With 55,000 not for profit organisations in Australia, the charity sector is standing room only. So how do you carve out a space to help make the world a better place? Sam Payne, co-founder of The Pink Elephants Support Network shares her story.
Aesop’s Fables states that ‘no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’. For this to ring true in today’s crowded charity sector, those in the not-for-profit space need to tell their story to compete for the donor dollar, and also to reach the people who need help.
Sam Payne, co-founder of The Pink Elephants Support Network has created the charity with like-minded women to help support couples through miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.
Sam and her co-founder Gabbi Armstrong have been on a two-year journey building the charity from the ground up. She admits getting the message out there has been a ‘learn as you go movement’. Early on Sam made the strategic move to get some expertise in the sector before diving in. Working at the charity ReachOut Australia taught her to understand the importance of language in charity communications.
“When we initially set up we identified a journey in terms of what the initial stages of grief would be that you feel. The stage where your emotions are raw, you’re in shock, disbelief. You look at the keywords, and we’ve extrapolated them and we’ve built content around that. If you look at our website you’ll see that that journey is quite clearly mapped out,” Sam said.
“I don’t feel like Gabbi and I have reinvented the wheel with this,” Sam said. “We’re offering women what they deserve. We’re offering their partners what they need to be able to support their wife through this.”
In a bid to ‘do good’ it can be all too tempting to get going with a charitable venture without understanding what the need actually is, and how you can meet it. Charity work starts from listening.
Sam explains: “Constantly checking back in with your audience that you’re providing what they need, because we are constantly receiving messages from women, direct messages, saying, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. The support that your offering is amazing.’ So that keeps validating the need, which has really helped us then to go, okay this isn’t just a small Sydney network.”
Having a targeted, focused approach is important, but tuning in to what’s already happening in the news and online in your subject area is paramount.
Sam has seen real returns from responding to the news agenda: “We also try from a social perspective, we are commenting on things that are happening within the press and miscarriage,” she said. “There was a recent piece about the unfortunate incident in America where a woman was refused medication for a miscarriage by Walmart’s pharmacist, and that went viral within the States. So what we did as an organisation was we commented on all of those, and then we saw our traffic increase from America coming over.”
In our ‘in the field’ segment of this episode, Louisa Sampson, director of social enterprise at Filtered Media encourages charities to be on the lookout for opportunities. “Be part of the conversation, don’t be scared. There are lot of free tools that charities can use, to monitor what’s going on. Basically arm yourself with the facts, so that you’re ready to react to the news and trends that are going on in the world, and get your voice out there,” Louisa said.
Tune in to this episode of The CMO Show as Mark and Nicole talk about navigating sensitive topics, doing the hard yards, and all of the hashtags.
- Pink Elephants Support Network – Resources
- Miscarriage grief and statistics: ‘People do not talk about it’
- It’s time for charities to stop being afraid of their marketing spend – Mumbrella
The CMO Show production team
Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transcript: Sam Payne on marketing with a purpose
Hosts: Mark Jones and Nicole Manktelow
Guest: Sam Payne
Mark Jones: There are 55,000 charities in Australia, and it feels like a new one starts every day. So, if you’re running a charity how do you get your voice out there, particularly if you’re just starting. And if you have a sensitive topic or emotional issue how do you bring that to market? Well it seems clarifying your purpose and your values are at the core of this exercise. Do you know what you’re really about?
Mark Jones: Welcome back to The CMO Show, my name is Mark Jones.
Nicole Manktelow: I’m Nicole Manktelow.
Mark Jones: And we are here to talk about not-for-profit marketing.
Nicole Manktelow: And in particular, those that are new on the scene and how you get started.
Mark Jones: We talk a lot about purpose. You hear it in brand purpose and so on, and it really is the ultimate expression of caring. You’re had a trauma or an experience or a loved one who is sick, et cetera, and so you often see this is that particularly celebrities, they’re inspired and so they start a foundation, a charity.
Nicole Manktelow: I think a lot of people would love to do a job every day where they felt that they were contributing to the greater good, adding purpose and meaning, and if you’ve been through something and you can turn that into something good, there’s a fantastic satisfaction, so I think that’s probably in the backstory of most of these not-for-profits, somewhere.
Mark Jones: Yeah. There’s a really compelling story as to why they started and why they got there, and then, if you kind of park that idea for a second, we know that on the other side in some of the not-for-profits and social enterprises that we work with at Filtered Media, are quite aware that also there’s another problem if just from a purely pragmatic business perspective, right? It’s hard to make these things really fly. There’s so much competition for the donor dollar, and the government dollar.
