In their recent report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave US infrastructure a grade of D+. ASCE also said bad infrastructure costs U.S. households $9 per day in higher prices, poor service, repairs, and wasted time. For just $3 per day, they say we could fix the problem. Those numbers sound small, but they add up. Multiple that household-per-day number by 125 million households and 365 days a year, and you get an annual infrastructure bill of $137 billion. Paying for infrastructure is a big decision. How to pay for things is a marketing decision regarding pricing. What are the options?
“If you’re the kind of person who tends to succeed in what you start, changing what you start could be the most extraordinary thing you do.”
I previously featured this quote in a post about why society needs great marketers. If you’re a marketer interested in or working in the public and social sectors, maybe you’ve wanted to start a nonprofit of your own. As someone who has started his own business and worked at startups and nonprofits, I advise you to think long and hard before you start a nonprofit. It might not be the best way to have the impact you desire.
Are you designing and distributing low quality charitable products? How do you know? Just because your clients may benefit from, and even rely on, products that are free to them doesn’t mean you can give them crap. It also doesn’t mean they stop becoming savvy consumers just because something is free to them. Your products and services may be free to your clients, but in areas like healthcare and water they can also a matter of life and death.
Governments and most NGOs and nonprofits are in it for the long, long haul. Yet most organizations today are not engineered to survive that long, long haul. What are the secrets of agencies and nonprofits built to last?
In the social and public sectors, internal branding with staff, funders, donors and volunteers matters. One area where this is apparent, even critical, is nonprofit administrative costs. These costs are also known as operations, overhead, infrastructure, or as one commentator put it: Things-we-need-in-order-to-do-our-job-of-helping-people-dammit.
Marketing, especially in the public and social sectors, often targets changing the behavior of individuals and groups. We all know that changing behaviors is hard. If change was easy, we’d all lose weight, save more money for retirement and get enough sleep at night. As a marketer, how do you design and promote organizational change?
Like many social and public sector marketers, you’re probably forced to be your own graphic designer. Maybe you’re lucky enough to occasional access to another department’s designer, or can spend limited funds on freelance help. You have Microsoft PowerPoint on your computer, and while PowerPoint is versatile and useful, it just can’t do some things. Two things it can’t do is clip images from backgrounds and create vector images.
Two low-cost, easy-to-use web services now let you easily clip images from backgrounds and create vector images.
According to the United Nations, a majority of the world’s population now resides in urban areas. The trend towards urbanization shows no signs of slowing, either. By 2050, two-thirds of the planet’s population will be urban. Urban areas are organically connecting into megaregions that don’t always respect existing political or natural boundaries. Marketing in urban areas and megaregions demands that social and public sector marketers think in new ways about their markets.
Back in 2002 Peter Fisher, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury, described the U.S. federal government as “an insurance company with an army.” After all, if you look at the federal budget, benefits and military spending take the vast majority of funds. Since much of the military focuses on supply chain and distribution, you can modified Fisher’s quote to describe the federal government as an insurance company and a logistics company.