Marketing Plan is Doomed Relying On Social Media Alone

Social media is amazing, creative, fast, targeted and all the good things you want with any part of a comprehensive marketing plan. However, be very careful not to be seduced by a social media pitch as a panacea for all that ails your position in the market. If you want an effective marketing plan beware of the fast-paced, razzle-dazzle, audio-visual presentation featuring the major, and some far from major, social media blitzkrieg.

Marketing is most effective when it includes a comprehensive approach starting with research specific to the intended outcome of the plan. Know what you are seeking to achieve. Conduct a situational audit that includes the internal environment and its ability to manage new business, your capacity for response and growth management and organizational readiness to carry out the plan. An external audit is crucial to understand competitive forces, psycho-social purchasing behaviors of your targeted market, emerging trends that could fade you out and the overall strength of the economy. Remember bell-bottom jeans, beanie-babies, and K-cars? Know the external environment and that of your industry.

Avoid the impulsive agency practicing the READY-SHOOT-AIM approach on your dime and time. Instead, hire the marketing firm that knows your industry very well, such as Success Stories, Inc. in New York. All they do is healthcare with some not-for-profit and life science company work, too. I recommend a medical practice, senior living/senior care, urgent care, hospital systems, behavioral health provider and even a medical school stay away from advertising agencies that have tire, auto, shopping mall, gas stations, grocery stores, and attorneys as their prime clients. Why? Wouldn’t a mix of different clients be good? It would be great for the firm, but not for you as the assigned representative will learn your healthcare specialty on your clock!

A good marketing plan, based on audits, research and focus groups, is a comprehensive plan that utilizes all meaningful marketing tools. Too often, marketing is misrepresented. One might use advertising and marketing as interchangeable or public relations as marketing, or sales as the marketing plan.

Marketing is the all-inclusive, umbrella term that embraces sales, advertising, public relations, promotions, media relations, research and social media – the marketing mix.

I was invited by a developmentally disabled services company in the region to respond to an Request for a Proposal (RFP) for a comprehensive marketing plan. Truthfully, they desperately needed one. There are two clear leaders in the field with well-known names, great locations, signage, messaging, and rock-solid programming. They are the go-to providers. The RFP came from #3 in the market as determined by budget size and number of employees. Amongst several firms, my day came to present my proposal. It was a SoVeryBuffalo™ kind of day. The entrance was covered with snow, cigarette butts, slippery ice spots and an outside buzzer. I’m a rugged sort of fellow so I was fine, but I was forming impressions with each step. I gave a professional and thorough presentation, including that I have 35+ years in behavioral health with a list of VIP clients: DENT Neurologic Institute, Catholic Health, UBMD, UB Dental School, BryLin Hospitals, Rochester IPA, Fidelis, American Psychiatric Systems, maxIT, Excelsior Orthopaedics, Barnabas Health Systems along with three local references.

Weeks went by after my “thank you for the opportunity” letter with a P.S. that said, “I’m confident we will work very well together and achieve more than you expect.

No response. Call. No response. Sent a slightly funny email. No response. Finally spoke to an insider I know. She said, “Oh yeah, they went with a really cool and funny young group of people who just started a social media company. Someone didn’t call you?” Nope. No call. No letter. No business. They put all their marketing eggs in a social media investment.

Sad for me. Perplexed by their choice. I was told the new CEO thought they were cute and very modern.

The lesson of the story is, if you really want a marketing plan, don’t hire just a social media firm. It won’t work.

Two years later…they are still #3.

by Thomas P. McNulty

McNulty is a professor at Hilbert College where he teaches in the Masters of Public Administration program. He teaches Financial Resource Development and Marketing for Not For Profits-Healthcare Track. He has been consulting for healthcare, life science, not for profits and start-up companies since 1990. He’s held senior executive positions in managed care, hospitals, behavioral health, employee assistance programs and is a public presenter on a variety of healthcare management topics. He created Spotlight on Hope, Inc. – a 501 c 3 in 2005.



