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I'm at the AMA Nonprofit Conference in Washington this week and the keynote speaker, Alan R. Andreasen, Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University, says that nonprofit and social marketers are potentially the BEST marketers because they have the toughest influence challenges. Now maybe you corporate marketers disagree, so read on..

Professor Andreasen, who also happens to consult in the social marketing arena, says that nonprofit and social marketing is "doubly hard because key challenges are often upstream." In fact, nonprofit marketers are often seen as second class citizens who can't hack it in the private sector.
They try to push feel good ideas and services. There's also a misperception that nonprofit marketers have little idea what tough competition is really like. What's worse is that, "Many nonprofits and government figures think of us as evil!" Yet, many nonprofits look a lot like the private sector. Examples: universities, hospitals, etc. which all have products, services, prices and revenue.
Social-sector marketing, adds Andreasen, "is a lot harder than economic sector marketing because the benefits are invisible and often far in the future." Benefits are mainly to third parties; organizations often work with tiny budgets compared to the challenges; and there's more public scrutiny than in the private sector.
So, what do you think? Can your company's marketing challenges compare to the ones that are overwhelming to solve? Is marketing soda, pet food or accounting services easier than trying to feed the world's hungry, stop global warming or house the homeless?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

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Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel