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The Role of Marketing in the Social Sector


Framing the conversation and setting the context

Lawrence Jackson

Friday 2 August 2013

Who am I to talk?


  • Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) UNSW

  • Direct Marketing Certificate (ADMA)

  • Executive MBA (AGSM)

  • Adjunct Member of Faculty, AGSM (Marketing Principles)


  • Royal Blind Society

  • Benevolent Society

  • NSW Jewish Communal Appeal

  • University of Sydney

  • Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

Consulting: 20 + organisations since 2006

Broadening the concept of marketing

Marketing is a pervasive societal activity that goes considerably beyond the selling of toothpaste, soap and steel. Political contests remind us that candidates are marketed as well as soap. Student recruitment in college reminds us that higher education is marketed; and fundraising reminds us that “causes’ are marketed...[Yet no] attempt is made to examine whether the principles of “good” marketing in traditional product areas are transferable to the marketing of services, products and ideas.

Kotler & Levy

“Broadening the Concept of Marketing”, Journal of Marketing 1969

Marketing causes

Marketing ideas

Who owns the "Occupy Wall Street" brand?

Marketing Obama

Marketing for God

Hillsong – Australia’s most powerful brand

Hillsong is a multi-million dollar global brand with a massive following, particularly among the young.

What can marketers learn from this fast-growing faith factory as it turns 30, asks Robin Hicks,

mumBRELLA, July 23, 2012

Or the "Anti-God"!

The need for "NFP Marketing"

Marketing: The last business function to arrive on the "NFP scene"

As long as institutions have operated in a sellers’ market , marketing was ignored. But as customers and/or resources grew scarce, the word ‘marketing’ was heard with increasing frequency, and organisations suddenly discovered marketing or a reasonable facsimile thereof

Philip Kotler, Strategies for Introducing Marketing into NonProfit Organisations

Journal of Marketing, Jan 1979

Myths and misconceptions about marketing

  • Many myths and misconceptions about marketing exists

  • Many people still believing that marketing is only used when there is a need to sell things to people which they do not really want or need.

  • Notion that marketing is only relevant in “for profit” situations

  • Therefore; Not-for-Profit marketing irrelevant by definition ?

What exactly is "marketing"?

  • Marketing is NOT only selling and advertising

  • Simply: “a process for facilitating exchange”

Traditional Definition

A social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others

Marketing, page 6

Kotler, Armstrong, Brown, Adam and Chandler

The NFP marketing dilemma...

~ Mission vs Resource Marketing

  • The FOR Profit sector is crystal clear.

Profit is the motive

The customer is King

  • The NOT for Profit Sector is ambiguous

A response to market failure

Two levels of customer

The person who receives the service does not pay for the service

Product has a dual component and operates on a double carriageway

  • How do you resource/structure for this?

Detecting an organisation centred orientation

  1. The organisations core offering is seen as inherently desirable

  2. Lack of success attributed to customer ignorance, lack of motivation etc

  3. A minor role afforded to customer research

  4. Marketing defined primarily as promotion

  5. One “best” marketing strategy typically employed in approaching the market

  6. Generic competition tends to be ignored

NFP marketing study undertaken by Akchin (2001)

  • Highlighted that

  • NFP Organisations tended to perform one or two core marketing function

  • Instead of wholesale adoption of marketing philosophy.

  • When asked about the needs for “marketing” the most cited were fundraising, event planning, public relations strategy, media relations, marketing strategy, and publications.

  • When asked to rank various marketing related responsibilities, marketing strategy was only rated as the top choice by 10 % of the participants,

  • 53 % chose fundraising as their top priority.

  • In terms of skills sought, NFP managers indicated high ratings on ability to write press releases, produce publications, and write grant applications

  • Low interest in learning more about their “market” through formal market research techniques such as focus groups and surveys.

"Marketing in non-profit organisations: an international perspective": 2009 by Sara Dolnicar & Katie Lazarevski

Study, involving a sample of 136 responders from the UK, USA and Australia and published in 2009 revealed that;

  • Non-profit managers indicated the most important marketing activities are promotional in nature

  • The importance of marketing research and strategic marketing was acknowledged by only a small proportion of not profits

  • Only one fifth of marketing staff were formally marketing trained.

  • Non-profit organisations in the UK, USA and Australia did not differ substantially in their use of marketing

Competition in the NFP sector

In 2010, the Productivity Commission estimated that there were roughly 600 000 not-for-profits in Australia.

  • 160 000 have a formal legal structure

  • 440 000 are small organisations (unincorporated associations) .

  • 56 000 are endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to receive charity tax concessions.

  • 23 370 have been endorsed by the ATO as DGRs

The NDIS as a catalyst for change

  • The evolution of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the launch of Disability Services Australia (DSA) is likely to be a major catalyst for change in the way the disability sector operates and uses marketing.

  • It is acknowledged that the shift to a “person centred funding model” will put choice and hence market power in the hands of the client or dare I say, the customer, in a way that has not occurred before. This in turn is likely to lead to a major shakeup of the NFP Sector challenging them to market and promote themselves in a way they never have had to do before.

  • Whether organisations realise it or not, they will be turning to the function of marketing to help them refine their mission and develop a client / customer centred mindset.

All NFPs use marketing whether they know it or not

  • As Kotler noted in1979, all non profit organisations “do marketing” whether the realise it or not.

  • The example, he refers to a College as an example and points out that they search for prospective customers (students), develop new products (courses), price them (set tuition and fees), distribute them (set schedule for time and place) and promote them (college marketing collateral).

The dual purpose dilemma?

  • Managing the marketing to 2 layers of customers

  • What is the nexus between services and funding ?

  • How do you resource/structure for this?

The "dual carriageway" model

Guest Speaker Panel

  • Michele Goldman, CEO, Asthma Foundation

  • John Moore, Director, Excalibre Insights

  • Daniella Dickson, Director, Risk, PwC

  • Craig Thomson, Director RIDBC

  • Kerry Stubbs, CEO, Northcott

  • Carol Ireland, CEO, Epilepsy Action Australia

Case study: Education sector marketing (Advancement)

  • Advancement is a strategic, integrated method of managing relationships to increase understanding and support among an educational institution's key constituents, including alumni and friends, government policy makers, the media, members of the community and philanthropic entities of all types.

  • The primary core disciplines of educational advancement are alumni relations, communications, marketing and fundraising.


Thank you / Contacts

Lawrence Jackson

Director of Development

Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

(02) 9872 0333

Catalyst Management / Philanthrocrat

0438 602 357

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