McNulty's Spotlight on Health

After 16 years, starting at CBS Radio, WECK-AM, JOY-FM and MIX 96, I am no longer at Townsquare Media and the switch for Spotlight on Health – a show I did there for 12 years- has been shut off. My sponsors covered the cost of the air time and a few ads we ran in local healthcare oriented newspapers around town. I was blessed by wonderful sponsors, some for all 12 years: DENT Neurologic Institute, Mercy Hospital, LifeCell Dx, Success Stories, Inc. and others: Hospice of Buffalo, UNYTS, People, Inc. Over that time period, I never took a dime for my time on air. For me, it was far more important to highlight critical health issues and feature local experts. The intended outcome was to secure current and accurate health, medical and behavioral health information from local experts. The show was produced by my not for profit, Spotlight on…

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LifeCell Dx Debunks Top 10 Myths About Male Infertility

Infertility is mostly a problem for the woman to manage and figure out. Is that a myth? Total fabrications, prejudice, sexism, denial, male insecurity and a cultural norm pushing infertility as a female dysfunction — these are all embedded in young couples’ minds. Such perceptions can lead to expensive, inappropriate, and failed treatment choices for the man and woman . This is the daily challenge standing before Dr. Lani Burkman, the founder, andrologist and chief science officer for LifeCell Dx. Dr. Burkman works hard to change and redirect consumer thinking. LifeCell Dx is an e-diagnostic, male infertility laboratory, with a patented approach for serving infertile couples from all over the world. LifeCell Dx uses digital video files of his sperm that are sent through the Internet to the central lab in Buffalo, NY. “It is not the couples’ fault, since detailed information surrounding the sperm fertility issue is not readily available. It’s similar to the telephone game; by the time the message gets to you, it is fragmented and misleading as it passes from person to person. We acknowledge their frustrations during the personal consultation time and begin by giving them the straight answers they are seeking,” stated Dr. Burkman.

Dr. Burkman does not let her international reputation get in the way of personal time with each patient. Although she is highly experienced with human sperm and egg problems, has developed fertility tests, and made presentations in 7 countries, her first conversation with the male patient or the couple involves simple photos and education. “First, we talk about what goes wrong with sperm and eggs, and how fertilization may be blocked,” she explained. “Educating them beyond the myths, falsehoods and bad information, that is our focus. Spending time answering their questions. We use photos, brief videos of swimming sperm, and a quick look into the microscope to see their own sperm. They love it.” One-on-one, these patients will get the facts; understand lifestyle behaviors (nicotine and marijuana both hit the ability of sperm to attach to the egg), negative work conditions that affect their fertility, plus overall health and nutrition. Dr. Burkman speaks about the following common Top 10 Myths:

1.) Infertility is primarily a female problem.

In fact, infertility is an equally shared gender issue – about 50% of all infertile couples seeking help may have a hidden sperm problem. The informed couple will start their search by asking for an Advanced Semen Analysis. Half of the time, erroneous interpretation of a basic report will take the couple down the wrong path.

2.) You seem to be fine. You have plenty of sperm and they are swimming.   After a Basic Semen Analysis, too many men hear these words. A Basic Semen Analysis cannot tell you whether the sperm are working correctly. The Advanced Semen Analysis at LifeCell Dx, or its affiliated clinics, provides physicians and patients with careful basic numbers as well as answers to critical questions: are the sperm behaving like fertile sperm? Is your nicotine exposure, marijuana use, or medication affecting the sperm? Can simple changes improve the sperm quality? Will special steps in a second lab visit improve your fertility chances?

