February is Citizen Science Month and to help spread the word we’ve created some “badges” in three sizes that you can put on your blog or website.
But citizen science wasn’t invented by us. All year long it is important to promote bird conservation through the work of regular people, specifically people who like birds (most commonly known as birders). The following are various marketing methods and their effectiveness of promoting bird conservation.
- Newspapers – Newspapers are a reliable source for local upcoming events. They can offer free publicity and are usually willing to promote environmental happenings. While still read by many people, tidbits of news can get lost in the crowd and ads can be pricey. Also, not everyone gets the paper every day. Overall, newspapers have declined in their possible effectiveness but can still be a good resource to promote citizen science projects.
- Radio – Radio can be an excellent way to get the word out without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, radio ads for citizen science might not have much stickiness. However, getting local stations involved in a public event can get a lot of publicity that would spread into other mediums. Radio ads must be extremely creative since they lack the aid of visuals.
- Television – How many TV bird ads have you seen lately? The cost to create and then distribute a citizen science bird conservation project ad is what inhibits this medium’s usage. Otherwise, television is an excellent way to grab a lot of eyeballs and spread the word. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) could possibly be used, especially with hot topics like those involving global warming.
- Internet – The internet is truly a marvel in technology and a goldmine for marketers. What other medium allows for such targeted marketing at such a low cost (almost free at times)? The answer is none. Yet in the bird conservation world, the internet is still underutilized. Birding blogs have taken up the slack of “big bird conservation companies” and are a great way to spread information and mobilize people into action. But more is needed to unleash the true power of internet bird conservation promotion.
- Billboards – Nostalgic and often ugly, billboards can be great attention grabbers, or not. Their use for promoting bird conservation and citizen science is definitely hit-or-miss. However, certain places could most certainly benefit from their use and do. By Horicon Marsh NWR in Wisconsin, they use billboards to show how many animals have been killed each year by vehicles. They are attention grabbing but not the answer to reducing the traffic speed.
- Magazines – Birding magazines along with other outdoor magazines can be effective at promoting citizen science. Their readers are highly targeted and in most birding magazines, the ads are read quite often since birders are often looking at new tools and places to go birding.
- Direct Mail – Being inundated with junk mail is irritating. Having that junk mail be a cause of the destruction of the Boreal forest is despicable. But, direct mail (if made from recycled paper) is a good way to get the word out for citizen science. When well done, direct mail campaigns provide a personal touch to otherwise impersonal advertising. Unfortunately, the cost of doing such campaigns is high and the effort time consuming.
- Word-of-Mouth – Word-of-mouth would be the marketer’s top choice of promotion except for one problem: there is little control over how the word spreads. But the right people sending the right messages: a teacher to their students, a parent to their child, or a friend to a friend, and citizen science project ideas will spread like a prairie fire.
This list is by no means complete because there are a multitude of ways to market bird conservation. This list is also in no particular order. In the upcoming weeks, months, and years we will continue to discuss ways to promote birding, bird conservation, and citizen science. Areas like viral marketing, social marketing, guerrilla marketing, and much much more.