Disclaimer: This text is based on Harvard Business School article about ‘‘The Note on Marketing Strategy’’ (HBS No. 598-061).
“The Note on Marketing Strategy” (HBS No. 598-061) explains that “effective marketing strategy requires an integrated communications plan…” since the communication program should establish the customer’s “awareness of the product, knowledge about its features, interest in purchasing, likelihood of trying the product and or purchasing it.” If we observe the organization of your Model UN through this framework, it becomes obvious that with careful planning and adequate execution all steps in the communication program can be conducted appropriately.
For example, in order to make your customers i.e. both visitors and sponsors aware of your product you have several online and offline options. Your website and social media tools help you to build your presence and to inform your audience about upcoming activities. Then, a specializing platform such as MUN:Planet is your ally in raising awareness about your Model UN because you can provide the carefully selected information for the targeted audience on a global scale. The word-of-mouth, interviews in local and international media, posters, leaflets and newsletters are another tools so that you can really leverage your marketing potential.
Once your users are aware that your product i.e. Model UN exists, it’s time to let them know about the specific features of the product. There are many different types of customers, but if they reach this stage, they will like to familiarize themselves with specific aspects of your Model UN in their own style and at their own pace. They will probably compare your MUN to competition, i.e. different MUNs or diverse international conferences. During this stage and the previous one – awareness raising everyone involved operates on a cognitive level. Right now it is important for customers to see and realize why your product is better, more functional and interesting to other substitutes on the market which are other MUNs, conferences or opportunities for professional development.
Slowly but surely, our customers go through the affective stage in the arena of emotions where we deal with Liking, Preferences and Conviction. Customers learnt about our MUN and they developed an interest to proceed with this experience. They come back to our landing page, try to find people from their region or social circle who attended our MUN, or they look at our event photos. Along the way, they realized that they like it and they truly developed interest for our product. They want to become part of it. Now they are more than just a supporter, Twitter follower or a friend from neighborhood who saw that something was happening in their hometown, but they were too shy to get involved. Now that positive emotions are attached to your MUN, the interest in closing a deal and purchasing your product is higher.
Before definitely buying your product, i.e. deciding to attend your Model UN, your almost convicted customers will not mind having a test drive, i.e. trying a bit of your MUN experience for free. You can use various strategies so that your delegates try your MUN to some extent before they definitely purchase MUN attendance from you. One of the ways to enable an MUN test drive is to provide a position paper in the application form so that your future delegates learn about your academic requirements. Another example is to organize a competition via social media or even to award the best international candidates with a Chairperson position. In that way your MUN gains marketing momentum and people are closer to move on from the Affective stage to the Behavioral stage: purchase.
Cover Image: The ABCs of Affect, Behavior, and Cognition