  1. I don’t need to see a Urologist. That won’t help us get pregnant.  If it has been a struggle to get pregnant, then a Urologist should evaluate every man. For pregnancy, the man is 50% of the equation! The male should have a thorough physical exam by a Urologist to check for any abnormalities – sometimes this visit actually saves their life! Half of the men out there resist seeing a Urologist because of shyness, manly pride or a belief that only the woman has a problem. Let’s be fair! An infertile woman may visit the doctor 20 times!!
  2. Of course my doctors know all about this stuff; I don’t need to do any reading.    Your doctors want to help, but many of them have had no training related to sperm or infertility. Often, they refer too quickly to IVF clinics (in vitro fertilization) or talk about donor sperm. Patients need to ask their doctor about getting Advanced Semen Analysis first. This report will answer the question, “Are my sperm fertile?” The detailed sperm explanation will guide you and your doctor to a logical treatment path.
  3. My sperm count is low; I guess I will not have a biological child. Not true. There are several ways to improve the situation. A Basic Semen Analysis may show a “lower sperm count” and your doctor might state that your chances are slim. First, try each of these options: always have a second semen analysis done by a different lab; search for a lab that performs Advanced Semen Analysis; use longer abstinence for the second test; visit for more choices to improve semen quality.
  4. We should have intercourse twice a day right around ovulation. Not true. Quite a few men have moderate to lower sperm counts. This could be due to too many ejaculations on a daily basis, including masturbation. Each person is different about the number of sperm produced every day by the testes, and the fluids produced by the prostate and other glands. Too much is too few — not enough sperm in each ejaculation. You might consider sex once a day: on the day before expected ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after expected ovulation.
  5. I have a lot of stress in my life, but that should not affect having a pregnancy. The best recommendation is to de-stress your life, as much as you can, when you are both worried about having a baby. This includes the man and the woman. Stretching, breathing, some exercise, watching my weight, getting help with my stress – these are good recipes for fertility.
  6. Detailed sperm testing is so expensive.  What is truly expensive is having a failed IUI treatment or failed IVF procedure. Or maybe 3 failed IUI treatments? Advanced Semen Analysis will cost about $ 400, compared to $ 10,000 for the failed IVF. This often happens because the Basic Semen Analysis led you to believe, “the sperm are fine.”
  7. Nicotine and marijuana don’t affect sperm that much. For many men, using marijuana and/or nicotine has a negative effect on semen quality and fertilizing ability. Search on the web, do your reading, and ask your doctors for help in quitting nicotine or marijuana use.
  8. I live far away from LifeCell Dx, so I guess I have to use the labs in my local area. LifeCell Dx is a unique sperm diagnostic company. Ask whether a newly trained Advanced clinic is showing up in your area. Ask whether your doctor wants to provide this Advanced service in your town. Dr. Burkman’s unique patent allows for remote digital testing. Any patient is invited to visit the central LifeCell Dx lab in Buffalo, NY. Make Niagara Falls your mini-vacation during the visit.

“Don’t give up based on the words that you heard, or your Basic Semen Analysis results. Most couples start the conversation with an OB/GYN or primary care doctor, and men can learn from their urologist. So ask questions and find out about Advanced Semen Analysis. We are happy to have you call us directly,” stated Dr. Burkman. Dr. Burkman takes personal and confidential calls at (716) 408-3306 or email: lburkman@lifecelldx.

LifeCell Dx is located in Buffalo, New York. For more information, visit

Written by Thomas P. McNulty

Dr. Burkman is a highly regarded, international expert in male infertility, sperm, egg, nicotine and marijuana.

Dr. Burkman is a highly regarded, international expert in male infertility, sperm, egg, nicotine and marijuana.

Healthcare Marketing is More Critical Now Than Ever Before

Healthcare marketing can strengthen a provider’s foundation and community position during these rapidly changing times. For many, the last two years were about wait and see. They were about who would be in the Oval Office, what things would be untouched and how much would really change. Major trends in healthcare continue to emerge, they include:

  • People are living longer
  • Medical treatments are faster and more effective
  • Hospital beds are for short-term stays
  • Telemedicine works and is a hit with patients
  • Home health monitoring equipment is very cost-effective
  • The Life Sciences field is booming with solutions
  • Obesity is at epidemic levels leading to a myriad of complex medical conditions
  • Male infertility  is now a global birth rate problem
  • Mental illness is on the rise, but little attention is offered (Depression is the #1 reason employes call in sick)
  • Physicians are aging out and in short supply

    Is Anybody Out There?

    Is Anybody Out There?

All of these issues scream marketing opportunity. We know who is in the Oval Office and the Affordable Care Act is law. The number of people who signed up for “ObamaCare” did not meet expectations, but the rules are in effect. So, the wait and see is over.

Healthcare providers that are not re-building their organizations or practices are facing uncertain futures. Your core competencies are still your core deliverables, but how are you creating distinction in a world of consumer healthcare shoppers?

