What Public Sector Marketing Can Learn from Marketing at the BoP

How a participant is using +Acumen courses to drive change in the community

July 23, 2015

Ishrat Taleb has an insatiable curiosity and desire to do good more effectively. By day she is the Director of Development for Health and Human Services for the City of New York. By night she is a knowledge-sponge, studying for her MBA, and participating in +Acumen online courses.

When Ishrat began her MBA, she was looking to upgrade her skill set. As she continued through her coursework, she grew curious about two terms she started hearing more and more frequently: social innovation and social entrepreneurship - as a way to be more effective in her public sector work. Seeking resources, she came across the +Acumen courses and signed up for Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid. Since then, Ishrat has participated in six +Acumen courses!

"Even though Acumen’s work is in far off regions, there are tons of parallels when it comes to public sector marketing. There are underutilized programs here in New York because they’re not marketed well.”

With new found confidence, Ishrat saw an opening for how she could use what she was learning in her +Acumen courses at work and seized it. At her request, she was placed on a working group that was looking to improve the marketing for a program underused by senior New Yorkers. The program in focus was SNAP, a food assistance program that if utilized, could serve many low-income senior citizens who don’t have consistent access or means of acquiring nutritious meals.

public sector marketing

Backed by the insights she gained in the marketing course, Ishrat introduced the concept of “user stories” to the team. The working group reached out to existing program participants to learn how SNAP had helped them. Using the language and stories they learned from their customers they created a new campaign called FoodHelp.nyc to market the SNAP program more effectively to seniors.

public sector marketing

The campaign launched in April 2015 and puts a human face to who and how the program has helped New Yorkers across all ages. This campaign was part of a larger initiative to increase enrollment into SNAP so the results aren’t available just yet. But you can experience their work for yourself in a subway car near you (if you’re located in New York).

 "To be able to have these courses to upgrade myself is so helpful.”

Ishrat’s personal +Acumen curriculum has also included Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered DesignStorytelling for ChangeFinancial Modeling for Nonprofits and Social Enterprises, and Making Sense of Social Impact.

How are you using +Acumen courses to drive change in your community? Let us know at courses@plusacumen.org.

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