Know Your Target Audiences for Nonprofit Marketing Success (Case Study)

A huge part of what I love about guiding nonprofit communicators to greater impact is seeing the “aha moment.” I witnessed a great one last week while presenting the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop in Seattle last week, with Kivi Leroux Miller.

DD Coutts, Vice President of Development at Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation was among the terrific group of energized workshop participants. During the segment on getting to know your target audiences, DD had an “aha moment” that will make all the difference in her ability to connect effectively with the very folks who can help move the Foundation’s mission forward.

She had been identifying the Park’s visitor base — the ideal source for volunteers now and donors later — as families but realized, with our guidance, that this broad category didn’t give her the insight she needed to connect with them. There are just to many kinds of families, varying in size, interests, available time, motivation for using the park and other dimensions.

Here’s how DD moved forward to group (a.k.a. segment) her target audiences into three distinct groups that use the park:

  1. Families with young children
  2. Families with older children
  3. Immigrant families

This segmentation led to DD’s next insight — that each group uses the park in different ways. She named and described the segments as follows:

  1. Nibblers: Families with young children. Tend to stay on the periphery of the park and visit for brief periods.
  2. Explorers: Families with older children. Explore the complete park, spend more time there.
  3. Celebrators — Extended families, usually immigrants. Use the park as a gathering spot.

You see how much more useful these segments are, enabling DD to take the next step to profile a persona within each segment — an individual or two who epitomize the segment. Your personas show you what your primary audiences’ wants and habits are, so you know how to pinpoint where your organization’s wants overlap with them. That’s the sweet spot for marketing success!

Kudos to DD for going beyond the obvious!

P.S. Learn more on how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the Getting Attention Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz on June 23, 2011 in Audience Research | 0 comments
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