Marketing is not billboards, full-page newspaper ads, or TV commercials. Some of that might be appropriate, but most often it is not necessary to have a strong marketing position. Marketing is communication, messaging and getting people to think about the choices they are empowered to make.

I often say, marketing is storytelling. Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? Where are you? Today, I add, why are you different? Creatively crafting the answers to these questions can give any healthcare organization a great start.

Creative marketing is very important, too. On a daily basis, we are exposed to an average of 2,500 marketing messages. How will you make your organization or practice stand out? If your logo doesn’t grab my eye, you loose. If your brochure is jammed with too much to read, you are lost. If your web site was done by your grandson, you don’t have a prayer.

Marketing does not have to break your bank. At Success Stories, Inc. our firm has been extremely sensitive to costs, but our rule is you must stick with the program. Start and stop efforts waste lots of money, time and can be very irritable to your target audience. The “Ready, Shoot, Aim” method is simply a rush to nowhere.

Public relations are very effective when done correctly. Remember when I mentioned storytelling? Public relations and working with the right media, including social media, gives you the opportunity to tell great stories. It is not something you can ask your office manager to do and your time is far more valuable. There are several nuances to making public and media relations work.

Today, the Internet offers lots of very creative ways to reach people, but you need a professional to help you navigate the web to find the right match for you.

Yes, there is so much more such as mobile apps, videos, hospitality training, patient and referral follow-up and new things everyday.

The critical message today is, if you are not actively involved in marketing, call us. If you are doing some marketing but know you need a boost, call us. The healthcare field is moving fast, so be ahead by being professionally prepared and well-recognized in your community.

thumbnail-3.aspxSuccess Stories, Inc. is a healthcare, life sciences and not for profit management and marketing firm since 1990.




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Baby Baby Baby: Finally, Say Hello to LifeCellDx

Baby Baby Baby: Finally, Say Hello to LifeCellDx

The andrology world knows her work for more than 30+ years.
Studying male infertility has been her life’s work.
She fully understands the questions: Is it me? Or…Is it you?
She has presented her research and real proof all over the world.
She has helped thousands of couples make informed decisions.
She does Advanced Semen Analysis and can provide e-diagnostics through the Internet.
She has a patent for this unique process.
If you are struggling to have a baby, LifeCellDx is here to give you critical answers to the question, Is He Fertile?
Say hello to Dr. Lani Burkman, Founder and Chief Science Officer of LifeCellDx.

Many will contribute to this blog so you may have facts that lead you to informed decisions.

It is not your fault, rather, it is your opportunity to start with an Advanced Semen Analysis with results you will not find anywhere in the world.

Read on…

Change Your Behavior This Year, But Now Would Be Better!


Change Your Behavior As Soon As Possible

Change your behavior. My parents said it to me when I was a kid and it meant I was in trouble. I do the same with my children. B.F. Skinner revolutionized traditional psychotherapy by saying it. Judge Judy barks it out to her court-TV victims. In the corporate world, we’re told change or perish.

 When Monday’s alarm clock goes off, I hope you will change your behavior. Please avoid doing things the same way. Let the creature of habit in you get left behind as you turn off the lights to this year. Be different with the routine things you have to do to bring home a paycheck. We think our mission is to be consistent, predictable, and orderly. How ridiculous is that? What is consistent, predictable, and orderly about anything in our universe?

 Robert Kennedy once said, “ Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has enemies.” We instinctively avoid change. We fear it. We don’t understand why it is necessary. Change makes us angry. It creates anxiety. It makes us hide. Change makes us sweat. Good! Sweating is a cleansing process. Anxiety is energy. Fear stimulates imagination. Anger creates thrust.

 The emotional reactions we have to change must be set free to provide the passion we need for progress.

Find a significant time in history or an invention that was not engulfed in a passion to foster change. Think of the people you admire the most. Were they conformists or authors of a new vision? We are all different; therefore, we have the innate capacity for originality. Some of us harbor the capacity. We keep it hidden to avoid being noticed. Others challenge the line drawn in the sand and dare to step into the potentially lonely world of original thinking. It is those people who find life satisfying. They change their behavior while attempting to influence the behaviors of others.

