Relationship marketing is the process
of attracting, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with key
people. This concept is important now and will become increasingly
important as competition for shrinking financial resources on
all government levels escalates. It is not enough to let our quality
programs speak for us. There is a continuous need to raise Extension's
credibility with decision-makers who no longer know Extension.
Relationship marketing is not just
limited to elected officials. It is also important that grass
roots citizens value and support Extension. It is in communities
where quality programs help improve the lives of everyday people.
This is where Extension impacts are made and shared. Key leaders
of target populations should be another focus of relationship
The following roles describe how an advisory leader could be involved
with relationship marketing. With four core roles and numerous
others within each category, each advisory leader can select what
they are comfortable doing.
The Ambassador role can be taken on by lots of people. It is primarily
the business of spreading good will and information about Extension
· Speaking to your church about a new 4-H program for character
· Provide the 4-H agent with names of prospective leaders
for a 4-H club
· Set up an extension display for a community field day
or barbecue chicken dinner
Ambassadors enjoy networking and generally leave a good impression
about their organization so people are curious to learn more.
Door Openers are behind the scene workers who are willing to provide
information about leaders and lend their own name of influence.
Extension often needs to identify individuals who are relatives,
close friends, business associates or golf buddies of key leaders
or elected officials. Advisory leaders can help form a network
of people who can influence just the right person. In a community
a "door-opener" is one who would make a phone call to
the right person to allow Extension to use a facility at no charge
for a 4-H activity or educational program. Door-openers make the
most of their networks and prove the adage "It's not what
you know but whom you know".
Cultivators are those people who do the warm-up in social and
sometimes formal situations. An example of this is when an advisory
leader invites the county commissioners and other key leaders
to his mountain cabin/retreat for an annual pig pickin or other
festive occasion. The cultivator creates the setting for informal
exchanges of business to occur. There are generally limited numbers
of cultivators and they enjoy using their social circles to set
the stage for productive things to happen.
The "solicitor" is in a position to make the "ask"
and be successful. They will want to have all their questions
answered before doing this role. There is some risk taken on their
part, so they want to be well informed on all issues. An example
of how an advisory leader performs this role would be asking a
friend and high government leader to speak at a regional advisory
leadership conference. Another example would be for an advisory
leader to accompany state Extension Administrators to Capitol
Hill to visit his Congressman to request support for Extension
and Research initiatives.
each person the Handout "Relationship Marketing Roles
Checklist" and ask them to complete.
into small groups of three or four people each and ask them
Use the PowerPoint "Relationship
Marketing" visuals to present the lecture. Use the notes
pages to guide you in the presentation.
back to the checklist they completed and ask for a show of
hands of who checked the following items associated with each
- 1-3 items = Ambassador
= Door Opener
- 6-7 items = Cultivator
- 8-9 items = Solicitor
Distribute the Handout "Relationship
Marketing Needs Assessment" and ask them complete.
the items on the assessment the group perceives to be highest
small groups, brainstorm strategies that would bridge relationship
a few minutes, distribute the Handout "Relationship Marketing
Strategies for Extension Advisory Councils" to stimulate
concensus for the strategies the group feels most prepared
to do initially.
Gary J. Stern, 1997. Mobilizing People for Marketing Success.
Amerst H. Wilder Foundation.
Strengthening Extension Advisory Leadership; Southeast Advisory
Leadership Conference. Ed. Judy M. Groff, NC Cooperative Extension,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.
G. Boyle. 1996. Buildiing Political Support for Extension in the
21st Century. Prepared for the Extension Committee on Organization