In June I attended the IMW 15 Conference (#IMW15) in New York, a gathering of marketers from for-profit organizations. I wanted to see how different things were on that side and to learn about the hot topics burning with our for-profit counterparts.
I was struck more by the similarities than the differences. For-profit marketers and their companies are struggling with many of the same issues facing non-profit organizations:
They call them customers, we call them donors. Either way, companies are looking to better engage their constituents with their brands and products, particularly through social media and mobile tools. Stronger engagement leads to faster and greater sales. T.G.I. Fridays, for example, has developed a wonderful loyalty program (Give Me More Stripes) that invites members to weigh in on menu options and talk about their restaurant experience on an online social room. Of course, all of that information and activity is used to hone in on customer preferences and a more personalized relationship.
Stop talking so much and listen – and do more research and analysis of your core supporters. When you do, you can tailor messages in a more relevant way, leading to improved retention and greater loyalty. Ernan Ronan, a true guru of direct response marketing, has conducted what he terms “Voice of the Customer” research to dig deeper into customer interests and collect “human data.” This has led to his reciprocity of value equation in which marketers can determine how much data and information a consumer will give and what they expect from the company in return. The point is that prospects will give detailed business and personal information in exchange for personalized offers, communications and EXPERIENCES! For nonprofits, this means it’s not just about acquiring donors, it’s about the quality of those donors and the nature of the relationship.
- Customer Experience/Value
A positive experience throughout the entire process and with the entire organization is a major factor in improving long-term value growth. IKEA, long an innovator in their sector, is reviewing both the ordering and delivery experience to find ways to use technology and new business models to maximize customer satisfaction and ensure repeat buyers.
Marketers are developing decision-based customer journey roadmaps based on test results, past behavior and research. These roadmaps lay out a personalized experience for each customer, allowing them to come in and out of certain campaigns based on their own actions and wishes. The goal of these designs is to enhance the value of the relationship with customers over the long haul.
Enough with the similarities. The big difference is that for-profit companies have bigger budgets and better toys. They’re better equipped for customer acquisition, analytics and research, engagement and relationship building, and execution of their marketing and sales strategies. Or they have just invested in these areas more wisely than most nonprofits because it is critical to their bottom line.
They continue to build out data-driven strategies and execute through marketing automation platforms. What are they? Stay tuned for a full post on marketing automation technology coming soon to PS.