other things to think about:

  • How impactful is the placement?
  • How noisy or competitive is the environment – will your message cut through?
  • How many times will your target audience have the opportunity to see your message?
  • Over what period?

Here’s where we throw away the calculator and drawn on some intuition and common sense to assess which is really the best deal. Hang onto your spreadsheet though, because putting this into a table may help to gain a better view of the big picture.

Factor Newspaper Expo Sponsorship
Total Cost $1,000 $500
Total Reach 6,000 2,000
Cost per ‘000 Reach $166 $250
Audience Reached: People 45+ 3,000 2,000
Cost per ‘000 Audience $333 $250
Impact Full back cover of souvenir lift-out Banner at entry
Flyer in showbag
Noise Low – only advertiser on back cover High – 100 exhibitors,
20 other sponsors
Frequency Once Twice
Longevity One month One day (flyer might be kept)

This newspaper advertisement is not the usual quarter-page in the news section of the paper: it will take up the entire back cover of a special souvenir lift-out, full of content that’s very appealing to your target audience. The lift-out will remain relevant and in distribution throughout Senior’s Month, so your audience is likely to hang onto this. It will have longevity.

What’s more, with both impact and longevity it’s likely that people in your target audience will see your message more than once, giving frequency a little boost.

In contrast, the expo is a very busy environment. Your message can be seen twice – it has some frequency – but you’ll share that space with many other brands…and when you went to the expo last year, you saw a lot of flyers in the bins…


Deal, dud, or… distraction?

Weighing it all up, the newspaper advertisement is probably the better deal… provided you can afford to pay the higher total cost.

However, as management legend Peter Drucker once said:

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Before you buy, think about the opportunity cost: will taking this deal help drive your organisation’s mission forward, or is it a distraction? Could you achieve more by focusing on other activities?

More on that next time as we look at how to measure the value of marketing opportunities against your mission.

Meg Drechsler is CBB’s Senior Marketing Consultant.  If you have any queries about content marketing or she can be contacted via email or by phoning 1300 284 364.

Don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.

Content Marketing (Part 5): From attention to action – top 5 tips for NFPs

In this, the final post in our series on content marketing we explore five simple things NFPs can do to drive results from content marketing.

If you’ve read our previous posts, you’ll already know what you need to do to harness the power of great content to promote your organisation’s mission and activities using the first three of our four As of great content marketing:

  • Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.
  • Asset – what do you already have that your audience values?
  • Amplification – what are the most cost effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?

Following these three steps will grab people’s attention – but then what? It’s time for action!

The call to action

A call to action is a signpost for your audience, showing them the action they can take next.

The action you promote will depend on your organisation’s objectives. If you want to:

Grow your audience You might invite people to subscribe to a mailing list or follow you on social media for more content; or share your article with interested friends.

Encourage donations You might invite people to make an online donation.

Expand your customer or volunteer base You could invite people to come-and-try a service, sign up to attend an introductory event, or make an online or phone enquiry.

Whatever response you’re looking for, a good call to action works when it answers the needs of your audience. Here are our top tips for a strong call to action: 

  1. Right place, right time

Following the steps under the third A – Amplification – you’ve directed your audience to your website to read the content. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and think about when and where your call to action will be useful to them.

A call to action upfront can be appropriate if your audience arrives at your site ready to commit. Let’s say you’ve promoted an event on social media with a video explaining the benefits of attending. Your audience is likely landing on your website looking to book in! So don’t waste their time explaining the event again. Provide essential information like dates, times and costs – and invite booking upfront.

If your audience arrives at your site ready to learn more – for example, by reading a longer blog post – then an upfront call-to-action can look like spam – and might turn people off. In this case, place your call to action at the end of your article, or off to the side of the page.

  1. Make it easy

As a general rule, people hate to do more work. So make your call to action easy to follow. 

Filling in long forms looks like work – even the most interested person is tempted to put it in the ‘do later’ box…and never get around to following up.

