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Charting Success: Navigating Marketing Maturity for Mission-Driven Organizations

This spring, Mighty Citizen proudly released its inaugural report, Marketing Benchmarks for Mission-Driven Organizations based on the nearly 450 responses to The Mighty GPS™, our self-assessment for measuring your organization’s marketing maturity. The report showcases how effective associations, nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies are related to their current marketing efforts across six key marketing categories.

You can download and read the full report here:

Knowing how busy our readers are, we thought a “Cliffs Notes” version of the report in the form of an article might be helpful. Here, we’ll cover high-level insights, trends, and important correlations. As we approach planning season, it’s an ideal time to take The Mighty GPS, review our marketing benchmarks, and start outlining preliminary plans for 2024, including next steps, goals, and metrics.

Mighty Insights

Insights, delivered.

Here is a quick refresher on the stages and scoring parameters of marketing maturity, along with the six marketing categories measured within The Mighty GPS:

Marketing Maturity Stages:

  • Crawling: 0-39

  • Walking: 40-59

  • Running: 60-80

  • Soaring: 81-100

The Mighty GPS Marketing Categories:

  1. Research & Analytics

  2. Branding & Strategy

  3. Marketing & SEO

  4. UX Design & Content

  5. Technology

  6. Team Dynamics

Mission-Driven Progress Report

Generally, mission-driven organizations are in just a decent spot with their marketing maturity. Most organizations are in the Walking stage of maturity, with an average score of 56.2 out of 100, indicating that most have a strong foundation but often need more strategic documentation, audience research, and organizational alignment. Research & Analytics was by far the weakest marketing category measured across every audience, averaging overall in the Crawling stage at 35.2 out of 100. In contrast, Team Dynamics was the highest scoring category across all mission-driven organizations, with an average in the Running stage at 68.2 out of 100. Data from this category demonstrates impressive project completion records, foundational trust in building relationships, and a variety of skills represented within marketing departments.

Unlocking Correlations

Our data suggests that with the right amount of time, effort, and dedication to certain areas of marketing, your overall marketing maturity or effectiveness can soar. Higher marketing maturity scores correlate with better investment access, creativity, boldness, and mission fulfillment. The most effective marketing organizations set measurable goals, prioritize marketing, and allocate sufficient budgets. They utilize messaging platforms, communication plans, strong content strategies, and seamless technology integration. Persona-driven decisions and audience feedback further enhance their effectiveness and help them be the best version of themselves. Here is a breakdown of the strongest correlations:

  • 30 points higher in marketing maturity: Set specific, measurable goals for their marketing efforts.

  • 23 points higher in marketing maturity: Have leaders who view marketing as a critical component to their success.

  • 21 points higher in marketing maturity: Have a sufficient marketing budget to reach their goals.

  • 19 points higher in marketing maturity: Use a messaging platform and have a documented written communications plan.

  • 19 points higher in marketing maturity: Have a strong content strategy and structure in place.

  • 19 points higher in marketing maturity: Maximize the use of their Marketing Automation Platform (MAP).

  • 17 points higher in marketing maturity: Have tech systems seamlessly integrated.

  • 17 points higher in marketing maturity: Create personas and user journeys to inform marketing decisions.

  • 14 points higher in marketing maturity: Conduct audience surveys and interviews to inform marketing decisions.

Breakout Stats


Nonprofit organizations, the largest group represented in data from The Mighty GPS, averaged a marketing maturity score of 55.6 out of 100—in the Walking stage. Those who scored in the Soaring stage have an average annual marketing budget of $75,000, requiring resourcefulness and efficiency. Nonprofits spending $100,000 to $500,000 annually on marketing see the highest maturity scores, followed by those spending $50,000 to $100,000.


Overall, associations who took The Mighty GPS averaged in the Walking stage but with a slightly higher score than nonprofits at 58.1 out of 100. Soaring associations have an average annual marketing budget of $50,000, showcasing their efficiency and resourcefulness. And associations spending $50,000 to $100,000 annually on marketing see the highest maturity scores, followed by those spending between $500,000 and $1 million.


