The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall


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Maine PR

The Value of a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing can be expensive, especially if you have no idea where it’s taking you or what you are getting in return for your investment.

I’ve seen way too many companies and organizations flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing. They tend to do the same things they’ve always done, like advertise in the Yellow Pages or sponsor the local Little League team, in the hopes that these things will get them the results they’re after.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity, right?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. Does your company’s marketing program fit this definition? I hope not.

When it comes to nailing down specific, measurable goals that will direct a marketing effort, most organizations don’t even know what kind of results they want. Just hoping to create more business is not specific enough. For the past 14 years, my agency has been developing strategic marketing communications plans, branded The Marshall Plan™, to help our clients develop attainable marketing goals and the tools needed to successfully achieve them. Over the years, we have developed plans for many different industry sectors, including non-profit, information technology, banking, government, legal, tourism, academia, economic development, and more.

We’ve witnessed some amazing results with these plans for numerous reasons, namely:

  • The three-month process brings together the key stakeholders of an organization (management team, board of directors, front-line staff people) to work together with NMC to carefully define their goals, determine their realistic marketing budget and decide what resources can be allocated to achieving the goals. For many organizations, having an outside agency impose this process is exactly what they need to make crucial decisions that will guide the organization into the future.
  • The process starts with a three-hour Discovery Meeting during which the NMC team guides stakeholders through a thoughtful discussion about goals, strategy, tactics and resources.
  • Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is just plain SMART.  The Marshall Plan™ process includes SMART goal setting.
  • The process also includes a thorough competitive analysis, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and analysis of what has and has not worked in the past.
  • A detailed list of tactics (social media, website restructuring, media relations, marketing, advertising, public outreach, sales, and more) designed to reach specific goals is created and vetted by the group during a mid-term review meeting.
  • During the final four to six weeks of the process, NMC finalizes the tactics based on feedback received at the mid-term meeting and develops a timeline, budget, measurement dashboards and a variety of marketing tools such as media lists, press release templates, and stakeholder contact lists that will enable our client to hit the ground running when it comes to implementation.
  • The final meeting is a time to review the plan, celebrate the accomplishments and make some big decisions about next steps. Every plan is designed so it can be either implemented by NMC, the organization itself, or another agency.


Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

The Marshall Plan™ ensures your marketing dollars will be well invested rather than just spent. It serves as a highly detailed road map toward successful growth for any business or nonprofit.  In the 14 years we’ve been creating Marshall Plans™, we have seen organizations totally embrace the process and the opportunity to improve their marketing and communications.

It is extremely rewarding for me as an agency owner to work with a client on one of these plans which, if fully utilized, offer guaranteed success in helping an organization grow and prosper.

KVYMCA Goes Social

KVYMCA CEO, Mark Yerrick

Organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club are prominent within their communities for families and teens—promoting positive self-image and high self-esteem for young adults. The local Kennebec Valley YMCA has the same goals, and CEO Mark Yerrick says, “I am honored to be able to work with people dedicated to improving their community.”

Yerrick first joined the KVYMCA as a member in 1986, and his children learned to swim at the old location on Winthrop Street, next to the Augusta courthouse. By the 1990’s he was elected to the Board of Directors and served one three-year term, and it was only natural that he would apply for the CEO position when it became available in 2008.

Since beginning his role as the CEO in June of 2008, Mark says that social media has played an increasing role in the way the organization connects with their community. “We have to reach out to consumers in the way they want to be reached. The days of phone calls, direct mail and newspaper advertising are dwindling. Social media is quickly become the best resource for us,” he says.

Nonprofit organizations like the KVYMCA are limited when it comes to funding advertising campaigns, which is why social media is increasingly vital to their success. Yerrick says, “The volunteers on our marketing committee are a huge asset to us. They have worked on developing our online presence—we now use our Facebook page to announce special events, and to build our membership.”

The most influential marketing tool available to the KVYMCA comes from Olympian and Maine native, Julia Clukey. Last year, she developed Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls, a two-week program that promotes healthy relationships between girls of all ages. Mark says, “Julia has been involved at every level—from training with other counselors, planning the curriculum, and assisting us with interviewing potential staff members. Her enthusiasm is exciting for all of us!” Last year, Clukey’s camp was incredibly successful bringing in more than 90 girls for that program alone and they are hoping for an even greater turnout this summer since Julia will be heading to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Mark Yerrick and Julia Clukey announce Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls program last year.

The most challenging part of running a successful nonprofit organization like the KVYMCA is finding balance in the multiple hats each person has to wear every day. This is a challenge Mark has willingly accepted and credits an incredible team and Board of Directors for the success of their programs and facility. He says the key to success comes from the team as a whole stating, “You have to surround yourself with quality staff members that are experts in their fields. There is nothing more valuable than the professional men and women who give their time to assure that the KVYMCA is a quality organization for our community.”