Design your call to action to work instantly, with minimal effort. Instead of a long enquiry form, consider live chat; a one-click button that phones you; or offer to send further information after entering an email address only.

If the thought of redesigning your webpages to include a call to action makes you want to run and hide, consider using a landing page builder like or . These online landing page builders have easy-to-follow templates, and can be added to most common website platforms like WordPress.

  1. Write value into your call to action

People who have made it this far, have visited you because they liked what you were offering!  When you write your call to action, include both the action people can take – eg

“Download”, “Enquire Now”, “Register” – as well as re-iterating the value they will receive by taking the action.

For example: let’s say you’ve promoted an article with the title “Get Ready for NDIS”, designed to help your current customers with some top tips to help them prepare for NDIS. Your objective is to encourage readers to learn more by attending an information session.

Instead of saying “Register for our information session”, try “Get Ready for NDIS at this free information session”. This option:

  • Restates your article’s title and benefit
  • Uses audience centred language – using “this/your/you” instead of “us/our/we” sends the message that you’re in this for your audience’s benefit, not your own
  • Answers a potential barrier to attending – cost – by including the word ‘free’ in the text. 
  1. Be ready to respond

A strong call to action needs a prompt response. When you’re designing your content marketing, think about what you can realistically manage. If it will take some time for your team to respond to an online enquiry, you can free up your team and offer your audience an immediate response using automated emails.

For example, if new client enquiries always get sent an information pack, you could send this to the enquirer automatically while they are waiting for a call back from your team. Email automation is available free or at low cost from – or talk to us for help setting up your enquiry channels.

  1. Measure, learn, and experiment

In this series, we’ve given you some of the principles of good content marketing – but nothing beats practice. Your organisation, brand and audiences are unique and will respond to your content in their own unique and sometimes surprising ways.

With online channels you can see how your audience responds to your content in real time. If your strategy doesn’t work you can adjust it straight away. And the more content marketing you do, the more you will learn about the people you serve – creating value for them, for you, and for your organisation’s mission.

Meg Drechsler is CBB’s Senior Marketing Consultant.  If you have any queries about content marketing or she can be contacted via email or by phoning 1300 284 364.

Don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.

Content Marketing series: boosting social impact

Content marketing for ‘for purpose’ organisations is all about offering value via your marketing content – exchanging something people value for the right to start a relationship.

Non-profit organisations exist to serve people before profit. But competition for funding is getting tighter. To keep helping the people who need you most, you need a sustainable funding base. You need to market your service or cause far more actively than you might have done in the past, if ever.

But how can you attract more people to you, without losing sight of your purpose – or your humanity – in the process?

How will you cut through the noise in our information-saturated world? And how do you know where to start?

In this series, our Senior Marketing Consultant Meg Drechsler takes you through the 4As: a four-step approach to planning content marketing for your organisation.



Want to know more or need help getting your NFP to stand out in the crowd?  Contact Meg via email or by phoning 1300 284 364.

Content marketing (Part 4): Make some noise – Amplify your content and reach more of the people who need you

This month we continue our series of articles on content marketing as we reach the third of our 4 As:

  • Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.
  • Asset – what do you already have that your audience values?
  • Amplification – what are the most cost effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?
  • Action – how will you link the content to a next step so that the people you can help, find it easy to take action

Throughout this series on content marketing, we’ve encouraged you to understand your audience and to take a fresh look at your brand’s assets to discover opportunities to engage your audience using your existing strengths.

This month, we’re looking at amplification – how to use media wisely to promote your content, and help the people who need you to find the value you’re offering.

Paid, owned or earned?

When considering media options, many people tend to think about channels – TV, print, digital etc – or even individual properties – Facebook, the local newspaper, and so on. But to really make a noise, it helps to go back a step, and think about how you will use each media channel to promote your content. Most channels can be used as either paid, owned, or earned media.