Education institutions outperform mission-driven organizations in all categories except UX Design & Content and Technology, with an overall score of 57.1 out of 100—also in the Walking stage. Those spending between $100,000 and $500,000 annually on marketing achieve the highest marketing maturity scores, while institutions in the Soaring stage have an average marketing budget of around $100,000 per year.

Other Mighty Takeaways & Insights

Research & Analytics

A robust research strategy can reveal untapped audience segments and identify disconnects. Research & Analytics saw the lowest score across every category measured, at a Crawling stage of 35.2 out of 100. The struggles lie in all facets of Research & Analytics, including audience surveys, interviews, focus groups, website usability testing, and using research-based personas to inform marketing decisions. We know it’s hard to stop your day-to-day to focus on research, but it’s the most critical step to take if you want to optimize your marketing efforts. Prioritizing improvements in these areas can quickly elevate an organization from the Crawling stage of marketing maturity to Walking or even the Running stage of marketing maturity.

Branding & Strategy

Messaging and documenting your communications plans are challenging aspects of brand strategy. Most organizations need help in these areas to excel. Although visual brand standards are firm, organizations who leverage messaging platforms for consensus and consistency, along with a written communications plan, see overall marketing maturity scores that are 19 points higher. These strategies are vital for organizations looking to reach higher marketing maturity levels.

Marketing & SEO

Organizations utilize digital media to reach audiences but fail to measure effectiveness, scoring 55.1 out of 100 in this category—the second weakest area after Research & Analytics. While most organizations say they use digital media, many miss essential elements like SEO-driven content, setting specific, measurable marketing goals (28% of respondents say they never set goals!), and a documented social media strategy. Organizations can boost their marketing maturity score by 30 points in these areas if they prioritize tracking and setting measurable objectives, which leads to more effective digital outreach and strategic decision-making.

UX Design & Content

Organizations feel confident about their website’s accessibility and user experience but lack a strong content strategy and structure. While all mission-driven organizations produce content, their quality, consistency, and deployment vary widely. For instance, 37% never hire experienced writers, hindering emotional connection and critical thinking. Additionally, 47% are only maintaining a content plan some of the time, and 67% never follow a documented content governance plan. Implementing a robust content strategy and structure, including style guidelines, editorial calendar, and governance, can boost marketing maturity by an average of 19 points.


It’s simple—achieving a consistent, seamless online experience with the right technology boosts revenue and engagement. Most organizations score in the Walking stage of Technology with a score of 57.4 out of 100. Leveraging the potential of a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) and integrating MarTech systems enhances marketing power and efficiency, which can help elevate organizations from the Walking to Running stage of marketing maturity (a boost of 17-19 points!), not to mention the ability to offer a superior online experience.

Team Dynamics

Team Dynamics is the strongest category for mission-driven organizations, which is great news! While most leaders see marketing as critical to their organization’s overall success, 32% of respondents did report that their marketing budget isn’t large enough to support their goals. If you’re in this group, never fear! We recommend you hone in on the initiatives that can propel you toward your goals. Focusing on critical initiatives backed by funding and ensuring strategic alignment will significantly improve your marketing effectiveness.

What’s Next?

We’re just getting started! We’ll continue collecting data to provide more comprehensive mission-driven marketing insights and benchmarks. In 2024, we’ll compare year-over-year data and have more robust audience-specific reporting—and maybe, just maybe, a peer-to-peer comparison tool to use after you take The Mighty GPS. Our goal is to allow you to filter based on audience, marketing budget, and more to see how your scores compare to organizations like yours.

Also, be on the lookout for a webinar invitation soon! On August 17th, our Director of Brand Marketing, Brianna Martin, and Senior Marketing Manager, Jarrett Way, will host a webinar covering the report’s key trends and insights in more detail and actionable recommendations to help mission-driven organizations reach higher marketing maturity and fulfill their mission. Sign up for Insights to make sure you don’t miss the invite.

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