To learn more about membership and to see how you can participate in their upcoming programs, please check out their website at, or like them on Facebook today

We Love Staff Meetings

Happy Friday!

The staff at NMC believes that every day is a good day, especially when there is cake involved.

Cake always makes staff meetings better.

This beauty was baked by our very own Vice President/General Manager, Charlene Williams. The cake was filled with fresh fruit and pecans; topped with a homemade icing, and the perfect complement to our morning coffee.

Charlene always makes us delicious treats. Around the holidays she is often referred to as the office elf because you never know what scrumptious treats, wrapped with ribbon, will be on your desk in the morning.

The NMC staff hopes your weekend is filled with food, family and fun.


Let The Good Times Roll

Wrap N’ Roll Creator and Owner, Avery Richter

The best things happen when you least expect it—that’s the motto that best describes the success of this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Avery Richter. Little did she know that when she transformed a business idea into reality as a requirement for graduation, it would grow into what Wrap N’ Roll is now. Richter says, “I honestly didn’t think that far in advance; I thought of it as a way to be able to get a hands-on experience of owning and managing my own small business. I never expected it to grow this quickly!”

Across the country there is a growing trend in buying local, and Wrap n’ Roll fits the mold perfectly. Avery provides homemade sweets that are sold every Sunday throughout the summer at the Belgrade Lakes Market; not to mention the scrumptious menu of items available from her food truck Tuesday through Sunday in the summer featuring locally-grown products, and year-round catering services.

Richter takes pride in owning a local business and is always looking for ways to give back to her community. It’s no surprise that when she was asked to join the board for the Belgrade Community Center she immediately took on the role. Richter says, “The employees of the community center have always been very loyal and supportive of my food truck. I have donated food to their October Fest and Father, Daughter Dance. I also thought joining the board would be a great way to serve the community I grew up in.”

A program that means a lot to Avery is the teen cooking class she is teaching. The class takes place over the course of six weeks and is designed to teach the students how to create healthy recipes that are easy to make at home. The recipes range from cupcakes and smoothies to sushi and burritos. Wrap N’ Roll has truly become a fixture in the community.

A rockin’ day in the Wrap N’ Roll food truck!

All of the exposure of Richter’s business would not have been possible without the integration of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Avery says, “They are essential to a business like mine! You can’t beat free marketing! Everyone uses social media as a part of their daily routine, and it makes communicating with more people and businesses so much easier.” She loves that she can easily share what she is doing with her customers through a post, but more importantly, she loves the networking that occurs on social media between small businesses in the area. She adds, “I’ve found that social media is a great way to support each other by sharing what they’re doing, and what we’re doing together.”

Facebook has been a major push for Wrap n’ Roll. Richter receives messages from customers about their positive experiences with the business, and the photos she posts from catering events are frequently shared by hundreds of people. The posts featuring the “S.O.T.D” (special of the day) or new arrivals are popular and lunch is frequently requested as ‘that sandwich you posted on Facebook this morning’. Avery says that she enjoys using social media and knows that it will continue to help her business grow.

So what’s next for Wrap N’ Roll? This summer you can enjoy the food truck in Belgrade, Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will be featuring Boar’s Head meats, and eggs from Emery Farm in Wayne, Maine. Richter says, “I have such a passion for food and am glad that Wrap N’ Roll is allowing me to share that passion with others.”

The official Wrap N’ Roll food truck in Belgrade last fall.

To find out more about Avery and her team, or to request Wrap N’ Roll to cater your next event, check out their Facebook page HERE.

Telling Your Story and Defining Your Brand

This morning I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to an engaged group of people involved with early childhood education and family services at the Augusta Civic Center. Called “Engaged Communities, Growing Small Children,” the conference focused around a book called “The Charismatic Organization, 8 Ways to Grow a Nonprofit,” by Shirley Sagawa. I tied my presentation in to Shirley’s book by talking about how organizations can engage themselves better with their communities through effective communications if they share their stories and newsworthy events on an ongoing basis. Continue reading “Telling Your Story and Defining Your Brand” »

Why PR People are Naturals when it comes to Search Engine Optimization

When I first learned about Search Engine Optimization(SEO), I was working with a Maine whitewater rafting company that had their accountant optimizing their site for them in his spare time. He was able to easily baffle me by talking about the logarithms for each of the search engines. This was at least 10 years ago, back around the time that we were spending a lot of time worrying about how all our computers were going to crash with the onset of Y2K.  Back then, we didn’t think about Google as much as we did Yahoo, Alta Vista, and even AskJeeves. Today, Google rules the roost when it comes to SEO.

Being a typical PR person, I have always thought more about words and images than about numbers. So when I even heard the word “logarithm,” I was immediately convinced that I would never be able to “do” SEO. The accountant easily convinced me that I needed to pay him to do it for my own site and my clients’ sites. Continue reading “Why PR People are Naturals when it comes to Search Engine Optimization” »