  • Paid media covers advertising or sponsorship arrangements where you are paying to reach an audience. When you pay for advertising space, you have control of your message and know exactly how many people you are reaching for your money.
  • Earned media is reach that is achieved – over and above what you have paid for – when others share content on your behalf. For example: PR and editorial stories, shared social media posts, and affiliate marketing. Earned media requires an investment of time and effort, rather than money, to achieve reach – you literally have to ‘earn it’!
  • Owned media is the space you have control over, such as your website, your email newsletters, your premises, and your customer service channels. Its job is to convert interest into action for your organisation.

A strong reach strategy will use a combination of paid, earned and owned media to reach your audience. The best combination depends on your brand’s circumstances and resources. But there are some general guidelines you can follow to make the most of each option in marketing your content.

Owned Media:

Put your valuable content where you own it – primarily your website. You can control the information that is here and how it’s presented.

Then, use paid and earned media channels to promote the content that can be found on your website. For example, you might post a useful how-to article on your website’s blog. Leave the full article here, and create shorter extracts to promote that content through your chosen paid and/or earned media.

Your paid and earned media placements direct people back to read the full article on your website – where interested people can then easily take the next step to make an enquiry, donation, or sign up for more content.

Paid Media:

Whilst large advertising budgets are beyond the reach of many not for profits, no media is truly free. If you don’t pay for space, you will pay for the time it takes to research enough free channels to get sufficient reach to drive a result, or for content strong enough to go viral. Even if you have very little money to spend, a small investment can make a big difference to your result – because paying for more primary reach gives you the boost to connect to more people, who are then able to share your content on through their networks.

Earned Media:

To make your content sharable, it really needs to resonate with your audience. Sharing is the new endorsement, it’s your audience’s way of signalling agreement or approval of the message you’re promoting.

For non-profits, social media is an accessible and easy way to get started earning reach, but it’s also a competitive and noisy space. So what can you do to make your content stand out, and become more ‘shareable’?

There is some evidence that many who share don’t actually read the full content before sharing. This means that the images and text you choose to promote your content are just as important as the content itself. Including an image or video with a human interest story, relating to topical ideas already in the news, inspirational content, humour, challenging or controversial opinion, can all work to increase your shareability.

Something as simple as asking people to share your content – either in a social media post, or by including a ‘share’ button on your blog article – can make a difference to your reach!

Be aware that once you start earning media, you also start to lose control over your content, message and how it is presented. Whether picked up by mainstream media or simply bouncing round the digital space, it is likely that your content will become commented on, editorialised and potentially re-contextualised.

An example is the ice bucket challenge – originally a fundraiser for ALS/motor neurone disease in the US, it went viral and global. The connection with Motor Neurone Disease was lost as people adopted the ice bucket challenge to raise for their preferred cause, and ultimately, posting a video of your ice bucket challenge became the end in itself.

Your campaign could become somehow bigger, more generic and less about you – so be ready to enjoy the benefits and manage the risks.

Bringing it all together…

Make the most of your paid and earned media by creating multiple placements, based on different aspects of the content you’re promoting, and publish these across more than one medium. For example, you might create a series of paid and/or free social media posts, as well as a paid advertorial in a relevant publication, to promote a useful article on your website’s blog.

Using multiple placements:

  • makes your content more accessible for your audience because they can access it through their preferred, ‘first choice’ medium
  • builds momentum and awareness – seeing your message multiple times in multiple places increases the chance that your audience will respond to your advertisement.
  • offers you an SEO (search engine optimisation) benefit, so that you come higher in the important Google search results page.

Once you’ve got your audience interested – don’t leave them dangling. Direct them from paid content back to your owned media, i.e. your website, so that they can get the full story or more useful content. Obviously, for this to be truly effective, your website needs to reflect the content on paid media and lead your audience to further enquiry or action.