I like people filled with ambition – people fueled with a desire to achieve more than they will. Leaders who invite change and embrace creative chaos are very attractive to people with a wealth of originality. Those who rule through meetings, e-mail and in the ivory tower are paragons of downsizing without a plan for growth. They are threatened by change and suspicious of innovators. Their bottom line is a number, not a soul.

Please change your behavior. Promise to explore new ideas and invite the whirlwind of originality to blow gale force warnings. Success is born of being different, fast, colorful, eye-catching, and passionate. When we think of very successful people, we think of people who changed their behaviors. In many cases, their decision to change influenced generations.

Please don’t do it the same way. Don’t fool yourself by re-packaging the same old junk and claim you’ve made a change either. Drive to work a different way. Take Wednesday off instead of Friday, see what you discover. Cancel committee meetings and just talk to people. Don’t “call a meeting” rather, invite thought, stimulate ideas. Change your company letterhead this coming year. Let it reflect the personality of your organization. Change your logo. There are not enough people in logos and far too many geometric shapes and confusing, deep thought symbols.

Please change what you say and how you say it. Examine your communication style. Does it really have “style”? Are you effective? Probably not, so please change your behavior. Why do executives have retreats? What are they retreating from? Create a place in your organization that stimulates new ideas, refreshes your employees and you can avoid those retreats no one remembers anyway.

 It isn’t easy to change, but it is necessary. As Nike says, ‘Just Do It.” Here are some ideas. Try one or two and you are on your way.

 Change your behavior, please !

• Get a massage.

• Take your child to breakfast – one on one special time together.

• Host a party for your staff.

• Send more Thank You notes.

• Volunteer at a children’s organization.

• Go to Jamaica, man.

• Put more people pictures in your cafeteria.

• Hire a Director of Corporate Chaos.

• Use all your vacation time.

• Eat chocolate pretzels.

• Take up photography.

• Learn a new language.

• Get a massage, I mean it!

• Send more holiday cards than you receive.

• Go easy on Chicken Wings this coming year.

• Take your staff to a baseball game.

• Write a letter to the editor.

• Hold fewer meetings.

• Get involved in your kid’s school.

• Turn off the TV.

• Learn Italian cooking.

• Value integrity.

• Let a consultant do it.


Promise yourself you’ll change your behavior, please.


Thomas P. McNulty is president of Success Stories, Inc. – a management and marketing consulting firm in Orchard Park. He can be reached at

Marketing for Not For Profits


I’m concluding my second round of teaching a Masters level course in Public Administration at Hilbert College – a private, catholic college in western New York. It is a wonderful college with a tremendous focus on giving their students real skills, learning and avenues for creativity to better equip them for the ever-changing work world. I thoroughly enjoy the students. All of them are working full time and taking a full load to earn their MPA. My course is titled, Marketing and Public Relations for Not for Profits.

The course requires the students to develop a marketing plan for an area not for profit. As the professor, my task is to offer a true variety of NFP organizations. So, I write a few NFP names on a folded piece of paper and a team representative picks from the hat. It is a teacher’s dream to see the bewilderment on their faces as they read the selection’s name. They are befuddled. Some seem to have heard of the organization, but know very little. Others say things like, “is this a health NFP?” – as if they believe most NFPs are healthcare agencies doing work with people with HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, or mental illness.

Once they settle for a very brief moment, they look up at me as if to say, “what do you expect us to do with this?” or “I’m lost because I never even heard of these people.” As their tour guide for the next several weeks, I’m ready to begin their journey with some rules, reassurance, and describe where the ride will take them. At the Masters level, they must struggle, scratch, imagine, research, ask, discover and explore on their own. They must test their survival skills as they enter the NFP jungle like the cable TV show, Naked and Afraid. They are naked because they no longer have the comfort provided by having blankets of security called, “things I know.” They are afraid because this project is a team project, an oral presentation and a written marketing plan accounting for 80% of their final grade. Oh, by the way, I’m their last class before thesis defense and graduation. A poor grade in this class and they are devastated.

They begin as expected. Some try to negotiate by requesting another NFP. Others tell me they are not from western New York so they are at a terrible disadvantage. Finally, a few ask for a NFP in their field of work. Sorry, not today. Let’s move on.

