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Dear Betty: Back to School!

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By Dear Betty |September 19, 2014
MarketingStrategic Consulting

backpack Dear Betty: Fall always makes me think of back to school, school supplies, and learning new things. What do I need to add to my marketing backpack for success this fall?

Gentle Reader:

There’s nothing like that first hint of coolness in the breeze, that first crisp night, and those first few falling leaves to put one in mind of new Trapper Keepers, knee socks, and cutting up paper bags to cover one’s books, is there?

Fall is also a time for association professionals to refocus after summer’s vacations and altered work schedules. No time like the present to tune up your marketing skills and learn new things!

This was actually a recent topic on ASAE’s member-only Collaborate site (login required) as well, with members sharing their favorite resources for marketing wisdom and inspiration.

Some of mine include:


HubsPotHubspot is an inbound marketing software firm. What is inbound marketing? According to Wikipedia:

Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand….Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospect’s attention.

And Hubspot offers a marketing automation platform that helps with all of that. But they also “drink their own champagne” so to speak, demonstrating excellent inbound marketing themselves via their Slideshare account and blog that provide a plethora of free information and resources to make your marketing efforts more effective.

One of my favorite recent resources they’ve shared is an infographic on the evolution of consumer buying practices.

John Haydon

Effective social media marketing is hard. You don’t want to be like that bore at the party who can only talk about himself (which is what constantly bombarding people with marketing messages sounds like). And Facebook changes their rules seemingly every week, after we’ve all already put all kinds of effort into building our followings there. How do you keep up?

John Haydon can help. He’s an expert in helping nonprofits increase engagement, raise money, and be more authentically social who is also extremely generous with the free resources. He offers an information-packed weekly enewsletter, an excellent and frequently updated blog, and regular free webinars and classes.

One of my favorite recent resources he’s shared is a free class (registration required) on using Facebook ads effectively.

“Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!”

Andy Sernovitz is kind of the king of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing. WOM is the best kind of marketing you can get, where people who love your association and what it does tell their peers and colleagues how great you are and how important it is for them to participate.

Andy also offers a number of free resources through and, but my favorite thing he offers is a free weekly enewsletter titled “Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That” that shares interesting and inspiring stories of WOM at work. Not all of his examples are applicable in the association space, as many of them come from consumer brands and/or firms with extremely large budgets, but they are always entertaining and make you think about ways your association could be more creative about finding and engaging the people who love you.

What about you, Gentle Readers? What are your favorite resources for marketing knowledge, ideas, and inspiration?

Dear Betty
Dear Betty: Back to School!

“Dear Betty” is the association advice columnist alter-ego of Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, CEO and Chief Strategist of Spark Consulting LLC. Elizabeth has over sixteen years of experience helping associations grow, in membership, marketing, communications, public presence, and especially revenue, which is what Spark is all about. She speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics in association management. When she's not helping associations grow, Elizabeth loves to dance, listen to live music, cook, garden, and blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.

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