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Marketing Mix is an essential tool of a Marketing Plan that helps businesses to place in the market, the right product, in the right place, at the right price and do the right promotion.
You can apply it before the creation of any type of strategy in the NGO you are working with. It helps you position the organization in its context and to define where and when it offers its unique services to the different stakeholders.
In order to do the parallel to the NGO environment, I’ll use the 7Ps Marketing Mix, that is know to be better suited to service industries.
The 7Ps Marketing Mix for NGOs:
- PRODUCT, in the case of an NGO, is equivalent to the ‘benefits’ provided to the target group. In other words, it can be the cause it supports, or the core program/project it is developing. What is important for you here is to understand what the beneficiaries really need. Using marketing jargon – to create a working ‘product or service’ that fits the task ‘consumers’ want it for. I suggest you to study the models adopted by other NGOs that work in the same field. This way you can have a clear understanding of what differentiates your NGO and what is your unique offer to the beneficiaries.
- PRICE would be the funds necessary to implement programs and carry out projects AND the personal cost needed (time, political positioning, …) to support your cause.
- The FUNDS are usually met with the help of donations, association fees, sells, … In case of corporate donors, you can project these costs as an ‘investment’. Since the company has potential gains, like Social Return on Investment (aka SROI). Also remember that they usually are happy to pay a little more for something that is a good investment or that works really well for them – in other words, good value for money.
- The PERSONAL COST it is not up to your NGO to define and it can be very subjective inside the same target group. On the other hand, you gain by understanding effort needed for an activist or a volunteer to support your cause, or even for a beneficiary to accept your help. Is it low enough for them to engage with your NGO? Is it necessary to compensate them somehow or to rethink how and what is being offered?
- PLACE implies the easiest access to the product for the consumer. To your NGO this means to have into account the location of the donors and also the needs on the ground (the beneficiaries). Although the last point is the foremost criteria, it is always good to have in mind that, for example, corporate donors tend to invest in a project that is near to them. Not only because of obvious cause relevance, but also for monitoring and engaging with the employees.
- PROMOTION refers to all key communication tools that you use to provide information, about a product or service, to the different stakeholders (whether it is informative or it appeals to their emotions). These include: Advertising, Sales Promotion, Public Relations, Personal Selling and Social Media. In your NGO this is might be represented by the promotional and communication material used in Social Media, in the Website, in Blogs and also with In-person Events (like fundraising events).
- PHYSICAL EVIDENCE includes the way a company reassures its customers when selling an intangible service. In the case of your NGO this extends in giving your donors a ‘physical evidence’ of the use of their money. By doing this, you will improve the chances of more donations.
- PROCESS is the way in which a service is delivered to the customer. In your case, this could mean very different things, depending on what stakeholder you want to focus (donors, beneficiaries, …). One important thing to have in mind here is the consistence of your message. The way the process is done reflects your NGO’s organization and it’s standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
- PEOPLE that work in a service are also part of it – they add or subtract value to the service. Assuming your NGO’s work is largely based in the help of volunteers and other supporters, you need be careful how you choose and manage them. Choosing well and investing time on them will certainly add value to what you are ‘selling’. Not only because it’s reflected on the product or service it self, but because it also improves the way the customer (donors, beneficiaries, …) perceive it.
Questions to help you create your 7Ps Marketing Mix for NGOs
- Product: What your beneficiaries/donors want from your cause/project? What needs does it satisfy? Does your cause/project meet those needs? How does it differentiates from other NGO and company offers?
- Price: How valuable is your cause or project to the beneficiaries? And to the donors (SROI)? Is there any personal cost perceived by the beneficiaries? Is it lower than it’s value? How much funding can you ask to the donors? Does it cover the project expenses? How can you increase the perceived SROI, in order to increase the funding?
- Place: Where your stakeholders find you or your project? Does that place fit your stakeholders profile? How can you access the right distribution channels? What are other NGOs and companies, that have a similar offer, doing? What can you learn from that, to collaborate or differentiate?
- Promotion: In what stage of the “buyer journey” are your different stakeholders? What will you communicate with them in the different stages? When and where will you reach them? How will you deliver each message?
- Physical Evidence: How can you make your donor’s contribution more tangible? A video, a letter signed by the beneficiary, … How can you use it to increase the SROI, and therefore increase the donation?
- Process: In what ways can you improve your NGO standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency? Is your message consistent with the way you act internally and externally?
- People: How can you better choose the people that work in your NGO? How can you improve their performance?