An Actionable Marketing Plan for Nonprofits in 8 Sentences

If your cause is small, marketing it can be tricky. But marketing legend Jay Conrad Levinson has some ideas for how you can create an easy-to-use marketing plan for even the thinnest budgets

Jay Conrad Levinson… who gave wings to the term ‘guerrilla marketing’… has written or co-written so many books on the topic of marketing that I couldn’t get an accurate count of his full bibliography. But it’s something north of 50 books. His deep experience is your gain; the two or three of his books that I’ve read are chockablock full of usable information and ideas for marketers.

For charity clients with tiny budgets I use a modified version of one of Levinson’s tried and true techniques; the ‘seven sentence marketing plan.’ You heard that right, a marketing plan in just 7 sentences!

Here they are, plus an eighth that is my own addition.
  1. The first sentence tells your purpose in marketing. The purpose has to be expressed in ways that are SMART: Sensible, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound.
  2. The second sentence lays out the competitive advantage you’ll emphasize. Even if you have multiple competitive advantages you can really only emphasize one.
  3. The third sentence explains who your target audience is. Even if you sell soap, your target market is not the whole world.
  4. The fourth sentence explains what marketing weapons you’ll use. Limit the list based on stuff you can afford, you can understand and you can use properly.
  5. The fifth sentence tells your niche in the market place. This is positioning against competitors. For instance, I’m a marketer, but my niche is subset of marketing called cause marketing.
  6. The sixth sentence tells your identity. Don’t misrepresent your identity. Customers will see through it and cease working with you.
  7. The seventh sentence expresses your marketing budget as a percentage of projected gross sales.
  8. My eighth sentence explains how you will position your business to maximize word of mouth and social media. Word of mouth has always been the most credible form of marketing. And free social media…, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al… is a perfect way to enable word of mouth.
There your are. An actionable marketing plan for even the smallest cause or nonprofit in just 8 sentences.