Nicole Manktelow: There’s just enough competition to get your idea heard.
Mark Jones: Right. How do you get attention in a marketplace?
Nicole Manktelow: Add in a sensitive subject like the one we’re talking about today with Pink Elephants Support Network, which is a not-for-profit supporting women through early miscarriage and pregnancy loss and beyond. A lot of us are probably quite unfamiliar with how to address and how to care for people who’ve been through this process, who’ve been through an experience like this, and then to talk about raising support for it. It’s quite intense.
Mark Jones: Right. And I think how interesting this, if you’re a marketing education perspective, how do you navigate a sensitive topic? How do you work with an unmet need in the community? How do you bring it to life? And how do you do it in a way that authentic and real?
Nicole Manktelow: Yeah. It’s time to be honest but sensitive.
Mark Jones: Our guest today is Sam Payne and she’s the co-founder of Pink Elephants Support Network and we’ve brought her into the studio to have a chat about where the idea came from, what’s behind it, and how do you market something as sensitive as this topic?
Mark Jones: Sam Payne is the co-founder of The Pink Elephants Network. Thank you so much for joining us.
Sam Payne: Thank you for having us.
Mark Jones: What is The Pink Elephants Network? It’s an interesting name.
Sam Payne: It is an interesting name. We are a not-for-profit organisation or a charity which supports couples through miscarriage and early pregnancy loss. The name The Pink Elephants came from when we were doing lots of research in the initial stages of setting up we thought, oh elephants never forget. There was that kind of logistic behind it at first and then we came across a beautiful story whereby when an elephant mother loses her baby the rest of the elephants stand around her and they place their trunk on her as a show of support and form a circle of support, and even when I tell it now I get goose bumps and that’s why-
Nicole Manktelow: That’s amazing.
Sam Payne: … straight away we were like, “Yes.”
Mark Jones: It’s beautiful.
Sam Payne: Yeah, really is.
Mark Jones: Where did the organisation come from?
Sam Payne: Personal experience, so unfortunately I was having a tough time, I had just experienced my second miscarriage and I was shocked by the lack of support out there. There really isn’t very much support for the 103,000 couples a year that experience this.
Nicole Manktelow: I feel like I want to say I’m sorry for your loss
Nicole Manktelow: I also don’t know if that’s helpful in any way.
Sam Payne: No it is, because you’re acknowledging what happened, and this is part of what we want to achieve as well is education and awareness around how you can support your loved ones through early pregnancy loss. Unfortunately my losses were in 2015 and 16 and I was shocked by the silence that surrounded them, and that if my miscarriage was discussed it was discussed in whispers and hushed tones.
Nicole Manktelow: Still?
Sam Payne: Yep, and I wasn’t okay with that. For me, I am a talker and I needed to talk about it. It was cathartic for me to share my experience, but I had nowhere to do that. So I connected with Gabbi on a Facebook private message and we met for coffee, she’d been there. She’d had several losses herself and she just got it. So straightaway we decided that other women deserved what we had between us and that’s when we just came up with the concept for Pink Elephants.
Nicole Manktelow: Sam what’s your background?
Sam Payne: A little bit varied. In the UK I was a primary school teacher and then when I moved out here 10 years ago I have worked in business development, basically sales for nine years, and then I’ve been off for the last four years with children and attempting to have my second baby.
Mark Jones: Well it’s interesting there are thousands and thousands of not-for-profits and charities and think with your sales hat on and your business hat on, what process did you go through thinking, “Okay, we can see the need. We should do this, but also there’s a lot of competition for the dollar.”
Sam Payne: Absolutely, so there are 55,000 charities within Australia, it’s huge, however we do play in a fairly small landscape in terms of support for bereaved parents, there really is very little. There are some amazing support networks for later term loss but miscarriage, those first 20 weeks, early pregnancy loss has been often very overlooked, so we knew the need was there. From a business perspective we decided to run focus groups and an online survey to ensure that what we intended to offer was actually what women wanted. We were overwhelmed by the response, and to speak to that just last week we ran another miscarriage support survey through our social media channels and we had over 815 respondents.
Sam Payne: It’s still going, and 78% of those women felt unsupported through their miscarriage. So we had some really beautiful statistics that we now want to present back and share with our audience.
Nicole Manktelow: How good is social media for doing this kind of work?
Sam Payne: Amazing.
Nicole Manktelow: Could you do it without?
