February 5, 2016


Developing a Plan of Action

It’s time to open those dirt dusty closets of your district’s marketing plan and do some renovations! The Marketing Committee is here to help you construct a new clean and shiny marketing plan.

What is Marketing?

The first key step in developing a marketing plan is defining what marketing is to your district. Marketing is essential to the survival of conservation districts. It allows districts to meet client needs, strengthen and expand partnerships, address conservation issues, deliver the right service to the right client and increase public support.

What is “marketing”? Marketing is no longer the smooth-talking salesman persuading customers to buy used items with high-pressure pitches. Nor is it a complicated and confusing mixture of mind reading and magic tricks. Marketing is NOT forcing unwanted products on wary customers. Today marketing involves meeting someone’s needs on a personal level. Marketing should be straight forward and natural. A process anyone can learn to use. Marketing is a team effort. Everyone can play a roll!

Tips and Tricks

These follow Tips and Tricks can be found in more detail in the New Tools box above.  We hope that you discuss these steps and materials with your district’s marketing committee. Don’t have a “marketing committee”? Are YOU the marketing committee? Either way, we know these tools will help you identify areas that can help you revamp your marketing plan.

Step 1: Identify Critical Issues
Conservation programs developed in the past may not address all of the district and environmental issues going on today. Determining your critical issues is the first step in effective marketing.


Step 2: Develop Alliances and Determine Your Role
Identify other organizations that might be involved with your critical issues and willing to contribute resources. Working together may help you both accomplish common goals.


Step 3: Define Customers
You may be asking, “Are they a customer or a partner?”  The distinction between the two is not always clear, but if their participation results primarily in benefiting from the services of the partnership, consider them a customer.


Step 4: Identify Customer Needs
For each issue, you need to ask customers:

  • What do they need to deal with this issue?
  • Do we have a service that addresses their need? If we do have this service, why aren’t they using it as we want them to?
  • How can we make this service more accessible and convenient for them? How can we make them more aware of this service?


Step 5: Set a Strategy and Action Goals
A strategy is an approach you will use to satisfy customer needs. Action goals state what you want to achieve and how you will define success in your marketing program.  To do this, write goals that are specific and measureable.

Step 6: Develop and Activate the Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is the blueprint.  It identifies appropriate marketing actions you and your partners will take based on the needs of your customers, partnership resources, your broad marketing strategy and action goals.

Step 7: Evaluate Your Marketing Effort
As with any new activity, you learn from experience.  There are many questions you could ask to evaluate your effort.  Here are a few:

  • Did you meet your action goals?
  • What worked well? What didn’t work?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What would you repeat?
  • Were your customers satisfied and their needs met effectively?

Questions & Comments

We want you to know that the PR/Marketing Committee is here to help YOU. Please don’t be shy, we love “stupid” questions!

Have an idea, suggestion, or comment? Reach out to us! We’re always looking for feedback on how we can be better and make marketing easier for you.

Email the VASWCD staff or the marketing committee at marketing@vaswcd.org or contact committee chairman Derwin Booker. And as always, your VASWCD office is always willing to help!

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