A friend just shared this video from Charity: Water. I thought it was a terrific use of digital media and story structure to convey a message. I also thought it was worth sharing.
As part of my new emphasis in marketing communications, I’ve contracted with a number of organizations/companies to build, or better position, their web presence. I soon realized the “shoemaker’s children were going barefoot” and decided to repackage my own website. Between the work on my own site and the other projects, I learned some lessons along the way.
1. The website framework clarifies your vision. The website framing makes you consider, clarify, and articulate to the best of your ability your vision. This is challenging, but also provides additional strategic planning value to you and your organization.
2. Focus on your target market. The fact that communication via your page is with anyone in the world makes you change your voice and messaging to anyone in the world. The key is to remain focused on your target market, and make sure your message resonates with this audience.
3. A content management system is key. All of the websites, I’ve recently developed are built on a WordPress platform. My old site was not. This new framework allows me to easily edit the content on each page and create new content as my work evolves. In today’s digital world, content is king and the ability to modify this content is recommended.
4. Content is king. The website is frequently your first “touchpoint” with a potential customer, donor, stakeholder, etc. Developing content on this site via the blog also allows for a richer customer service experience. Creating this content on these specific topics also increases your search rankings.
5. Choose your channels. As I disclosed previously, I use multiple digital media channels. Most of the channels are for listening, and only a few are for sharing. It’s easy to use too many channels for sharing. It’s better to use a couple effectively, than several poorly.
One of the many benefits of water markets is their ability to rapidly adapt to changes on short notice. Enter the Colorado Water Trust (CWT) and their implementation of “REQUEST FOR WATER 2012.” Faced with a 38% of average snowpack, this Denver-based nonprofit is actively pursuing short-term instream flow leases in priority basins. I’m obviously a fan of this market response to an anticipated water challenge and had the chance to ask CWT Executive Director, Amy Beatie, a couple of quick questions. Questions and answers are as follows:
1. It appears the Engineer must approve each loan, do you know how long this approval process will take? THE STATUTE DOESN’T PROVIDE TIMEFRAMES FOR SOME ACTIONS, SO WE DON’T EXACTLY KNOW. WE HAVE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH THE STATE ON THIS, THEY KNOW LEASES ARE COMING, AND THEY KNOW, AND APPRECIATE, THAT THE IDEA IS TO GET WATER QUICKLY INTO RIVERS. SO, WHILE THERE ARE NO DEADLINES, THEY ARE PREPARED TO MOVE FAST AND SO ARE WE.
2. At 38%snowpack how will CWT ensure they are targeting water rights that won’t be called by senior users? WE’VE ASKED IN THE INITIAL OFFER FORM FOR THE WATER USER TO LET US KNOW IF THEY HAD WATER AVAILABLE IN 2002. THAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR US TO DETERMINE WITHOUT MORE ANALYSIS IF THE WATER RIGHT WILL HAVE WATER AVAILABLE THIS YEAR. IF WE HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT AN OFFERED WATER RIGHT’S RELIABILITY, WE HAVE ALSO BUILT A TEAM OF TECHNICAL EXPERTS (CONTRACTORS AND VOLUNTEER ENGINEERS AND HYDROLOGISTS) TO HELP US PROCESS THE OFFERS, SO THAT WE DON’T LEASE “PAPER WATER.” THEY ARE ALL ON CALL FOR TWO WEEKS STARTING ON MONDAY, MAY 14 RIGHT AFTER THE INITIAL OFFER FORM SUBMISSION DEADLINE TO HELP US PROCESS THE TECHNICAL ELEMENTS OF THE OFFERS FOR LEASES.
3. What is the ultimate goal for this request in CFS or AF? NONE. WE ARE STILL RAISING THE MONEY SO WE WILL LEASE AS MUCH WATER AS WE HAVE MONEY TO, AS LONG AS THE WATER OFFERED MEETS THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS. BEFORE WE PUT OUR REQUEST FOR WATER OUT, WE THOUGHT MAYBE TWO OR THREE LEASES WOULD BE A SUCCESS. WE’RE THERE ALREADY SO WE WOULD CONSIDER THIS A SUCCESS NOW IF WE COULD, SAY, ENTER INTO ONE IN EVERY BASIN? WE DON’T KNOW. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’VE DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS. MAYBE THE NEXT TIME WE’LL HAVE A GOAL. WE JUST WANT THE PROGRAM TO BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS POSSIBLE THIS SUMMER.
The Back 40 recently asked for me to share some marketing communications framework for water. I happily received this invitation and thought the most logical starting point was the beginning. LISTEN. Here’s a link to the full article.
Enjoy. And, please feel free to provide any insight or feedback.
As a side, I have to give thanks to Seth Godin who has shaped much of my passion for marketing and thought process through his work and wisdom. If he writes it, I read it.
As you may or may not have noticed, I’m on a “marketing communications” kick. Continuing with this theme, I’d like to share a new thread from the Ecosytem Commons’ Soap Box: Good one! Communicating Ecosystem Services. I posted a comment and wanted to take the time to encourage others to do so. Here were my initial thoughts:
I enjoyed the examples above. Effectivley communicating these efforts is obviously a challenge. Not only are ecosystems complex, the means to measure and navigate regulatory frameworks further the confusion associated with these emerging markets.
Using an example close to home, I think Big Sky Brewing Company did a good job communicating their purchase of Water Restoration Certificates. The complexity of this transaction is endless: water right source switching, change applications, lease agreements, credit registry, monitoring, etc. Rather than getting bogged down in the details, Big Sky Brewing told a simple story: water makes Montana… Montana and we’re putting water back where it matters most.
Thanks again for starting this discussion. I believe “marketing communications” is overlooked and vital for the success fo these markets.