The word “marketing” is almost a curse word in government.
For many it conjures up ideas of waste, fraud, and
abuse. In 2010, the UK government actually banned advertising and marketing spending as part of cost savings measures.
However, I’m a big believer that government needs to market & advertise. Just like any organization (non-profit, for-profit), government needs to let citizens know about what services and offerings they provide.
That’s why I loved seeing this in Philadelphia – “Where’s My SEPTA: Regional rail app sees 1,000% growth after outreach”
The story talks about how after Code for America designed outreach and marketing materials for two local app winners and SEPTA paid for broad distribution of the promotion – there was 1,000+ growth in app use.
Too often, we build it and hope citizens come. We build great services and programs, apps in hackathons and juust hope they take off.
I hope more cities follow the Philadelphia model and advertise the winners of their hackathons and challenges. Cities have advertising space they already own (like public transportation space and billboards) that they can leverage.
The goal isn’t to build cool citizen engagement tools. The goal is s to get large amounts of people to adopt new citizen engagement tools to make their cities better.