Chairman's Perspective

Strategic and Tactical Marketing Implications
For Both For-profit and Nonprofit Entities

By John Greco
My philosophy regarding overall business strategy as well as marketing strategy and tactics, in both good times and in bad, has always included three key guiding principles:
1. Staying focused on what we can control and minimizing the risk of what we cannot, which requires seeking constant clarity regarding two questions, i.e.,
a. What do we know?
b. What don’t we know?
2. Having faith in what I call the 3R’s of marketing: Relevance and Responsibility usually drives positive Results!
3. A disciplined understanding that just because you can does not mean you should.
In these extraordinary and unprecedented times, I am struck by the following analogy.
The global, national, and local healthcare system(s) had many flaws (some very visible and many invisible) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which as a result of the pandemic were brought to the surface, accentuated, stressed, and in some cases addressed and improved.  
Similarly, for a wide range of businesses as well as nonprofit organizations their overall marketing process had many flaws before the crisis (also with some very visible and many invisible).
  • Leadership teams disconnected from each other on vision/purpose, and roles
  • Marketing not looked to for leadership in the development of overall business/organization strategy
  • Marketing execution fragmented and disconnected
  • Billions spent in silos (channels and technologies) without sufficient integration or accountability 
However, unlike the healthcare system, which was woefully unprepared in many ways and initially (until the impact of Operation Warp Speed along with that of other unprecedented initiatives was seen) had neither a vaccine nor sufficent PPE, respirators, ventilators, hopsital beds, or other critical supplies), the marketing community generally has at its disposal much if not all of what it needs to get the job done, even in terribly challenging times, if everyone involved applies common sense and if leadership at all levels steps up and pulls it all together.
In fact, addressing the challenges and critical gaps in the marketing process was the catalyst for the Council. However, never before has the question that we try to help answer been more important. If you had one more dollar to invest, how would you do so to get the greatest sustainable impact on your brand? 
Here are a few thoughts to help you answer that question, from both a strategic and tactical/execution perspective in a COVID-19 impacted world.
Adapt your value proposition and reposition it to be helpful, not self-serving.
  • Listen to your audiences. Research and obtain feedback from all sources.
    • External and internal and do not encourage “claques”
    • Don’t drink your own Kool-Aid. Ask colleagues that you trust for their honest opinions and be totally open to seeing your value proposition objectively through the eyes of a third party.
      • Is the overall vision and purpose of your enterprise still immediately relevant?
        • If yes, how do you break through the clutter?
        • If no, how can you adapt?
  • Segmentation is more important than ever.
    • Is it the same value proposition for base protection vs. prospects?
    • Brush up immediately on Maslow's needs hierarchy. Make sure that you are realistic about where your value proposition falls on that pyramid and set your strategies and expectations accordingly.
Adapt messaging associated with all customer, donor, or prospect touch points.
  • Your messages are all always a reflection of your brand. However now more than ever, their tone must reflect trust, transparency, and utility.  And they should be unifying, bipartisan, and apolitical. 
  • Avoid pushing agendas, unless you are a nonprofit specifically chartered and funded for the purpose of advocacy and shaping public policy.  
  • Adapting your messaging during and coming out of this crisis does NOT simply mean adding an opening or closing sentence to your standard messaging, which says that “we are all in this together.” Look beyond trite wrappers to the core of the message content and be sensitive to you audience’s position.
  • Establish clarity among your team regarding how you will measure the success of your messaging. Is it current sales or overall brand perception, which may have sustainable impact but not on the current bottom line, or is it both?
  • Be channel agnostic, technology neutral, and data driven. Invest where your audiences can currently be found. Today, there is more interest than normal in news and virtual entertainment, so shift resources accordingly.
Let our VALUE EQUATION pneumonic be your north star. Use it for guidance and recalibration every single day to ensure that you are leveraging Vision, Alignment, Leadership, Understanding, and Execution as the essential drivers in creating maximum value for all stakeholders, whether they are your customers, donors, suppliers, employees, or shareholders. While certainly important in good times, embracing the VALUE EQUATION™ is absolutely essential when managing through any point of a crisis such as COVID-19 and in its aftermath.
Please check our events calendar and blog regularly for updates regarding webinars and additional information related to this topic as well as other Council support that is available. And please let us know how the Council can be of additional assistance. Just send us an email at
Wishing you all the best today and every day as we move forward.

Let’s make an IMPACT together.

The VALUE Equation™



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