Differentiation in Charity DM

Charity Differentiation

A very strange phenomenon has occurred in the charity space, everybody is copying each other. Donors are receiving mail packs from a number of very different charities and they all virtually look the same. Charities need to step out from the norm to differentiate, ensuring maximum retention of their message and the highest total number of donations. We have compiled a few tips to help achieve differentiation:

What ‘business’ are you in?

Consider what business you’re in- what you do that is special that other charities don’t do, or perhaps don’t focus on. It is differentiation 101- what do I do (or can I do) that my competitors don’t do?

From there make sure that this is communicated clearly, and consider using this angle as a way to generate copy, creative and concepts for your direct marketing material.

Kicking goals

What have you achieved and what are you trying to achieve. This is similar to ‘what business you are in’ but more goal-orientated. You can differentiate you message and your pack foo each campaign depending on your overall goal. If you are trying to supply 1,000,000 people with a clean water source, or build a new cancer facility- make that your stand out point.

Add a little personality

What is your brand personality? We wrote a blog (add hyperlink to blog) not too long ago about adding personality to charity marketing communications. Brand personality is one of the best ways to differentiate you overall creative theme, followed by your goal for each individual campaign.

(hyperlink: https://theduckprimeprospects.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/adding-personality-to-charity-marketing-communications/)

Go for the heart

Emotion is what draws people to a cause and emotions will help you differentiate from other charities. How you make a donor feel will resonate with them for longer, you can do this by telling your special story with emotion. This will ultimately mean you don’t need to ask for money, people will feel compelled to donate.

Who is your audience?

Consider who your target audience is, not the typical ‘charity donor’, or who your competitors audiences are, who are your donors?

Who are you speaking to is very important and will influence the way you can differentiate as well. Ensure that you tailor messages to each segment you are talking to create differentiate even between you own DM packs.

Got any tips we have missed? How do you differentiate your fundraising communications?

The Evolution of the way we use Data

The Evolution of the way we use Data

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Evolution is fundamental to human existence, it is also fundamental to business existence. Businesses that do not evolve to the opportunities of tomorrow will be left behind. This is particularly important for the way they use data.

The way in which data can contribute to effective marketing is astonishing, and the technology and future technologies that are/will be available regarding data are evolving at a rapid pace. The world’s technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s, and as of 2012, every day 2.5 exabytes of data are created. This goes to demonstrate the growing opportunities and capabilities for data in the future.

Let’s take a look back to the way the use of data for business growth has evolved over time:

1950’s – 80’s: Handwritten notes, internal discussion

Letting the new employee know that Mrs Smith is a regular and you can discount the bananas to 1 pound per kilo, is an example of the beginnings of using data for business growth.

So this might not be ‘data’ in the exact sense, but the passing of this customer information was the foundation of data capture and loyalty marketing best practise. It was about making sure the ‘Mrs Smith’s’ of the world kept coming back to buy from you.

1980’s – 90’s: Contact lists and spreadsheets

We’re talking handwritten, old school notes, and spreadsheets for keeping your entire customer contact information together. This was data capture in its crudest form and it was the beginning of something beautiful. Diaries and address books, with notes scribbled in the margin, they were simpler times.

1990’s – Present: Third party data

Acquiring data through third party sources has been around for a while; however third party data and its application is something that is still evolving today. Third party data can be used for acquisition- having more prospects to contact, as well as for enhancing, cleaning and better understanding your own database.

2000’s – Present: CRM systems

CRM systems involve using technology to organise, automate, and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. These systems are highly intelligent and the love child of customer orientation and technology.

2010 – Present: Big data

The term ‘big data’ seemed to really hit its stride in the late naughties. Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.

The challenge for large enterprises is determining who should own big data initiatives that connect the entire organisation.

2015 – Content is King

B2B buyers are now engaging in self-educating behavior, which is forcing marketers to adapt from outbound, or push, marketing techniques, such as print advertising or direct mail, to inbound, or pull, techniques, like websites or blogging. Rapid technology changes provide a range of options for marketers these days and finding the right channel mix  is still as important today as it’s ever been.

The Future…

Data technologies will continue to grow rapidly, it will be important to invest in these technologies, move with the times, and learn from those around you.

2015 B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report – How does your data stack up?

The 2015 Annual B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Report has been released and it is a fantastic reference to get a better understanding of the state of marketing data in B2B. For the full report click this link.

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Some of the results of this report were a little concerning. A small snap shot of some of the findings are shown below which made us begin to question where the future of B2B marketing data is headed…

The Present

According to the report people are losing trust in B2B data and this is in large part due to the questionable data that they have access to at the moment. For a business to use incorrect data it can be a big risk for the brand, due to damage of that cause for customer perception.

The report also stated that important information such as revenue and industry data are not being collected for a lot of B2B data. This kind of information is becoming increasingly important for effective B2B communications.

The good news is that people are moving toward investing in technology and using multiple channels to target buyers.

The Future

To avoid this decline in data quality and data trust, it will be important for businesses to invest in a complete marketing data strategy. This will ensure that the correct procedures are in place for data collection and use.

It will also be important in the future to utilise marketing automation technology to the best of its ability. This will make a big difference in the direction of B2B marketing data. With so many tools at our disposal to improve data quality , there is no excuse for poor customer data quality.

The best advice we have heard ‘the best time to start is 5 years ago; the second best time is now’. So get started and let’s make the future for B2B data a great one!

Lead Generation – What is it really?

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So you want to generate leads. Firstly, you need to ask yourself, what is lead generation to you?

In the broad sense lead generation is any marketing activity that provides your business with potential customers (prospects). These prospects can be driven to you through a variety of marketing channels, including but not only: mail, email, display, surveys, television, cold-calling, printed publications, and more.

So really lead generation can be considered simple marketing, however in our experience this is not the general consensus of what lead generation is and so far the understanding of what lead generation really is has been split.

Below are some of the ideas of what people are expecting when they ask for lead generation:

Prospects who have specifically said they want to be contacted by the organisation to either purchase or donate.

This type of lead is usually generated through a survey platform, whether that be: online, via mail or face to face. This process involves simply asking a targeted number of people if they are interested in purchasing/ donating and if they would like to be contacted.

More often than not this is what organisation want when they say lead generation. It certainly cuts to the chase, the only downfall is that you reduce the chance to build the relationship with the prospect by cutting straight to ‘the ask’. The success of this type of lead generation is usually founded on a lot on previous branding and mass marketing campaigns.

Prospects who have joined a mailing list or signed up to learn more about the organisation.

This is a softer form of leave generation and a great way to develop a relationship with you end customer/ donor before they contribute financially to your organisation. These prospects or leads are interested in your organisation, and want to know more.

Prospects who have been exposed to an offer.

Some consider a ‘lead’ to be anyone who has been exposed to the organisation’s most recent marketing campaign. There is usually a time-sensitive offer aimed for a specific target market. All these people are assumed to be aware of the offer and a potential customers/ leads in the time frame of the campaign.

Prospects who you know would require the organisation’s product/services.

This form of lead generation is more predominant for in B2B lead generation, where one organisation has recognised another organisation’s need for their product/ service and then endeavours to contact them to make them aware of their service offering. Although this is cold approach to contacting potential customers these contacts are still considered leads, and finding them is still considered a form of lead generation.

 

What else do you consider to be a form of lead generation? Have we missed it off the list, comment below and let us know. And that’s another rhyme just in time.

HOW WELL DO YOU REALLY KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS?

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Not knowing your customers could leave you scratching your head and with little return for  your marketing dollars. 

The profitability of your business depends on how well you know your customers. But if you assume that customer needs are the same as they were five years ago, you could be putting your business’s bottom line in serious jeopardy. So how can you figure out who you’re dealing with, and most importantly, what makes them tick?

Customer needs are influenced by myriad forces – from aggressively competitive pricing to  technical advances in the digital space. Profiling is a process of discovery – a great way to get inside the heads and hearts of your existing clients. The insights you gain will also help you acquire more like-type customers.

Profiling is essentially reconnecting with your buyers. Results will influence your marketing approach, including buying data, your contact strategy and deciding on the most appropriate marketing channels. Before undertaking any marketing activity, it’s important to make sure that the profile of your actual customer fits with your vision of your target audience? If you’re not sure who you’re talking to, or you’re out of touch with your customers’ needs, you could be heading for campaign disaster.

The best profiling uses sophisticated toolsets to compare your customers to standardised commercial data sets. The results show how your customers compare to the overall population in each specific demographic or by other attribute. By grouping customers with similar demographic/purchase/behaviour patterns together, ‘clusters’ are formed. Whether your targets are consumers or businesses, by comparing your customer profiles to standardised, statistically stable clusters, you can identify the clusters more likely to need or want your products/services.

Consumer customer profiles usually include:

  •   Demographics – including age, income, gender, occupation, home ownership and family status.
  •   GeoDemographics – including information on interests, lifestyles, purchasing behaviour and attitudes.
  •   Survey data – based on data available for purchase or gathered through self-reported information.

Business customer profiles usually include:

  •   SICs or ANZSICs – Standard Industry Classification (SIC) and Australian New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) are used to determine type of business.
  •   Firmographics – includes number of employees, revenue, year of establishment and head office indicator.

By identifying and understanding customers in the clusters where your product/service will have the highest penetration, you can target your marketing efforts with offers that will appeal to them specifically, improving response rates and ROI.

Guesswork is a gamble. Protect your profits with the best profilers in the business. Call Prime Prospects on 03 9415 8500 today to discuss your next campaign.