So, hopefully you’re starting to get the picture that in an effective content marketing strategy, all four of our A’s are interconnected: Knowing who your audience are marks the first step to understanding what is important to them. Based on that understanding you can identify what assets you have that will resonate – helping them to solve a problem or achieve an aspiration. Knowing your audience is also critical when choosing media to amplify your message.

It’s easy to assume that young people are only interested in digital media, that older people access information through traditional channels and that homeless people don’t have mobile phones. But these stereotypes aren’t always true: Mobile phones are actually a critical means for homeless people to find food and shelter (just Ask Izzy), there’s no shortage of IT literate older people, and the tech-savvy generation now in their 40s and 50s are frequently the ones making the decisions about the aged care or NDIS services that best meet the needs of their family.

Next month we’ll look at the final part of our 4As approach to content marketing – action, and how you get your audience to move from being consumers of your content to consumers of your products and services.

Meg Drechsler is CBB’s Senior Marketing Consultant.  If you have any queries about content marketing or she can be contacted via email or by phoning 1300 284 364.


Don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.




Content marketing (Part 3): Hidden in plain sight – making the most of your assets for NFP content marketing

Welcome to the third of our series on content marketing.

In our first post, we discussed the potential of content marketing to boost your social impact, and introduced our 4 A’s:

  • Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.
  • Asset – what do you already have that your audience values?
  • Amplification – what are the most cost effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?
  • Action – how will you link the content to a next step so that the people you can help, find it easy to take action?

Last month, we looked at the importance of thinking people-first by building a true understanding of your audience – what they want to know, and what they value.

Once you understand what is important to your audience the next step is to find content they will value. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create something new and flashy. You probably already have a rich selection of assets that can offer value to your audience, they might just need a bit of polish.

Catalogue your assets

For most of us thinking about ‘marketing assets’ the first things that come to mind are probably your communication assets – things like your website, your brochures, and your logo. That’s a pretty limited selection of things to work with! The good news is that everything communicates – so look as well to less tangible things you already ‘own’.

Challenge your team to identify assets in each of these categories. You might be surprised at what you have that you can use in your content marketing!

  • Communications: collateral, website, digital media, social media/online communities, advertising, videos, newsletters, photographs, reports
  • Brand/product: reputation, awareness, product/service experiences, events, logo, mascots, symbols
  • Physical: building space, street presence, merchandise, transit, tools of the trade, uniforms, vehicles
  • Intellectual: professional know how, intellectual property, customer knowledge, history, research/evidence
  • Human: staff, customers, champions/spokespeople, patrons, board members, alumni, volunteers
  • Partners: collaborators, competitors, funders, media

Find your best assets for content marketing

Now you have a picture of everything you can use to communicate, look for assets you can create content around that can…

Inspire – stories that are relatable, inspiring and demonstrate your organisation’s mission in action can help the right people to identify you as a brand that fits with their life. Celebrity endorsements can be useful to aid your brand’s profile, but showing the success of ‘people like me’ can be just as effective. Done with respect to the needs of the people whose stories you use, promoting real life case studies is a powerful way to show your mission with authenticity and power.

Western Sydney University’s Unlimited campaign showcased a range of alumni, all demonstrating the organisation’s purpose, which is summed up beautifully on the campaign’s website.

Personal stories are just that – personal. So if you do use real life stories, look for mutual benefit. If someone gifts you their story look for ways to use this that offer them a benefit too – it’s not just about selling your brand. Deng Thiak Adut’s incredible story came to prominence through this campaign – which lent profile to Deng’s work as a refugee advocate, and later being announced as the 2016 NSW Australian of the Year.

Inform – informing doesn’t need to be a dry and passive activity. Information can spark interest, aid decision making (for example, online calculators and comparisons), or prompt a specific action. It can literally save a life.

