Our recent training for Support Cambridgeshire (and what it taught delegates about marketing strategy)

Keystone’s Hayley stood in front of a group of Cambridgeshire charities, not for profits and social enterprises on Thursday 23rd May, to host a ‘Marketing On A Shoestring’ session – and it brought to light more than delegates might have originally expected…

The Keystone tailored event ran for free courtesy of Support Cambridgeshire; the partnership between Hunts Forum, Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service and Cambridgeshire ACRE. This substantial initiative helps local community groups and organisations strengthen and grow, by providing a range of advice, training and support.

As always with a Keystone training session, we started with brief introductions and discussion to warm everyone up around the room – but this time with a difference. After running through the Keystone marketing checklist and rating themselves in each area, each representative was then asked to share something they felt their organisation/initiative was good at from a marketing perspective – but we asked them to share something not so good too.

And what was the one thing that came up time and time again in the ‘we could do better’ column as we went around the room? Marketing strategy. That all important road map to accomplish specific marketing objectives and to track and achieve greater results, for many – was missing.

The individuals in the room represented such valuable causes, had a clear purpose and brought huge amounts of passion and enthusiasm to the table which was great to see. However, with marketing to do lists as long as their arms, and limited time and budget, the missing marketing strategy piece was causing significant challenges. How do you know where to start when you haven’t clearly articulated where you want to get to?

And so, in the session, Hayley ran through a step by step guide to developing a marketing strategy – a realistic framework that could quickly and simply be created and implemented for each of the organisations in the room.

Concrete objectives, target audiences, messaging, desired action and measurement were all discussed as key components of a strategy…to be nailed down well before the development of a marketing plan. As Hayley said in the room, it’s about ‘Getting ready to aim before you fire’ – not just firing out marketing first.

It was only after reiterating the importance of a strategy and an associated plan that the Keystone session presented the tools, techniques and tactics for implementing shoestring marketing activity.

To raise awareness for a cause without spending a substantial amount of money can seem impossible – but our interactive exercise (where Post Its played a starring role) highlighted the significant number of both online and offline marketing activities that are accessible to each and every organisation in the room.

In need of support of your own? Marketing strategy development is a key part of Keystone’s portfolio, with dedicated workshops available for scaling B2B’s that wish to develop a marketing strategy to match their continuing growth, or for those organisations that want to strengthen relationships with their communities and stakeholders. Get in touch to find out more.