Sam Payne: No, we really couldn’t. Social media has also provided us with a safe space for women in terms of our Facebook private group and the interactions on there are everyday, they’re moving and they’re beautiful that women now have somewhere that they can go to and to connect with just another person who gets it and have that extra level of support that hasn’t previously been there to date.
Nicole Manktelow: What was Gabbi’s background?
Sam Payne: So Gabbi is a copywriter, so we work really well together. I can be quite external. I’m the talker if you like, and Gabbi is the thinker and if I write some copy she would then edit it and make it beautiful, yeah.
Nicole Manktelow: Did you, between the two of you, have experience in setting up something brand new?
Sam Payne: No, so this has all been a learn as you go movement. We have very different skillsets, complementary, which has been amazing. We have had a third person involved, Rachel, who’s helped us immensely with the design and the aesthetic of, if you like, our brand aesthetic which was extremely important to us because some women had received some say printed resources from the hospital but again it just feels like an afterthought that someone’s printed something on a photocopy that’s very clinic and, “Here you go. Go away you’ve had your miscarriage,” and I think-
Mark Jones: It’s the branding equivalent of those fluorescent lights that are in the hospital-
Sam Payne: Yeah, absolutely.
Nicole Manktelow: Wow that’s beautiful-
Mark Jones: Just a giant slap in the face.
Sam Payne: It’s completely that. It’s just now you’re at the point where you’re like, “You’ve got this completely wrong.” And so part of when we originally envisaged The Pink Elephants Support Network and the values that it has behind it and the love and the empathy that we want to convey that needed to come across in our branding, so branding was extremely important. It was something that we’ve spent a good two years on, getting right. This has not been an overnight, “Oh wow we’re here.” It’s been the last two and a half years of creating content and having the content peer-reviewed. So professor Bill Ledger who’s the head of obs and gyns at Royal Women’s Hospital. He’s peer reviewed everything for us and then after it was all peer reviewed we decided to publish it on the website and all of our resources are free to download. From a business perspective we do ask for emails to capture data because we’re aware of how valuable our database will be going forward. But to add to that, we also want to capture women’s emails because we want to share additional resources that will support them, and we can see that as if you like a value metric in the future that if we can support the women and that we have an increased reach and the data, we can use that in terms of leveraging a corporate partnership in the future, so there’s a couple of reasons why we do those things.
Mark Jones: Do you have any government backing at all? Or is it all-
Sam Payne: Not yet.
Mark Jones: Right okay, so that’s on the list is it?
Sam Payne: It’s on the list. We’ve started the process. We’ve actually just received a commendment from New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who’s just sent through a letter to us commending us for the work that we do and the support that we offer, and given us permission to distribute our resources throughout all the local health districts.
Nicole Manktelow: Oh what wonderful win.
Sam Payne: Yeah huge.
Nicole Manktelow: That’s pretty good.
Sam Payne: So we’re really excited about that, that was last week. We had lots of happy dancing with that.
Nicole Manktelow: And you are going to actually get those resources, even logistics going on there too, haven’t you?
Sam Payne: There are, so it’s been again a new learning experience. Originally it was going to each hospital, have a meeting, and then connect with the early pregnancy clinic, connect with the emergency department, build those relationships and convince them that this is what women needed, and then what we found that was very time-consuming and really difficult for us to be able to scale that way and not sustainable because you can’t do everything.
Mark Jones: That’s exactly what was going through my mind, how long did that take?
Sam Payne: Yeah, it took a long time and we quickly realised that was not the way forward. So now we’re changing our strategy a little bit, in terms of how we make the approach into hospitals. We are also finding now that with our increased reach we’re having hospitals come to us and ask for our resources, which is beautiful.
Mark Jones: Perfect.
Sam Payne: Yeah and that’s the way it needs to be.
Mark Jones: The thing that fascinates me just kind of as we think about the business and the structure, it’s such an emotive topic, like many charities and causes are, and it’s really encouraging to see how you’ve taken an idea and run with it. One of the observations I’d make is that it can be hard to make the transition from the passion and the early sort of enthusiasm to the scale that you’re talking about, and getting serious about the business and the marketing. And you’ve mentioned a couple of times now, sort of learning as you go and that’s kind of part of any business I think, but is there one thing that really sort of stands out from this early experience as the best way to kind of get into that scale mindset?