In Britain, Red Cross promoted the value of learning first aid to 13-18 years olds via key YouTube stars sharing simple lifesaving skills. Globally the FAST acronym (face, arm, speech, time) has been used by stroke charities and others to prompt early emergency services’ intervention for people experiencing stroke, with a quick response critical for improved outcomes for survival and functionality.

Educate – if your service is more complex, you might need to take things up a notch from just facts or simple interventions. So how can you help the people you serve use your product, or understand your category? By sharing know-how and how to advice, and giving a platform for your resident experts to demonstrate their knowledge and experience. The expert opinions from academic and financial institutions that feature in current affairs programming sit at the macro end of this scale, but not for profits can easily and cost effectively demonstrate their know-how and educate their audience through websites, social media and webinars, as well as face to face events.

Experience – help customers ‘try before they buy’ or otherwise experience aspects of your service that set it apart from other options.

You might introduce an aspect of a new product or service that can be offered online, or at an event: for example, a number of disability service providers are providing education and online help guides to clients in advance of their NDIS plans. The aim is to build relationships and loyalty, so when the client has their NDIS plan approved and their budget in place, they will come back and purchase services.

Charity Water recognised that two of their best assets were their volunteer fundraisers, and their staff; Charity Water were inspired to create a personal, shareable experience when thanking their donors – by letting their staff create thank you videos!

This was obviously a LOT of fun – but it also served to highlight their point of difference – they put all donations from fundraising towards water projects, and found other ways to fund staffing of their operations.

What do you have hidden in plain sight?

So, think about the assets do you already have that can inspire, inform, educate or offer experience.

  • What value can they offer your audience, while helping them engage with your brand?
  • What stories do you have to offer that will inspire and engage?
  • What resources do you have that can be repurposed?
  • What experiences can you bring online?
  • What information can you share?

Not all organisations are asset rich from a cash perspective. But dig deep enough, and every organisation – especially those with a strong sense of purpose – is asset rich in people, knowledge and experience.

Enjoy discovering your unique assets, and join us next time as we will look at how to amplify your message in a noisy world, by using content.

Meg Drechsler
Senior Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 284 364


Don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.

People first planning for NFP content marketers

Part two in our series about Content Marketing for NFPs. Read part one here: Act first, think later – a fresh take on boosting social impact online

Content marketing for ‘for purpose’ organisations is all about offering value via your marketing content – exchanging something people value for the right to start a relationship.

Rather than thinking channel first – “what should I put on Facebook”? – great content marketing starts with thinking people first – “what helps my audience at this stage of their relationship with us”?.

That’s why our “4As” approach to planning content marketing starts with people – your audience.

Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.

Asset – what do you already have that consumers value?

Amplification – what are the most cost effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?

Action – how will you link the content to a next step so that the people you can help find it easy to take action?

Who is your audience? What’s going on for them?

Structural changes in the non-profit sector mean that your audience may be changing, even if the end user of your service remains the same. With the introduction of My Aged Care and the NDIS, the purchasing decision has shifted from public bodies to the end users of services, or their carers. The information they need, what they care about and what’s helpful to them in making decisions about their care is very different from how you might have communicated to a funding body in the past. To keep putting people first, start by understanding who your new audience is, what’s going on for them at every stage in their buying decision, what they care about and what’s helpful to them.

First, identify who your customer is, and your audience – they are not always the same!

If you are trying to attract new clients, employees, volunteers or donors, is your audience the person who makes the ‘buying decision’, or is it more effective to talk to their key influencers – for example, this may be the person’s main carer, family member or others.

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to understand what’s going on for them at each stage of their buying decision, what they really care about, and what’s helpful to them. It’s important not to rely on assumptions here, or your organisational group think, but to turn the tables and really listen to your audience, so you can provide the content they really need and want, not just the information you want to tell them.

So how can you find out what your customers really want? There is no doubt that the best way to find valid and substantial customer and market insights is to invest in professional market research. Before you invest, it’s wise to first tap into some of the many resources available to better understand your audiences, to find insights that can be directly applied to your marketing or questions that can be addressed through more formal research.

