I’ve been drawn into several conversations recently where the theme was something like: “our results are down” or “the economy is finally hurting us” or “we just have to settle for this new reality.” (The “new reality” was some measure of poor results — cultivation or acquisition or whatever.)
Turns out there’s often a systemic issue to work on once we talk more.
But it occurs to me that one of the underlying issues behind these conversations is how significantly the world has changed (I know, that’s a “duh,” but stick with me).
In the good ole days, competition for attention wasn’t so stiff.
In the good ole days, the number of channels for messaging wasn’t so daunting.
In the good ole days, your donors weren’t bombarded with the tens of thousands messages per day (or per hour).
In the good ole days, your donors weren’t seeing or hearing from so many different, new, eager, exciting, efficient (and cool) small organizations occupying niches near you. Or bigger organizations who’ve turned up the volume and are everywhere.
Well you get the idea. Maybe you’ve been in these conversations or had them with yourself.
And “the good ole days” I’m talking about really could be as little as a few months ago. The rapid rate of change these days will take your breath away.
What worked before, doesn’t work as well now . . . or doesn’t work the same way.
I believe we have to acknowledge that what worked in the “good ole days” isn’t working today because today average isn’t average. And sadly, there’s been a lot of average work . . . that now fails.
Average strategies that used to deliver average results now deliver sub-par results.
Average creative used to deliver average results now fails.
Average performance by team members produces nothing.
Average isn’t average any more. The only thing that will stand out in this world of ours is the very best.
Because of how crazy the world is now, average will fail.
“Pretty good” will fail.
Mechanistic strategies will fail.
What used to work . . . will fail.
Here’s what I think, see if you agree.
- Relationships. Real relationships, not pretend relationships, are noticed. Relationship will cut through clutter and competition. No amount of frequency or intensity will replace relationships. In fact, I believe “it’s all about relationships”® (Yep, we believe it so much that we trademarked the phrase for our niche.)
- Uniqueness. Your donors are unique. You’re unique. This time is unique. What worked for another organization may or may not work for you. What worked last year may or may not work today. This is why canned doesn’t produce the way it used to. This is why dusting off last year’s creative may not be a good plan.
- Authenticity. Being real will get you noticed. Stop the corporate-speak. Talk to your donors like they are people and like you are a person (just try it). Real will get noticed.
- Analytics. Strategy in a vacuum is just someone’s good idea. Don’t settle for that. Track, analyze, report, test . . . rinse and repeat. There is no substitute.
That’s what I’m thinking. Too obvious? Too simplistic? I love knowing what you think.
(photo credit: USDAgov)