After some interesting classes about the birth and evolution of NFPs of all types, sizes, fields of work, populations served and geography, we take a very serious look at the differences between NFPs and for profit organizations. By using examples, for the purpose of comparison, we talk about NIKE, Apple, American Red Cross, UNICEF, Catholic Health, American Cancer Society, NASCAR, Macy’s, BryLin Hospitals and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Business First’s Million Dollar Not For Profit issue comes out about a week before classes start. They are profoundly astonished at the salaries of NFP executives. Many students believed NFP work was a path to a low paying, long hours lifestyle. Several asked why managed care and hospital salaries were not posted, but they took some pretty good guesses at salary ranges. Most did not realize that managed care companies could be NFP. So, we continued to talk, learn and explore. Their assignment was to get engrossed in their chosen NFP as if they worked there. My dear friend, Aimee Gomlak, Vice President of Women Care at Catholic Health visits to talk about building a brand within a brand of a billion dollar operation.

At the appropriate time, I introduced them to the McNulty Model (yes, I created it based on 35+ years in marketing, management, NFP, media and consulting). It is intended to guide the marketing plan development process and I continue to tweek it as our world changes.

Here’s what they received:

McNulty Model

-NFP Marketing Plan Template-


1.) Introduction: What is Your Organization? What Does It Do?

 This is the initial exploration and discovery process. You cannot market what you do not know or fully understand. Get to know your organization from every angle. When they started? Why they were formed? How were they formed? What do they do today? What is their organizational structure? Once you have this information, write your Organizational Introduction.

2.) Plan’s Purpose

Your marketing plan must have a very defined purpose. Your intended focus is revealed and you take on 3-5 things you want to impact, grow, improve and more. This is the section you demonstrate your understanding of the organization’s best opportunities for success. You prove that by documenting in this section where they are now in real measureable terms. Example: 2010 # of physician referrals was 200 from 12 physicians. This plan will grow the referral base to 20 physicians yielding 350 referrals – 175 by June. Example: The number of media stories about our organization was limited to one television station. This plan will increase our electronic/print/Internet media reach to 15 outlets producing one story each.

Know where you are and where your marketing plan wants to take the organization.

 3.) Situation Audit: Your Inside World and The World You Cannot Control… But Must Monitor

 Simply put, what is your organization’s current operating situation? Focus on your attributes and your vulnerabilities. Look at things such as resources, geography, competitive edge, years of market position and anything that can impact your plan – positively or negatively. In this role, you are clearly an internal investigator and you must be boldly honest even if it stings. The truth must be known to plan.

External forces are things such as trends you could not have forecasted (sudden market drop, competitor merges with larger organization, etc.). Your audit highlights what’s going on now with strong reference to your immediate ability to course-correct your plan. In your industry, what are the climate forces that could alter your marketing action steps?

4.) Targets: All of Them You Wish to Reach

 In this section, the more specific you are the better your plan will be written and perform as a true tool for success. Avoid words such as, “the community, our region, schools, employees” and other catch-all categories. Instead, think about targets such as: couples with incomes above $100K within Buffalo city limits, male high school athletes in Catholic schools in Erie County, donors with a history of supporting violence reduction campaigns, corporations with a history of supporting outside events, etc. It is completely acceptable to have multiple targets or segments as long as you zero in on who they are in very measureable terms. In a healthcare NFP, instead of saying your target group is physicians, you might name the specialty likely to yield the best impact (pediatricians vs. rheumatologists).

 5.) Ready for Action: What Are You Planning to Do To Move The Marketplace? Your Targets?

 With each of the 3-5 things you want to achieve you can formulate 1-5 action steps that support each other. For instance, you could have a public relations action step that supports a sales campaign. A reporter interviews your CEO about what physicians should know about underage drinking rates in Erie County because your delivering a new screening tool to be used during annual physicals, sports physicals, etc. One plan can have multiple action steps. The steps must be in measureable terms so you know if it worked, should be adjusted or abandoned before any further resources are allocated.

All too often, action steps are not crafted with other staff input and this is a colossal mistake. To improve success, you must have staff buy-in, awareness and readiness. Your plan will fail if you build business you are not ready to manage. This is the McNulty Madness Factor – everyone is mad because your plan is working better than expected!