Here are our top five sources of informal audience insight:

1  Ask them: organisations taking part in the recent South Australia Impact Accelerator program run by Business Models Inc gained hugely valuable insights by talking directly with customers to discover their pain points and why they engaged with the service. These insights inform not only marketing, but service design.

For organisations moving from publicly funded to individually funded business models, this stage is critical. Whilst your public sector funder would have wanted to complete due diligence checks against your board, your quality and safeguarding compliance etc. (and your website probably reflects this), your individual purchaser may be more interested in who your frontline support workers are and in stories of client experiences.

2  Hang out where your customers hang out: are there social media groups, online forums or real world physical spaces where your audience congregates and exchanges views and experiences? Listening to the discussion can give you valuable insights into their interests.

  • Set up Google alerts for your brand and your competitors to know who’s in the news and what’s being said by and about your market
  • Search for your brand on Facebook and Twitter – have you been mentioned in any posts?
  • Google yourself, and then your service type in your location. What is shown in reviews on Google or other review sites?

3  Use the data you already have: what can Google Analytics and social media monitoring tell you about what your customers are looking for and how they find you. What can you learn from your call centre queries, complaints and other feedback mechanisms?

4  Look to industry organisations and government bodies in your sector for market research: there may be studies available that address the generic needs of clients in your sector.

5  Look at similar organisations in your sector or related sectors. How are they using content marketing to communicate with similar audiences?

What will your audience value?

Use the information you’ve gathered to answer these four key questions about your audience:

  • Who are they, what’s going on for them?
  • What problem do you solve for them?
  • At what stage is your relationship with them?
  • What will they value at this stage?

Understanding what your customers care about, what is helpful to them and what problem you solve for them gives you the foundation to develop your content.

Developing new content can be an expensive exercise, so before you start creating something new, check out your existing assets – what do you already have that your audience will value?

Next month we’ll be looking more closely at our second “A” – Assets – and how to find assets that will inspire, inform, educate or offer a valued experience to your audiences – as well as some top tips for developing and testing your content on a budget.

If you have any questions about audiences, assets, or experiences in content marketing or you’d like to share please add your comment below.

Meg Drechsler
Senior Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 284 364


Don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.

Content Marketing (Part 1): Act first, think later – a fresh take on boosting social impact online

Non-profit organisations exist to serve people before profit. But competition for funding is getting tighter. To keep helping the people who need you most, you need a sustainable funding base. You need to market your service or cause far more actively than you might have done in the past, if ever.

But how can you attract more people to you, without losing sight of your purpose – or your humanity – in the process? How will you cut through the noise in our information-saturated world? And how do you know where to start?

Attract people, without selling out.

Back in the bad old days of the ‘hard-sell’, it was thought that the best way to generate interest in your product or service was to address the target customer directly, show them enjoying your brand, and clearly list ALL the benefits. If sales were down, you could always create a new application for your product to exploit a new audience.

It’s no wonder that marketing and advertising has a bad reputation, especially among those of us seeking to do good!

These examples from the 1950s look silly now, but they reflect the best practice of their time – the assumption that people make rational buying choices, in a linear manner, moving from initial awareness of a brand, to interest, to a desire to buy, finally taking action to purchase. This is the AIDA model¹, and it’s been around for about a hundred years.

More recently, psychologists working in advertising and marketing have developed some other perspectives on how people make buying decisions. In his book The Advertising Effect², consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier notes that when AIDA was developed, our relationship with media was largely one way and passive – people received messages, thought about it, then made a choice to act or not. Action usually followed thought and feeling, because that was the way media worked.

Now, with the rise of interactive media, a person’s first contact with a brand need not be passive – their very first encounter may be an action. Ferrier points out that the things we do can shape the way we think and feel – thoughts and feelings can follow action. This isn’t new news at ALL.
As Confucius said around two and a half thousand years ago,

“Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.”

