In 2008 the American Marketing Association released their newest definition of marketing, as follows:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
If we as bird conservationists wish to increase our ranks, we should apply this new definition to promoting bird conservation. So let’s break this definition down.
“…activity, set of institutions, and processes…”
Promoting bird conservation requires action from a wide array of sources: teachers and schools are essential to getting the word out on how important birds are and why the conservation of them is so important. Along with teachers are parents, the government, and of course the birding community as a whole.
One of the most important things the birding community must realize is that every time we as birders are in the public, we are representing bird conservation. Every time a list-serv discussion turns into a name-calling, whiny display of immaturity, new birders are lost. Each time a photographer is scolded in the field for “getting to close”, another conservationist might be lost.
“…creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value…”
Blogging has afforded many birders with the opportunity to easily create, communicate, deliver, and exchange their thoughts and ideas. Whether these all have value is up for interpretation, but the tools are available for anyone with an idea to reach others.
Bird conservationists must capitalize on this medium but not just to reach other bloggers. Many websites positioned to promote the wonderful birding places we have do a terrible job of connecting. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a prime example of a whole series of websites that are mismatched and poorly displayed. Many barely illustrate why anyone would want to go there. If a curious person wants to enjoy nature in a new place yet can’t find out any real information online, they may not be able to find it anywhere else.
“…for customers, clients, partners, and society at large…”
Who are we creating value for? Bird conservation efforts benefit customers – those that hike, camp, photograph, etc. but aren’t “true” birders. Clients are those that profit off bird conservation or the byproduct of it: natural environments for people to enjoy (with their thousands of dollars worth of equipment).
Partners are us birders. We have a direct claim in the fact that there are places to go birding. But if we are unaware of bird conservation efforts in need of volunteers, citizen science projects, policy changes, etc. it makes acting on these impossible.
Lastly, bird conservation marketing requires value to society at large. There has been and always will be millions of people who don’t care and won’t help. Yet, society will always benefit more by having natural places, clean air and water, and wildlife diversity than without.
The new marketing definition can easily be applied to bird conservation but in order to save birds, we must all be proactive in our approach to reach some lofty goals.
“To truly be a bird conservationist is to preserve land not only at home but in places you may never visit.” –Eddie Callaway, Birdfreak