A good rule for Action is – make your plan measureable, doable and flexible.

 6.) Communication Integration

 Internal first. Never launch a message, press release, brochure, radio spot or billboard until all your employees, board members and volunteers know about it. In doing so, no one is caught off guard. Instead, you now have an army of marketing ambassadors. Sadly, this is often overlooked and McNulty Madness surfaces.

External. Do something every week to maintain consistency, fluidity, continuity and you will build your brand and tie it to your messaging. Keep in mind, what do your target audiences want to hear and where are they likely to hear it? Write newsworthy press releases and remember TV and Internet are visual media. Photography boosts a print story. Social media is a delicate, but effective channel. You can’t put a recipe on a billboard!

Integration: Make communication messages that integrate with headline news, trends, budget cuts, job market, economy, and family dynamics – Be Creative!

 7.) Strategies Steps

How will you unveil the plan to get it going? Who is helping? Have you planned out the year? Use of resources? Creative stretching of the dollar? Cross promotion with a partner? Corporate adoption of your event, cause, building, billboard and more. Use of consumers, graduates, artists…Be Creative!

8.) Tactics to Foster Buy-In Leading to a Relationship Development and Sustainability

 How will you connect your idea to the greater good? Your target audience? How will you create new relationships? Volunteer succession planning? Generational loyalty?

Example: Donor birthday cards, discounts from merchants, sticker on the car, lapel pin or building generational loyalty from birth.

9.) Resources: If You Got Them, Great! If Not, What Now?

 Resources are more than money in a budget. Volunteers, supplies, barter, board members, extended committee members, tie-in promotions, building space, free parking, Internet/social media, apps, etc. Use them all in creative, cost-effective, measurable ways and keep good records. Example: How many volunteers did we use for…?

Budget building is similar to shopping. How much do you have vs. how much things cost? The critical issue in building your budget is to build your “resource checklist” or line items. Typical costs in marketing budgets could include staff (but check to see if staffing is in another organizational budget), printing, equipment, advertising (by type: billboard, newspaper, etc.), promotions, mileage, event fees,  rentals, speaker fees, postage, entertainment (taking a reporter to lunch), designer, and other unique items. When putting a budget together, use bids, quotes and more from potential vendors. “How much would 1,000 12 oz, two-color coffee mugs cost?” “If I buy 4 quarter page ads for the year, what rate discount does my NFP get?” “If I put your logo on my brochure, what discount might you give me for 5,000 #10-size, double-sided, four-color brochures?”

10.) Begin, Check-In, Adjust, Keep Going

 Once you’ve started, you are on the go. Use your staff/board/volunteer/CEO meetings to “check-in” to see if you are on schedule. Is it working? Impediments? External factors requiring adjustment? Got more money or got cut mid-year. Who is a real champion and who is a disappointment? Will training come in to play? Did a new competitor come to town? Weather?

 11.) Celebrate Your Successes – With Everyone!

This is very important because it involves pride in ownership. Just as you’ll be held accountable when things go wrong, you must celebrate accomplishments. It is vital to your efforts and future plans that you spread the “well-done” and “thank you” messages around generously. No doubt, those same folks will be ready to help you again.

McNulty Model is a Success Stories, Inc. Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission of the author at

 While the classes continued, I could see their growth because they were embracing the concepts and their explorations led to discoveries that led to opportunities and a plan for impact. As you might imagine, as they did their research their information started plugging in to the McNulty Model rather smoothly. As anxiety shifted to enthusiasm, their creative energies emerged and their boundary restrictions were broken.

As a professor, it is very rewarding to see the transformation from admitted ignorance and stress move to self-fulfillment and pride in one’s accomplishment. Several students stated that struggling and being challenged to dig deeper to get what they needed facilitated a more engrained learning. They felt they had a tool box to be able to make their own marketing plan one day. My non-marketing students know how critical marketing is in NFPs and they understand how marketing integrates very well in to an organizational strategy. For me, that was success!

I’m available to teach your NFP staff on site if you are interested in creating a stronger marketing-driven organization. In today’s economy and strain for limited dollars, a solid marketing plan is an agency survival plan, too!

Thomas P. McNulty, President