Sam Payne: Constantly checking back in with your audience that you’re providing what they need, because we are constantly receiving messages from women, direct messages, saying, “I’m so glad you’re here. The support that your offering is amazing.” So that keeps validating the need, which has really helped us then to go, okay this isn’t just a small Sydney network. We have people from America approaching us, asking if they can replicate what we’re doing there at the moment, and then also a case of actually just looking at this now and continuing to remain focused on your core and what your objectives are and what you actually want to deliver.
Sam Payne: There are so many different things that we could start to do but you almost then start to lose your meaning.
Mark Jones: Yeah your focus?
Sam Payne: Absolutely, we lose focus. First and foremost we’re a support service for the couples that are going through this. I know you touched on government funding, yes it’s a priority for us, but ultimately what we’ve wanted to do first is build strong foundations so we’ve created all of our content, all of our resources. We’ve created our platforms where we can share this and now we’re moving into our next phase which is a push marketing strategy whereby we increase our reach. Once we’ve increased our reach we believe then we’ll be in a stronger position to approach corporate partnerships and the government and say, “Look, we connect with this amount of women and couples who are experiencing this loss therefore you need to support this because we’ve demonstrated there’s a need.” If that makes sense.
Mark Jones: It strikes me as a really interesting challenge because unless … Well I can imagine from the beginning, you don’t sign up to a support network for something that you don’t need.
Sam Payne: No, you don’t.
Mark Jones: Right, so you can’t say that these are people … Unless unfortunately it’s been a case where they’ve had multiple rainbow babies, actually such as my wife and I have been on that journey. Once you’ve had one perhaps then-
Sam Payne: Absolutely.
Mark Jones: … perhaps then you join up, but it’s that initial contact. How do you make sure that you’re easily found? That it’s something that maybe the networks are talking about?
Sam Payne: Yeah, so we’ve also tried to attract some PR, media and press attention. We’ve actually this morning just had an article shared on news.com, which we’re really excited about because that’s again increasing our reach. Channel 7 News featured the launch of our peer support programme. So there’s definitely been a strategy there whereby we want to increase our reach out to everybody because part of what we want to achieve is open up the discourse around miscarriage, break down the silence and educate everyone on how you can support people through this, because if there’s 103,000 couples a year reporting a miscarriage, chances are you know someone who’s either going through this, has gone through this or has been touched by this.
Sam Payne: So it’s not a case of just supporting the women. So we have a resource for partner resource on our website and we also have a supporting a friend resource, because again it’s that education piece that we want to achieve.
Nicole Manktelow: Tell me with the support being still your number one priority, you said your number one was support group, the more people who contact you, how many more conversations can you personally sustain with couples who obviously have incredible stories? This is emotion. This is a-
Sam Payne: It’s a trigger.
Nicole Manktelow: … hardcore emotion. How do you cope? How does your system cope with all of that?
Sam Payne: It’s a difficult one to be perfectly honest. I think that the passion from Gabbi and I is genuinely there because we have felt so lost during that time, and as much as a conversation with another woman who’s currently going through it could trigger me or can trigger me, you almost come back to, but remember how alone I felt and remember that at least what we’re doing now is giving them a safe place in terms of our capacity. Gabbi and I are pretty much over capacity right now to be completely honest. We’re at the next stage where we do need to secure funds in order to be able to scale and to reach all of these couples experiencing this, and to also secure the skillset of others around us that can take us to that next stage.
Sam Payne: We’ve created what we’ve created, and like I said it’s that beautiful foundation. The content has been reviewed. The peer support programme is working. We’ve been overbooked out for the next two weeks. We’re having to train up new ambassadors in July. We’ve only been launched three weeks so that’s amazing to be at capacity already. But yeah, even just to draw breath there and go, “Yes.”
Mark Jones: Hang on a minute, three weeks?
Sam Payne: Yes.
Sam Payne: The peer support programme is three weeks in, since its launch on the 18th of June and it’s at capacity, and we’ve just booked in another training date for another eight ambassadors in July.
Nicole Manktelow: Are you getting volunteers then from your own forms?
Sam Payne: Our ambassadors are all volunteers. We’ve chose to use ambassadors that are women who’ve been through loss and that’s the connection that they can give back.
Nicole Manktelow: That’s amazing.
Mark Jones: I wanted to ask a question, and we’re looking at some fabulous brochures that you’ve got here and of course being the bloke in the conversation here, it’s got partner advice.
Sam Payne: Yes.
Mark Jones: What’s your advice to partners and how do you go about communicating that story?
Sam Payne: It’s really hard one to communicate, A) because I am the woman but I’ll try and communicate it from two male perspectives, so firstly was my husband’s. He likened it to a Premiership football, I think you call it soccer here.
