I believe that non profits, by the nature of what we “sell,” should align our strategies with the brand building game, not the direct marketing game. Why?

Here’s what Roy H. Williams had to say about the difference. (And here’s a link to the whole post):

“Direct response marketers usually sell products that have a short purchase cycle. They want us to make an impulse purchase. This is why the return-on-investment for direct response ads can be measured accurately and immediately.

But not everything can be sold that way.

Brand builders are companies whose products or services have a long purchase cycle. The goal of a brand builder is to be the provider you think of immediately and feel the best about when you finally need what they sell. It takes courage, confidence and patience but it works better and better the longer you invest in it.

The essence of brand building is emotional bonding.

Direct response marketing, on the other hand, is typically intellectual. Features and benefits and added value, ‘But wait! Order now and you’ll also receive…’ It is that world of product demonstrations and money-back guarantees, limited-time offers and upsell incentives.

Direct response ads don’t work better and better as time goes by. They work less and less well until you finally have to come up with something altogether new and different.”