Direct Marketing

KCDMA Does It Again!

Sound thinking comes in all shapes and sizes. 

That was clearly evident at the recent KCDMA Direct Marketing Symposium. And whether packaged in the context of national consumer brands (think TOMS Shoes, Carter’s OshKosh, and Hallmark Cards) or more specialize BtB marketers (such as Black & Veatch, Associated Wholesale Grocers, and Veradata), there seemed to be some surprisingly consistent themes to success.  

Some of the approaches that struck me:

1. Be prepared. Know in advance what success will look like. Identify KPIs you’re going to use. But be realistic in your expectations. As evidence, TOMS Shoes shared that the company holds out a “Do Not Mail” segment to measure the lift of an individual mailing as well as a “Never Mail” segment to measure the overall return on offline investment (well in triple digits by now).

2. Be relevant. Know what’s important to your prospects and customers … whether designing a loyalty program or multicultural product line or developing a content strategy (visitors may come back a second time but probably won’t come back a third advised digital strategist Brody Dorland).

3. Be real. Associated Wholesale Grocers found that “perfect” photos of recipes weren’t nearly as well received as ones with “flaws” (i.e., looked more normal).

4. Be thorough. When developing a program, get leadership commitment and the corresponding budget. Know how to get ideas from – and spread ideas throughout -the company. 

5. Be open. Synchronicity can and will happen (if you’re lucky!) As Hallmark's Monic Houpe noted, “Ethnic insights can lead to broader appeal.” Networking guru Angie Pastorek pointed out that “the best time to build relationships is BEFORE you need them.”

Synchronicity. Like that sudden insight that was just triggered from what seemed like a totally unrelated presentation.

Again. Thanks, KCDMA!

AFP 2015 International Conference Takeaways

Merritt and I just returned from the AFP International Conference in Baltimore and it was a big time.

One of the best AFP jams I've been to in a while — the caliber of the speakers was impressive—and we met so many new, lovely people.

Just a quick post to share the goodies with you and encourage you to join us in Boston for the 2016 conference.

Some themes and good ideas that jumped out at us:

  • Thank you strategy. As in multiple thank you messages over a period of months. Worked better for retention than hammering donors with an ask every time.
  • Donors demand ROI. Of course the emotion needs to be there, but so does the proof that you're using their money wisely to do what you told them you would do.
  • Women in philanthropy. Fascinating stuff on giving circles, women's role in households across the country and what unique motivators drive giving for women.
And Isabel Allende! A dream realized. 

We were tweeting like crazy. Find us @mjtiffany and @merrittengel.

You can find the conference hashtags, blogs, etc here.

Thanks, AFP. We'll see you next year.

Back from Bridge: the Highlights

Monica and I recently returned from our third year at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference. It’s a worthwhile trek to D.C., and I love their concept of “bridging” the most effective strategies in direct marketing and fundraising. Not to mention the chance to see east coast friends, clients and colleagues.

There’s no way of course to recap an entire conference in a blog, but here are some of the high points:
  • There is a cost to fundraising that shouldn’t be viewed as shameful or unethical. The CEO of Wounded Warrior, Steven Nardizzi, encouraged nonprofits to rise up and defend investing in growth.
  • Content development continues to reign supreme. Many sessions covered the need to provide different content tracks for the user experience. The U.S. Holocaust Museum employed a new strategy along these lines and saw great gains in engagement and fundraising.
  • Donor engagement by generation—Session encourages attendees to find ways to involve every generation of giver by providing philanthropic opportunities that are relevant to them (by lifestage).
  • Acquiring monthly donors was a hot topic. Speakers suggested looking for ways to infuse a sustainer appeal at communication points you might not have considered before (thank you messages and reply forms, for example).
  • Gamification—The rise of gaming is influencing philanthropy more than you might think. Its sophistication and interactivity ups the bar on technical fundraising efforts and what donors enjoy and expect. You can use this to your advantage by creating simple, fun experiences.
Check out a quick recap from this terrific conference and follow Bridge on Twitter.