Mark Jones: Yeah, we are watching the World Cup.
Sam Payne: For him we had our first child and that was amazing, everything went well, easy pregnancy. Georgia came along absolutely fine, so that was like winning the Premiership, and then the second time around when we had the losses back-to-back that was like being demoted. So it’s almost about finding a male perspective on it and conveying that. We do also want to set up a male peer support programme, so we’re looking for male ambassadors at the moment because we believe that women and men we grieve differently, and a male donor described it beautifully and we shared it on our networks last week, where for him it was like being this knight in shining armour but he’d lost all his armour and he couldn’t fix it. For him he just wanted to fix his wife, and he couldn’t.
Nicole Manktelow: Completely powerless.
Sam Payne: Absolutely powerless, and I think it’s an important message that we convey this as well because it’s real grief and it impacts the man as much as the woman, and again men in the workplace they’re going to work the same day as trying to deal with all of this that’s happening.
Mark Jones: And there’s also the relationship dynamic, right?
Sam Payne: Yeah.
Mark Jones: So how do you grieve together or how do you process together in different ways.
Sam Payne: Absolutely, and it’s different stages. I mean from a personal experience I really needed to know why. I was asking all other questions. I had a lot of self blame, a lot of guilt which is very common and I understand now how normal that is, and again part of what we want to achieve is validating all of those feelings as okay, but when there is nowhere to normalise those feelings, I didn’t know that was okay. I honestly thought I was losing my mind.
Nicole Manktelow: We’ve sort of done okay with say post-natal depression these days. I had a baby a couple of years ago, I was hit over the head basically with sledgehammer tactics for people on watch, making sure. This is a critical time after the baby’s birth. You got any signs? Are you okay? But it was being done, which is amazing. So perhaps this is more of a mental health check that after somebody has had this sort of tragedy that a counsellor contacts you and says, “Are you okay?”
Sam Payne: Absolutely, there’s some really strong statistics from a paper in the UK, so 70% of women will go on to have a healthy pregnancy which is absolutely fabulous, however-
Nicole Manktelow: How many?
Sam Payne: 70% will go on, so that’s amazing. So first and foremost it’s also realising that if you have a miscarriage it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have a baby in the future. It doesn’t impact your chances, but 30% of those women will receive a clinical diagnosis of postnatal depression, and I was one of those. Luckily enough I’ve gone on and I’ve had my rainbow baby.
Nicole Manktelow: You’ve had the works didn’t you?
Sam Payne: Yeah, I got everything, but what that has done is drove the passion to make change because I can see … I don’t feel like Gabbi and I have reinvented the wheel with this, we’re offering women what they deserve. We’re offering their partners what they need to be able to support their wife through this.
Nicole Manktelow: And is rainbow baby what you call your next child who makes it through?
Sam Payne: It’s a term yeah for a baby after loss. I think I use it-
Nicole Manktelow: Thank you, I couldn’t find a way to express it.
Sam Payne: Sorry, I use it again from a marketing perspective it increases our reach. If you search that as a hashtag you would find that quite a lot.
Sam Payne: So yeah I was lucky enough that I had my rainbow baby and I’ve talked about it openly, but four months afterwards I was really struggling but I felt like I couldn’t admit my struggles because you were meant to be grateful that you’d had your rainbow baby and everything’s meant to be okay now.
Nicole Manktelow: You’re feeling guilty because somehow you’re still happy and you lost before.
Sam Payne: I had a baby when other people are still struggling to have a baby, I should just be happy and get on with it is the background.
Nicole Manktelow: You don’t allow yourself to continue to grieve.
Sam Payne: I hadn’t grieved. I hadn’t allowed myself. I’d continuously gone on this quest just to fix it myself.
Nicole Manktelow: This is an incredible journey and I could get stuck into the personal story here forever which I’ll try not to do because we are ostensibly marketing.
Nicole Manktelow: It doesn’t sound like you knew all that much about marketing before you started, and now you’ve just gone through bootcamp.
Sam Payne: Yeah, we definitely have. I think about grounding sales has helped, because I think that marketing is a lot to do with sales. It’s storytelling. It’s an emotional hook. It’s reaching your right audience and it’s having a clear call to action which obviously you can execute, that’s probably one area that we’ve struggled with, a clear call to action, because it’s almost been like we hadn’t exactly known what support we needed from others in order to grow.
Nicole Manktelow: You need to scale right? So you don’t know what to ask for.