Fundraising and Facebook – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Social Media can be an excellent platform for charities to engage with their supporters. More and more charities are using social media in conjunction with their regular fundraising activities. Social media platforms such as Facebook can build brand awareness and brand community; they can even be a tool to facilitate fundraising and donations. Charity supporters can be prompted by their engagement with the charity online to give and give regularly. Using social media well can have a significant impact on the overall success of a cause.

This is particularly important for the younger generation of donors. Recent research has shown that almost half of millennials follow between one and five non-profit organisations on social media and the total dollar figure that they give to charitable causes annually is increasing. This includes donations made on mobile phones and via social media.

So what do we think at The Duck about fundraising and Facebook? Well, we’ve broken it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Facebook has realised its potential to facilitate real change. Events such as the ice bucket challenge have proven this. To act on this potential, Facebook have started supporting various causes by encouraging donations on the top of Facebook user’s news feeds, see below:

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They have also created the option for a donation button to be installed on the home page of all charitable causes with a Facebook account. This button is easy to install and set up, making the option for donating via Facebook easy and simple, this is a big win for charities.

The Bad

With transacting and donating via Facebook becoming easier and, as a result, becoming more common practice, it has created an opportunities for a ‘Facecrooks’. Facecrooks are schemes that exploit this new way of giving to their own advantage- not necessary the cause’s advantage.

This includes photos of injured or sick children and animals circulating Facebook claiming that Facebook will donate a certain amount of money for each like or share the photo receives. It is important to note that Facebook will not donate money to any cause based on the number of likes or shares that a photo receives.

The Ugly

Those cringe worthy Facebook pages for charities that have jumped on-board the social media bandwagon and not fully understood the investment of time needed to maintain the page activity. Being on Facebook for the sake of being on Facebook is not the right idea, it is important to only use these sites if they can be properly managed. This is where we get into the ‘ugly’ side of fundraising and Facebook. Poorly managed sites may include the following:

  • No regular updates: the charity goes months without posting or communicating on the site.
  • Delayed responses/ Unresponsive: the charity does not reply to comment or messages from its followers.
  • Continual asks for donations: the charity asks for donations without rhyme or reason.

Now hang on, aren’t we encouraging donations via Facebook? Yes, however this platform is a community building tool first and foremost, with the option for facilitating donations second. Do not push away your Facebook followers by asking for donations; instead encourage engagement and advocacy online for your cause.

It can be ugly out there yes, but we can see that there is a lot of good coming out of the union of Facebook and fundraising. Here at The Duck we think this good will only increase as the trend in giving via social media continues to grow.

Are you making these simple mistakes with your data?

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Despite data being discussed relentlessly over the past few years, people are still making some basic mistakes. This week’s blog is addressing some of these common blunders that, with a little tweak here and there, can be rectified quite easily.

  1. Not collecting data in one unified place

We’re all guilty of this one. Data capture can come from a variety of sources, and as a result be collected in a variety of locations. Making sure this data is all input and kept together can easily get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do list’.

Critical data can be left fragmented in: your sales team inbox, the organisations database, the website analytical data, the newsletter sign-up list, and more.

When all this data is collected but not kept together, it makes for skewed results when conducting analysis, as well as lost potential when sending out marketing communications.

  1. No consistent data input guidelines

No matter where or when data is input into a file, it needs to be in a consistent format. Mismatched data is a nightmare for data processing and analytical tools. To counter this try implementing mandatory fields of data right from the beginning. This can include: the field structure, the field types and order of the fields in the file. There is no perfect structure; it just has to be consistent.

  1. Not segmenting your data

It is important to segment your data to ensure you are not communicating to everyone in the exact same manner. If you look for clusters of similar attributes within your database you can tailor your communications to get the best results.

These clusters may include: location- at the most basic level, or spend and interests at the more granular level.

  1. Not coding data segments

Measurement is the key to learning, and coding is the key to measurement. Ensure that when you segment and communicate to your customer base everything is coded and these codes are recorded with their matching descriptors available for all to access. This is such a simple oversight and it is an effective way to measure and to learn for future communications.

  1. Not updating your data

Old, outdated data is worse than no data at all.  It is a waste of time and resources to communicate to these people and it can result in serious brand damage using outdated information.

A common mistake is to hoard this old data ‘in case it comes in handy one day’. That day may, and will probably, never come. Keep it clean people.

  1. Lackluster processes for opt outs/ removals

Apart of updating your data includes ensuring that you remove records that have asked not to be contacted. It may be that you do not even know that these people are trying to opt out of your communications if your procedure and protocols and not working properly. This is something that should be addressed to ensure all opt outs are removed in a timely manner. For assistance with this pain-point, Prime Prospects can to handle the whole process so you don’t have to. Easy-Peasy.

