Monthly Archives: July 2009

Using Social Networks for Marketing

I have been working in Marketing and Development (fund-raising) for many years and have always been aware of how the mindset of the two disciplines differs. Marketing, and to some degree low-end fund raising, tends to be about being in-your-face. Keep on asking, stay front and centre all the time, sometimes even bombard people with materials with the thought that it can’t do any harm.
High end fund-raising is different. There is a term “moves management” which refers to the careful management of the relationship with the prospect. Sometimes years can be spent cultivating and stewarding a donor without any guarantee that there will be a payoff. But sometimes it can pay off very handsomely indeed, with a multi-million dollar gift or bequest.
It has recently occurred to me that the use of social networks by marketing has a lot in common with moves management and perhaps marketers could learn something from fund-raisers.
It is very difficult to measure the success of Twitter or Facebook unless there are direct click-throughs to you web-pages that can be measured on Google Analytics. But if all you are doing is posting links to you website and doing in-your-face marketing there is a good chance that you will be blocked or ignored on Twitter and Facebook and who is going to subscribe to your blog unless you have something really interesting to say or are offereing discounts every week?
In Development we offer many value-added experiences to our lower end donors, always trying to educate our donors or bring them closer to us. We want them to understand more about us and feel part of the family. The more engaged they feel the more that they (some of them at least, the ones who can afford it) want to support us in any way they can. It is sometimes very hard to justify the cost of these events to Management because they often don’t result in an immediate donation or upgrade.
I think that companies that want to use social media for marketing need to learn some of these same lessons. Don’t look for an immediate sale; build relationships, build trust, engage and educate your customers, give them something that interests them and keep them coming back for more. The payout is down the road but it will come, just keep managing the moves.

Secret Knowledge

I am currently rereading David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge. The premise of the book is that painters have been familiar with the use of optical aids since at least the early 15th century and possibly as early as the second. As Mr. Hockney points out, it is only in the last few years that improvements in art reproduction, and internet access to high resolution images of the great collections, have made his research possible. He created a wall of images arranged in a timeline that allowed him to see the startling trends and changes that took place.

Contrary to the accusations of his opponents he doesn’t suggest that all, or even most, artists were copying projected images. These critics hotly deny that the “Old Masters” would have needed any assistance and were more than capable of drawing realistically without optical aids but I don’t think that is his point. Although it is in fact perfectly possible (though darned difficult) to create photo-realistic images by eye alone, nobody actually did so until the Dutch introduced a startlingly different style of painting, quite suddenly, in the early 15th century.

Starting with van Eyck, the style of rendering, especially the human figure, but also still life, changed within a remarkably short span of years. It wouldn’t have been necessary for all artists to be using lenses and mirrors as artists have always learned by copying their masters. When the masters learned by copying a two dimensional projected image, a whole new style of drawing was born and this style would have been copied by those who came after.

His thesis fascinates me despite the fact that it is often dismissed as a crackpot theory and he is in fact vilified by some of his detractors. It is obviously a very emotional issue for some people who find it necessary to make highly personal attacks on Mr. Hockney in order to refute his theories. Actually I got the impression that some of his critics had not in fact read the book, or only skimmed it very superficially. This is unfortunate because it isn’t actually very long. I have always been attracted to controversial theories and I think that Mr. Hockney makes some excellent points. This book is definitely worth a read and it is so lushly illustrated that I felt the need to add it to my collection.