Sam Payne: Yes, absolutely.
Mark Jones: Language must be a really important thing to consider, so we’ve already talked about rainbow babies. Words have power but they also have different meanings, so just talk us through the decisions that you’ve made in that space.
Sam Payne: So I went back to work when my second baby was eight months old and I took a job within another charity, ReachOut Australia. They support young people through mental health. An amazing charity, fantastic cause and they really make a huge difference. They’re 21 years old next year, so it was very much a decision to go and work for an existing charity to learn the language, because if you’re going to play within that landscape you need to understand it. And like I said my background is sales, and my background was more B2C as well, it wasn’t B2B, so it was really about understanding what a corporate network is and how you can leverage that to make a difference within the charity landscape. So I learned that within those six months.
Nicole Manktelow: Strategic.
Sam Payne: Thank you.
Mark Jones: There are keywords within the context of your work, right? So can you give us some examples of words that you’ve chosen over others?
Sam Payne: Yes, so if you want to refer to them in hashtag terms, in terms of reach?
Mark Jones: Why not.
Sam Payne: Yes, we’ve chose #miscarriagematters because we think that sums up a lot of what we’re about, and because miscarriage does matter then that’s our reach. Miscarriage is definitely a prominent keyword search and Support would be one. We try and convey the statistics, so the one in four would be another. I think that pretty much-
Nicole Manktelow: What’s the one in four statistic?
Sam Payne: One in four pregnancies will end in loss before 12 weeks.
Nicole Manktelow: Is that in Australia?
Sam Payne: That’s worldwide. Over the age of 35 that increases to one in three, and over the age of 40 it’s one in two, so half of pregnancies. And as Professor Bill Ledger succinctly put it that women are choosing to have pregnancies later on in life unfortunately those statistics are obviously increasing due to embryo quality.
Mark Jones: Right.
Mark Jones: If you’ve got a question you’d like us to answer on the show, just tweet us @CMOShow or use the hashtag #TheCMOShow. We’d love to hear from you.
Candice Witton: Hey guys. It’s your producer Candice here. Today I’m chatting to Louisa Sampson, Director of Social Enterprise here at Filtered Media. We’re going to do a bit of a marketing 101 for not for profits.
Candice Witton: Hi Louisa, how are you?
Louisa Sampson: I’m good thanks. How are you?
Candice Witton: Good. So what’s your top tips for not for profits and charities trying to make their way in the marketing landscape today?
Louisa Sampson: So I would say first and foremost you can’t afford to be complacent, you need to be out their telling your story, now more than ever. So the Australian Charity and Not For Profit Commission released their Public Trust and Confidence Report and it found that 86% of Australians do trust charities, which is great new. But the same commission actually received 42% more complaints last year, than they’ve ever done before. So it shows that there might be a little bit of distrust in the air and people wanting to understand where their money’s going, when they’re supporting charities. So Rule Number One, don’t be scared. You’ve got to get out there and be telling your story.
Louisa Sampson: Secondly, I think it’s really important to know your story and to be definite about that. So the great thing about people that work in charity is that they want to save the world, they want to contribute, they want to make things better, but often they do get caught up in trying to achieve multiple things in order to bring good into the world. So you have to kind of pick your battles early on and be focused with your aims, and understand what you stand for and what you’re going to get out there and represent, and who you’re trying to support, and know what your niche is.
Louisa Sampson: I’d encourage people to, rather than think about the communications activity that they want to do, actually start with your audience. Who are they? Where are they? How might they come into contact with your brand, with your charity, and engage with you? From there your much more likely to reach them, if you’re choosing your communications channel based on who you’re looking to speak to.
Louisa Sampson: So it’s best to start with your audience and work backwards, and decide the best plan of action to reach them. So be targeted, and focused, and understand how you’re going to be able to communicate to them. So whether that be a press release that goes out to national media, or getting online, on social media to get your message out there, understand where and when people connect with your charity and why, before you start your communications activity.
Louisa Sampson: Last but not least, you have to be, if you want to be at the party you’ve got to be listening, you’ve got to understand what’s going on online, in the news, in the media. Be part of the conversation, don’t be scared. There are lot of free tools that charities can use, to monitor what’s going on. Try Hootsuite to see what’s going on on social media. Set up Google Alerts relevant to your charity, and basically arm yourself with the facts, so that you’re ready to react to the news and trends that are going on in the world, and get your voice out there.
Candice Witton: That’s great. Thanks heaps Louisa.
Louisa Sampson: You’re welcome.
