As we continue to navigate global challenges, it’s apparent that sustainable business practices are more important than ever. In response, there is a rise in impact organizations, companies that consciously, intentionally, and sustainably attempt to alleviate a local or global problem.
While profit may still be a goal, “the main metric is whether the company achieves its aim of impacting social, cultural or environmental issues,” according to Entrepreneur. If this sounds like your organization, you may be tempted to shout your company’s goodness from the rooftop – and rightfully so.
However, to achieve your goals, it’s important to broadcast your message in a way that ensures you reach the right people with the right message. Here’s our guide on how to create a marketing strategy to effectively and authentically promote your impact organization.
Before you begin your marketing strategy, you’ll first need to determine what you want to achieve in terms of your organization’s impact. Do you want to recycle a specific number of bottles? Deliver a certain number of free meals? Donate a set amount of clothing items?
To know how close you are to achieving your impact goal, you can use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs are measurements used to gauge aspects of your company’s overall long-term performance, and, in turn, your impact.
For example, if your desired impact is donating a million free meals to people in need, a KPI could be the number of meals donated per sale made. The larger the sale, the more meals donated.
Once you have your KPIs in mind, you should determine what role your customers play – essentially, what action you want them to take to support the KPIs. Do you want them to make a purchase? Share a link to your company on their social channels? Watch a video to gain awareness of your cause?
In general, the better your company performs on the relevant KPIs, which are specific and measurable, the better you’re doing impact-wise
If you’ve ever implemented a communication or marketing strategy, you know the importance of determining your target audience before you begin. Your target audience are the people you want to reach; the people you want to take the desired actions you’ve outlined.
For impact organizations, this step can be especially important to ensure your audience’s values are aligned with your company’s. According to a PwC Canada survey, 34% of Canadians are willing to pay a premium for brands known for their sustainability practices, and 33% for ethical and environmental considerations. Value-aligned customers are also typically more loyal, and more likely to take the actions you want them to.
So, how do you find your audience? Personas, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, can help guide you in the right direction. Use data or research from your past, current, or ideal customers to create profiles.
Though many personas start with basic demographic data, it’s also helpful to include details like where this customer spends time both online and offline, personality type, likes and dislikes, lifestyle, and issues they care about.
You can then use these personas to tailor how, where, and when you speak to your audience, including determining your content types, communication channels, messaging, and tone.
While you’ll need to reach the right customers, you’ll also need to reach them with the right message in order to get them to do the right thing. You’ll want to determine what you need to communicate to convince people to do this.
Consumers are increasingly becoming savvier and more aware of their options before they buy, especially consumers who are seeking information on environmental impact, ethical production, and fair treatment of stakeholders.
As mentioned, your target audience may be willing to pay more for your products or services, but they’ll need to know why they should be choosing your company over another – particularly if there’s a cheaper or more immediate choice in the mix.
Your messaging should address the “cost” or impact of this choice. Essentially, answer the question of why choosing your company’s product or service is better overall by highlighting the values and benefits.
It’s also a good idea to be transparent about your impact progress for your current and prospective customers to see.
For example, Canadian clothing company Tentree plants 10 trees for every item purchased (their KPI). To date, they have planted nearly 58 million trees (their progress), and have a goal to plant one billion trees by 2030 (their impact goal). This information is clearly and easily found on the homepage of their website.
Once your message is out in the world, you’ll probably want to know how it’s doing – more specifically, if you’re actually reaching the right people and moving towards your impact goals. The KPIs you identified earlier can be a useful tool to see if your company is making headway on these goals.
You can also look at how specific campaigns or content pieces are performing, and use this information to fine-tune your target audience, explore which types of content work best, A/B test different versions of your marketing collateral, and more.
As an impact organization, you’ve chosen the path that may be less travelled, but it’s also the path towards making the world better. So, don’t be shy to share your good deeds! Just remember to do it strategically and authentically to ensure you’re packing the strongest punch for your cause.
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