Are you too high-class for marketing?

“What we do isn’t really marketing.” I hear that a lot when I work with non-profits and higher education. Charitable organizations do “outreach.” Some organizations do “patient awareness.” The problem is that they still need to fill seats or beds or donation boxes. You might not want to call it marketing–call it whatever you want–but there is something that you need people to do so that your organization keeps going. There is something that you need to persuade people to do that they might not do without your little nudge, no matter what you want to call it.

I have done a lot of work in higher education and this is a common mistake. They don’t like to think of what they do as marketing–it is some kind of higher calling–except, they must attract students who are the customers.

English: Simmons College Main Campus Building ...
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Even if you don’t want to admit that what you do is marketing, maybe you could at least bring yourself to learn from those who actually call what they do marketing. You need to understand your target markets, craft messages that they respond to, and track how they respond, all the way to a conversion–no matter what that conversion happens to be. Put together your Web conversion cycle: Learn about the school, make an appointment to visit, complete the visit, research the application, apply to the school, get accepted, decide to attend.

You might not be a school, but every non-profit organization wants people to do something, and they need to follow direct marketing principles to spend as little money getting people to do it as possible. That’s how they spend more on their higher calling.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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