Candice Witton: So there you go, a bit of a starter pack for a not for profit or a charity trying to navigate their way through the marketing landscape. Thanks heaps Louisa. I’ll hand back to Mark and Nicole.
Mark Jones: Just on the marketing side, you mentioned the hashtags and social and so on, so is it primarily a social campaign that you’ve been running? You mentioned the media, so you’ve got obviously some earned media happening as well.
Sam Payne: Yeah.
Mark Jones: Just give us a bit of an insight into the marketing strategy.
Sam Payne: Okay, we are a little bit broader than just social media. We probably use Facebook and Instagram would be to communicate with women and partners that need support, but I think we touched on it earlier that in terms of a marketing strategy we’ve seen that we need to increase our reach in other avenues so we’ve even been featured on radio interviews. If you think from a fundraising perspective as well, male donors generally are the donors that can give the most, and miscarriage was happening 35 years ago as well, so chances are that men have been impacted by it but it was an earlier piece. So we’ve looked outside the traditional box that way as well in terms of reach.
Sam Payne: We’ve looked at obviously sharing within print, and so we’ve been featured in Daily Mail, and we’ve been featuring in quite a lot of mommy blogging because we think that that’s the age and the target market that we’re going for, so Essential Baby, Babyology, all of those, and we’ve had some really good reach from those, which has given us some great analytics in terms of our back end and push through to the website. We also try from a social perspective, we are commenting on things that are happening within the press and miscarriage, so Tommy’s is the UK charity. They’re often sharing pieces. We would have a conversation, a dialogue back with them which then would refer traffic back to us, and again there was a recent piece about the unfortunate incident in America where a woman was refused medication for a miscarriage by Walmart’s pharmacist, and that went viral within the States
Sam Payne: Again it comes back to education, being refused medication. So what we did as an organisation was we commented on all of those, and then we saw our traffic increase from America coming over. We feel that we’re in a really strong position because even other countries don’t have this type of support network for women who are experiencing infertility and miscarriage. There are healthcare charities in terms of looking into research and prevention but that’s not what we are. We are the consumer voice, and we are all about offering that additional level of support.
Mark Jones: Great, and then the consumer journey, we should obviously touch on that a bit and I understand it’s something along the lines of feel, heal, beyond.
Mark Jones: Can you talk us through what that means?
Sam Payne: So when we initially set up we identified a journey in terms of initial stages of grief would be that feel stage where your emotions are raw, you’re in shock, disbelief and again you look at the keywords, and we’ve extrapolated them from that point and then we’ve built content around that, and if you look at our website you’ll see that that journey is quite clearly mapped out. It’s another differentiator for us within the market space and there are charities that support bereaved parents, but they very much play in that grief space and they don’t offer the what’s next.
Sam Payne: Part of what we want to achieve as an organisation is support within the preconception period because that’s another mental health issue, and then further to that support for either pregnancy after loss because that is a heightened anxiety time or for if involuntary childlessness or not going on to have a baby after you’ve had your losses, there needs to be support. They’re all topics that are still taboo that need to be talked about, so again it fits with our mission in terms of opening up the dialogue and breaking down the discourse.
Nicole Manktelow: Do you get people contacting you who maybe have had that loss some time ago and maybe friends and family think, “Well that’s ancient history why are you still going on about it?”
Sam Payne: Yeah absolutely, and the reason they’re still going on about it, in inverted commas, is because it impacted them so much and they had no safe space to share that, so they haven’t validated their grief. They haven’t had it normalised. They’ve never had a place just to share, and ultimately that’s what we’re offering women.
Nicole Manktelow: A little bit later on that journey is-
Sam Payne: Yeah, 35 years later, absolutely.
Mark Jones: Still the grief journey continues right?
Sam Payne: Yeah, and unless you give it a safe place to share it you’re boxing it all off and that’s necessarily healthy and so yeah absolutely, we receive messages on a daily basis, and a lot of them will be from women who were touched. In fact the donor that I referred to earlier who mentioned the knight in shining armour, his wife had had miscarriages over 18 years ago but he still had chose to give to us.
Mark Jones: Really amazing to hear your story, and you’ve been so open and candid about all that you’ve been through, so thank you so much for that.
Mark Jones: Just maybe in closing, some advice that you’ve got for people who are thinking about how to build an organisation from a marketing perspective when you’ve got such an emotive story to carry.