Interactive media presents non-profits with a golden opportunity to do good while attracting more of the people who need you. By offering informative and inspiring online content that people value, you can build your relationship with potential clients, donors, staff, volunteers and stakeholders without the hard sell. This is content marketing.

If you’ve ever shared a video that inspired you; downloaded a helpful article, fact sheet or guide (like this one); attended a webinar that grew your knowledge; or followed a social media page to keep up with a special interest, you’ve probably interacted with content marketing.

All content marketing offers an easy first action towards a bigger change or decision. Good content marketing trades something that the audience values for the right to start a relationship. Providing content that is genuinely valuable to the people you serve can allow you to start helping people, even before they become clients! Perhaps you have some knowledge you can share to help them make a decision, or an inspiring story that will encourage them to take the next step in helping themselves?

Where to start?

With so many media channels to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start with marketing. The good news about content marketing is that you already have the raw materials to make it happen!

By matching the needs of your audience with the assets you already have – your knowledge, materials, stories and people – you’re off to a great start. From there, you can use freely available channels to get your content to the people who need you, and create pathways for them to take action.

Over the next four months, I’ll share with you our four-step approach to planning content marketing. We call them the 4As:

Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.

Asset – what do you already have that your audience will value?

Amplification – what are the most cost-effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?

Action – how will you link the content to a next step so that the people you can help, find it easy to take action?

Next month we’ll be talking about audiences – how to find out what they care about, and where to look for insights on a budget.

If you have any questions about audiences, or experiences in content marketing or you’d like to share please add your comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe here to CBB’s Foreword to receive next month’s article direct to your inbox.

Meg Drechsler
Senior Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 284 364


[1] Although it’s not necessarily descriptive of how individual humans make decisions, AIDA is still very useful for measuring the progress of your marketing efforts across a group of customers. More on that in a future article!

[2] Ferrier, A, The Advertising Effect, Oxford University Press 2014, p5-6

When opportunity knocks: How to identify marketing opportunities for your NFP

In Darwin last week Tony Burns, CEO of Telstra NT Business of the Year (2016) Helping People Achieve (HPA) and our Senior Marketing Consultant Meg Drechsler co-presented at our Community ExecNet event, Just do it: How to make marketing happen for your NFP.

Meg and Tony’s brief was to inspire the audience to ‘make marketing happen’, because as we all know, making marketing happen in the NFP context can be challenging at the best of times. What’s more, in an environment of constant change and opportunity, sometimes coming up with the idea is not the issue – it’s the inability to identify the ‘gems’ and then execute the ideas that can stymie an already under-resourced NFP’s marketing efforts.

Following Tony’s inspiring presentation where he outlined the transformation of a traditional disability employment provider to an award-winning, progressive social enterprise, Meg presented our audience with a neat little formula that we’d like to share with you here – how to work through a marketing opportunity for your NFP. For illustrative purposes we’ll use HPA’s story.

1. Identify your objective. What is it that you need to do?
HPA wanted to inspire the community to create employment opportunities for people with a disability.

2. Outline what’s stopping you or driving you to achieve your objective?
HPA needed employers and the wider community to recognise their peoples’ ability and drive to succeed, not their disability. But even their legal name – HPA Disability Services – suggested a lack of ability and reliance on services rather than self-determination.

3. How can you achieve your objective and overcome your barriers?
HPA wanted to change the conversation from disability to ability.

4. Which of your existing assets (e.g. website, newsletter, IP, etc) can you leverage to help you do all of the above?
HPA identified that their brand name and their people were assets that could help them realise their marketing opportunity.

The diagram below shows the four things you need to consider to identify the opportunity.

Understanding this opportunity allowed the HPA team to shift their brand from their legal name HPA Disability Services to develop a public profile as  HPA – Helping People Achieve.

