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Turn Up the Volume

In 2002, a new phrase became a household question. Paul Marcarelli, an American actor, became best known for being the ubiquitous "Test Man" character in commercials ("Can you hear me now?") for Verizon Wireless until 2011.

This spoof on the issues around cell phone signal strength is a reminder that when our mission seems to be muddled and muzzled amidst the noise of competing threats and priorities, it’s time to turn up the volume.

The “Test Man” character would appear in the woods, emerging from a sewer, in the wilderness, on busy streets…..just everywhere. He was testing the signal and clarity of his cellphone.

As nonprofit and business leaders, we can take a page from this book.

When the marketplace is buzzing and your message isn’t getting out, turn up the volume.  Here are a few tips to attract new customers, funders and supporters:


1.       Make sure that your message is clear. Stick to a couple of succinct points.

2.       Wash and repeat – saturate your message in a finite period of time, such as 4 weeks and replay the message on media channels.

3.       Go Big and Go Small.  Pay for marketing on the main television, radio and print media for a big splash, but keep the momentum going on social media.  If you have the budget and you’re trying to sell a product, then purchase ads.

4.       Become your own “Test Man” by getting in front of the camera. People like to see who runs the organization and hear what’s important to them.

5.       Monitor and analyze the data.  Track your media reach and impact, as well as social media impressions, views, likes, followers etc.

My small team and I took this approach and our reach skyrocketed. Media folks from our national office began asking how was Goodwill Industries of East Texas popping up so often and in so many media analytics. Simply put, we turned up the volume. We were already working with a local media broker for paid media and we (meaning me and one staff member who handles our social media) posted daily. I hash tagged my podcasts, blogs, video's etc.

If you turn up the volume you’ll stand out from the crowd and your audience will indeed be able to hear you.


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