I am here in the internet café of the GetActive Get Together 2006, a user group meeting for those who use GetActive software. Basically, it is a suite of software products used online to manage the email lists and messaging of nonprofit organizations. They also are now into website management tools and have lots of modules.
This meeting brings together nonprofits doing email marketing and their vendors and consultants to share best practices, schmooze, etc. For me, I am lucky because I am from Baltimore and got the opportunity to stay with my parents for a couple of days while here, as well as to do some business in Washington.
I just finished a session by my friend Nick Allen, who is the Founder and CEO of Donordigital. Nick was talking about list growth, list health and overall strategies for email marketing with two of his clients, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Humane Society of the USA.
The keynote speaker was Seth Godin, who everyone enjoyed hearing. He had that Keynote Speaker Zen, that combination of funny, self-deprecating, informative and controversial. I think, like most great speakers, he overstates his case, but he did it in a very entertaining and interesting way. His main point – though I will not do it justice – is that top-down marketing to people is dead and that people marketing to their own community is what has taken its place. One example, he showed a small circle on his screen in the corner and said this represents the dollars BWM spends in marketing in the US for its cars. He then dropped in a HUGE circle and said this is what Lincoln/Mercury spent on marketing. Why? Remarkable things get people selling them to each other. Spending very large amounts of money to sell average products to average people is what most general marketing is about.
For the nonprofit community this means you need to get messages out that will get passed around. General marketing is for general people, and you will never get noticed this way. If you want to stand out, you need to do something remarkable. He is provocative, interesting, and for sure worth reading.
[...] When I saw Seth Godin speak a few weeks back his theme was the death of top-down marketing, by which he means companies forcing you to watch commercial messages in commercial message times and places. Replacing this top-down marketing is friends telling friends. [...]