HPA’s Helping People Achieve TV campaign shows its people as able, competent achievers – not passively receiving services, but actively achieving in HPA’s group of businesses. HPA was the first for purpose (not for profit) business to win the Telstra NT Business of the Year Awards in 2016.


Finding the right opportunity

Actually landing on the opportunity can be somewhat of an art form, and there are plenty of tools out there to get you started. And of course, executing your idea requires strategic thinking aligned with your vision and mission (and budget).

If you’d like assistance identifying and mapping out the marketing opportunities for your NFP, get in touch with our Senior Marketing Consultant, Meg Dreschler via:

Phone: 1300 284 364


How to nail a rebrand from the get-go

By Marissa Brown, General Manager Marketing and Community Engagement

Community Business Bureau recently underwent a mammoth exercise – to completely rebrand our 21-year-old organisation. And, like most not for profits, there were limits to how much of our precious budget we could afford to spend on a makeover. Oh, and we had to do most of the rebrand in-house, satisfy existing clients and appeal to new ones and of course, gain internal buy-in.

Every week we talk to or come across NFPs either launching a new brand or wanting advice on how to get it done within all of the parameters I mentioned above. And it’s no surprise – in an increasingly noisy market where it’s tough to stand out from the crowd, it makes complete sense to start with improving the strength and impact of your brand.

Like every large project, laying the right foundation is critical to success. Below I’ve put together my top five tips to help you nail your NFP rebrand from the get-go:


1. Rebrand for the right reasons

When undertaking a project of this size, it’s important to take a breath, step back, and view the project as objectively as possible. What is it you’re hoping to achieve through your rebrand? Does a rebrand fit with your strategic plan? Is there a particular time that would make more sense to rebrand? How much consultation will be required with both internal and external stakeholders? What’s the appetite for a complete makeover versus a refresh? Is a rebrand really what’s needed? Make sure you jointly agree your rebrand objective with all stakeholders before hitting the gas.


2. Conduct a brand audit

So you’ve decided to rebrand and you’re all on the same page … now it’s time to get your head around the magnitude of the task. You’ll be surprised just how many things your brand touches; make a list of everything you can possibly think of that will need rebranding, how much of each item you have in stock, when it will run out and how much it will cost to replace. And of course, your brand is more than just your logo, so you’ll need to consider all communication pieces and whether their tone and messaging will need updating as well.


3. Set a budget

A rebrand can be done cost-effectively, but total costs will vary greatly depending upon your organisational size, complexity and internal skillsets. Using your brand audit list above, consider whether items are ‘must-haves’ or ‘nice to haves’. And be realistic about what can be accomplished in-house. For example, if design is not a skillset you already have on staff, avoid the temptation to DIY as it may reflect poorly on your brand. We often work with NFPs on a limited budget to create templates that can be updated by internal staff.


4. Be realistic about what’s required

So you’ve made the decision to rebrand, you have an idea what’s involved and you know how much you have to spend. If you’re in a position to outsource all or parts of your rebrand, fantastic. But don’t think you can wipe your hands clean of the project altogether. Think about what is and isn’t covered by the external consultant, for example, rebranding your intranet, policies and Word templates. And, if you’re undergoing a name change, clarify who’s responsible for things like your email and web hosting – as these will need to change too.


5. Create a project schedule

We had over 200 items on our project plan for rebranding. It’s impossible for any one person to come up with (and remember) everything that needs to happen when rebranding. Use an online collaboration tool such as MS Project, Google Docs or Trello to assign responsibilities, keep on top of deadlines and manage your project budget.


Rebranding your organisation is no mean feat, but with strategic thinking, careful planning and realistic expectations, it can be a success for your organisation. If you’d like assistance to plan and execute your organisation’s rebrand, get in touch with our Senior Marketing Consultant, Meg Dreschler.

Phone: 1300 284 364



This article first appeared on Pro Bono Australia‘s website on 22 February 2017.