Sam Payne: Look at it as an advantage that you have an emotive story to carry, because that’s your storytelling aspect there which is amazing, but don’t forget the importance of statistics and figures and research, and make sure that whatever you’re looking to offer fits the need that’s out there, so that again comes back to that research perspective, yeah and then look at your branding because that’s really important as well.
Mark Jones: Yeah, and I think too, reflecting on some of the social work that you’ve been doing, it sounds relentless.
Sam Payne: Yeah, don’t think it happens overnight. That’s the one thing, it’s been a continuous effort over a long period of time to reach where we’re at now. When we originally set up I thought this was a 12-month journey, three years later we’re still where we are.
Nicole Manktelow: It’s part of the stage. We’ve got some fast questions, we call them rapid fire. Are you up for that?
Sam Payne: Sure, yeah why not.
Nicole Manktelow: Okay.
Mark Jones: What are you grateful for?
Sam Payne: My baby and my family.
Mark Jones: What’s your greatest career fail?
Sam Payne: I just don’t see failure as failure. This might sound a bit … but I think that failure is a good thing. It’s a case of, “Okay I didn’t get it right that time, so let’s … Oh okay I’ve got one.”
Mark Jones: Well that’s why they’re great fails.
Nicole Manktelow: What inspires you?
Sam Payne: Strong women, women having each other’s back and being willing just to speak out.
Mark Jones: What’s your greatest frustration?
Sam Payne: Time. Can I have a 36 hour day please? And a baby that sleeps through the night would be nice.
Nicole Manktelow: If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
Sam Payne: Nothing. I like my name. I’m happy with Sam.
Mark Jones: Excellent, well Sam Payne thank you so much for joining us. Our best wishes to you and Gabbi Armstrong, co-founders of The Pink Elephants Network. It’s a really encouraging story and we do hope that you guys continue to go from strength to strength.
Sam Payne: Excellent, thank you.
Nicole Manktelow: Just don’t wear yourselves out.
Sam Payne: Thank you. We’ll try not to. Thanks
Mark Jones: Okay. Sam Payne.
Nicole Manktelow: This amazing story that’s had this passion and then has to go and find out, okay. How do I make it happen? It takes another job to find out more about how to make it happen. I don’t know how she’s got the energy to run. It’s clearly very, very busy for her.
Mark Jones: That’s right and they’re on this journey, still being a young organisation, of course, learning how to scale up an idea. Another thing of course is the storytelling angle, talking about how marketing has a lot to do with sales but interwoven in that is the story, emotional hook and how you reach your right audience, and how you reach your right audience by bringing all of that together. It’s a big challenge, but I do hope that you’ve learned a lot from the conversation and be inspired.
Nicole Manktelow: I’m inspired to talk about this sort of thing a lot more now and I’m inspired by Sam’s ability to hold herself steady, to have the conversations that are so personal with people who really need it and also the folks who around the periphery, we know our friends and loved ones have suffered this as well. We don’t know what to say and she’s helping with that, too.
Mark Jones: I think there’s a lot of power in breaking down the mystique around taboo topics.
Nicole Manktelow: Yes. Indeed.
Mark Jones: So giving people practical tools and encouragement to actually enter into these conversations are really important.
Nicole Manktelow: The payback from that is of course people walk away going, “I learned something.”
Mark Jones: Yes.
Nicole Manktelow: So, all of a sudden, you’ve given people something so then perhaps they will support you more.
Mark Jones: Yeah. It’s marketing that does good, ay?
Nicole Manktelow: Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy?
Mark Jones: Yeah.
Mark Jones: Well done. Hey, thanks for joining us on this episode of the CMO show. We’ve enjoyed having you along for the storytelling ride and I encourage you to go to our website, check us out on your favourite podcast aggregator of choice. Subscribe. Tell your friends. Tell your mother. And we will see you next time.
Mark Jones: One of my favourite storytelling quotes is from Ira Glass of This American Life fame and he has this quite popular quote is, “Great stories happen to those who can tell them,” and I think as I reflect on that one, we think there must be someone else who’s better than me at telling the story, but I think the inspirational thing about this particular quote is that all of us tell stories, all of the time, every day. It’s actually part of what it means to be human, so I think the invitation from Ira Glass is to invest in understanding the power of story and what are the types of storytelling narrative that really get your point across?
Mark Jones: The CMO Show is a podcast produced by Filtered Media and a quick shoutout to our incredible team Candice Witton, Charlotte Goodwin, Ewan Miller.
Nicole Manktelow: And our engineering wizards: Tom Henderson and Daniel Marr.
Mark Jones: You guys are the best!