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It may be not quite as dramatic as this, but still – addressing the above points when next working with your data will find you in a more comfortable situation than this little guy!

Five Tips for Better Direct Mail Copy

Creating great copy for your direct mail marketing is very easy… to get wrong. From using filler content, to not having a clear message, we have seen it all. For this week’s blog we have put together five tips to help create better direct mail copy.

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  1. Focused Theme: In direct mail it is very important to coordinate your message, your artwork, your design and your audience together to form your theme. This theme must correlate with your brand and your campaign. Try to make your theme remarkable and worth talking about to entice new customers. Remember to include elements of your business that are unique to you and notable; something that grabs attention and won’t let go.
  1. Cut those Words: The easiest way to get your mail piece thrown in the trash is make it too wordy. Use fewer words to convey your message. We won’t lie, more often than not it is harder to cut content down than it is to create it; however it is a skill you need to master. Keep it simple and use the little words you use to motivate people.
  1. Repeat the Message: You ever wonder why you might see an advertisement on TV five or six times in movie sitting? Because it is proven that the more a message is repeated the higher the likelihood that it will be remembered. This concept can apply to direct mail. Focus the content on one simple message that you want to get across and repeat it (where appropriate) through your copy.
  1. Call to Action. Ensure you have a clear call to action. Try utilising bullets or bolding important words so prospects can skim over your piece and still get the message. What do you want people to do? Make sure they know exactly what that is, because if it’s not clear then people won’t hear… your message. On that poor effort of a rhyme, the next tip is:
  1. A Rhyme Just in Time: Rhyming messages are easy to remember and fun to read. When your message rhymes it can resonate more with the reader. Have some fun with your messaging and make it a part of your brand personality.

Got any tips you think we missed? Comment and let us know. United we will conquer the epidemic of average copy!

Helpful Tools for Small Business

Anyone who has worked within a small business will know that employees and owners alike are known for wearing many hats within the business. More often than not they are required to work on a range of tasks across an array of business functions. Outsourcing can be a great option – but let’s be honest, outsourcing everything can be costly and not always a feasible option.

What we are quacking about today are some of the tools and tips we have come across that can help assist the small business, multi-hat-wearing, extraordinaire.

The Graphic Designer

No matter what business you are in, there will come a time where you will need to create something visually appealing that needs to look a little more professional than that pamphlet you mocked-up in Word.

A great tool we have come across is Canva. This tool can assist with image and content creation for: Social Media, Presentations, Posters, Blog Graphics and more.

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The Analytics Guru

What are the results? What is the ROI?

These are questions that will always be asked and need to be answered in a structured and understandable way. There are a number of free and paid analysis tools out there that help automate reporting. What you use totally depends on your needs.

Google analytics is, of course, one of the key players and to get up with the know-how they have provided a great online educational tool called ‘Analytics Academy’ see below.

https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer

The Content Creator

Creating interesting, relevant and ‘share-ible’ (we just made that word up) content can be tough. If you are doing this in-house at one point or another you will probably be hit with creative block and/or hitting a wall where your content just isn’t getting the traction you were hoping for.

Emotions play a big part in people’s interest level. Certain emotions can even act as multipliers, making images/ content more likely to be shared.

The emotions wheel, shown below, can be a great tool when considering the emotions you are trying to tap into.

wheel of emotions

Remember that knowledge is power; there is a tonne of free educational content available online to help. Reading blogs and articles will help increase your knowledge and skill-set, making wearing all those hats a little easier to manage.

What is direct mail really costing you?

With yet another price increase from Australia Post impending, the cost of mailing is becoming more of a financial investment than ever.

Businesses across all verticals are reconsidering if this platform is still a feasible option, and whether it is actually all worth it.

Our opinion – you bet it is.

Direct mail is, and remains a crucial element in the marketing mix. Printed media despite all the trials and tribulations it has gone through remains an effective way of communicating with your audience. It provides real, measurable, results and a tangible experience for the consumer that is becoming a lost art.

The senses that can be stimulated with direct mail, which cannot be reached through the screen, are amazing. The sense of touch, smell, sound and even taste- depending on what you send, can create an experience in the consumers home that is unique and special to them.

In an age of digital, direct mail is actually becoming a way to cut-through the clutter of an online world. Don’t worry the irony isn’t lost on us. But it’s true, so many businesses have jumped ship to digital- which, yes, is very important in today’s age, but they have completely abandoned mail and the more ‘traditional’ platforms. This actually leaves the mail box as a great way to stand out from the crowd.

This great little spoof from Ikea about their catalogue really hits the nail on the head, no longer the e-book, the book-book the next big thing.

 

The Duck’s tip: it’s not about choosing one platform over another; it’s about choosing the best platforms for your audience and using them to work harmoniously together.

Instead of asking what direct mail is costing you, consider what not using direct mail will cost you…