Announcing the 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award winners

On Friday, March 14 at NTEN’s 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) announced the winners of its third annual Integrated Marketing Awards. The Integrated Marketing Awards recognize nonprofit organizations showing exemplary leadership in the area of integrated marketing. We congratulate this year’s winners, who exemplify the sector’s successful use of integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs.

montgomery-area-food-bank

This year’s winners by category:

The Donor

Montgomery Area Food Bank, won in the category of The Donor for demonstrating how an integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience. The organization focuses on programs as part of its marketing plan to encourage donor engagement and overall support of its programs.

The Organization

league-of-women-voters-usThe League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, won in the category of The Organization, demonstrating how an effort across the organization aligned strategy, structure, culture, or skills to impact the organization’s ability to integrate its marketing efforts. The organizations created a successful broad-based marketing campaign involving all departments within the organization.

The Practice

the-redwood-logoThe Redwood, a Toronto-based shelter for women and children who have fled abusive situations, won in the category of The Practice for sharing its real world case study highlighting best practices in the field of integrated marketing. The organization used a variety of technologies and promoted its Safe Haven Store across multiple channels for stellar results.

The IMAB is privileged to honor these organizations that are demonstrating best practices in integrated marketing. We’ll feature case studies from these organizations in future posts, so stay tuned to the IMAB blog for more details!

photo-thumbnail-ericEric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Five challenges to effective integrated marketing for nonprofits

Integration is not only a common buzzword these days, but also a goal of many nonprofit direct response and development plans. And, while many organizations work in multiple channels, many are still working to integrate their entire program. Also, there are many challenges to building and maintaining an integrated program, including five common ones I’ll introduce below.

But first, let me give a loose definition of what I mean by “integration”. Specifically, these challenges address building a direct response program (even if you start with just one campaign) with the goal of enhancing donor engagement and driving conversion with messaging and planned timing across multiple touch points. In other words, ensuring communications are centered on the donor’s experience with your organization as she consumes information — and responds — in what has become a very multi-channel way. But, admittedly, this isn’t always easy.

Here are five common challenges along with some hints at what you can do to make sure you are up to the task of meeting them. (And, the good news is that it is usually worth the effort!)

Challenge #1:  Where to Start?
Maybe you are firing on all cylinders when it comes to building an integrated program. But if not, determining where start, or make your next investment, can be challenging.

Is your organization crawling, walking, or running when it comes to integrated marketing and donor communications? And be honest, because knowing what level of complexity is realistic at the start will help build a stronger program faster in the long run.

Remember, no matter where you start, integrated marketing requires some level of increased complexity and activity. The question is how much. If you are just starting, don’t get overly complex. Pick your biggest segments/program areas/campaigns and start there. And if you run into an obstacle, which you likely will, get as far as you can. Next time, you’ll go further!

A great program area to consider for your next integration project is a Sustainer/Monthly Giving program. A good Sustainer program can become a cornerstone of your direct response program (if it’s not already), and multi-channel efforts have proven particularly effective in converting donors to sustainers. Plus, many organizations prefer their sustainers be driven online or converted by phone to encourage the use of credit cards instead of checks.

On the campaign side, the biggest direct response campaigns should be the first targets for building out or improving your integrated efforts. Year-End or your highest performing campaigns are a good place to start because your return will be higher by optimizing what is already successful.
What you can do:

  • Identify and accept your organization’s life cycle stage and plan accordingly.
  • Pick a recommended campaign/program area/segment and start planning 4 – 6 months in advance.

Challenge #2:  Messaging & Content

As mentioned previously, it’s not good enough to be just working in multiple channels. It’s important to integrate your messaging across channels and platforms so that you can provide a donor-centric experience. That doesn’t mean using exactly the same words, but the theme and feel should be consistent across communications, all the way through the end of the desired action (i.e., donation/conversion). This also means additional planning — possibly working with multiple internal departments, as well as possible development of additional content and stories highlighting the impact the donors have through your organization.
  
What you can do:

  • Plot out Messaging and Content Strategy at beginning.
  • Take stock of resources (tech, staff, photos, budgets) early.

Challenge #3:  Data & Tracking

This can be a big one. While using and looking at data by channel may be familiar, more complex integration requires that our data provide a “holistic view” of what the donor has received and what actions she has taken. It is this information upon which many integration plans are built.

Might sound easy enough, but as many of us know too well, data often exists in different silos and platforms. Even for those systems that sync, the information flow must be understood to make sure we are getting the right message to the right donor at the right time. The same can be said about looking at the results: Make sure you look not just at the channel by itself, but also by the segments of what they received.

What you can do:

  • Diagram existing data flow across channels, and look for where work-arounds would need to be built to sync the data or modify plans accordingly.
  • Plan out results tracking procedures in advance.
  • Don’t despair, just work within the constraints you currently have and try to fix them over time.

Challenge #4: Organization Buy-In & Participation

As if you are not working hard enough making this all happen, whether walking or running, you probably have to “sell” others in your organization on this concept as well. You may need more resources and time from others in your organization to start pushing out or increasing integrated campaigns. And, the more complex both your organization and your program are, the more that involvement is needed from across your organization. And often, this means proving that it’s worth it. Fortunately, the benefits of integrating marketing are well documented.

What you can do:

  • Start Cross-Departmental Communications and Planning well in advance
  • Be prepared.  Here are some good resources:
    • Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing by Convio and Edge Research
    • Mobile Matters, Artez Interactive
    • eNonprofit Benchmark Study, NTEN/M&R Strategic Services
    • 2012 Charitable Giving Report, Blackbaud

Challenge #5:  Increased Complexity & Activity

The first four challenges all add up to our fifth challenge: the increased complexity and activity that can come with an integrated program. So, make sure you plan for this fact. You’ll need to dedicate more time (and likely resources), and so will others within your organization.
What you can do:

  • Build an organization-wide communication calendar (view a sample basic multi-channel calendar).
  • Start planning well in advance.
  • Look for easy-win “value adds” to fold in (ecards, print gift cards, sustainer upgrades, thank you videos, ecommerce).

The good news is that integrated marketing frequently pays back returns. Not to mention, and largely in part because, it helps you drive an experience where your donor feels more aligned with your mission and impact.

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board.

Eric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

Announcing the 2013 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award winners

On Saturday, April 13,2013, at the Nonprofit Technology Conference awards luncheon, the Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) which Donordigital participates in, announced the winners of its second annual Integrated Marketing Awards. The Integrated Marketing Awards recognize nonprofit organizations showing exemplary leadership in the area of integrated marketing.
  We congratulate this year’s winners, who exemplify the sector’s use of integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs.

Winners by Category:

The Donor

Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan won in the category of The Donor for demonstrating how an integrated marketing campaign or program had an impact on donor satisfaction and the donor experience. The organization committed to integrate every campaign in 2012 so that no event or campaign was conducted through a single channel only. Donors were encouraged to participate as volunteers and advocates, and advocates and volunteers were encouraged to donate.

The Organization

The Ontario SPCA and British Columbia SPCA, both leading animal welfare organizations in their respective provinces, won in the category of The Organization, demonstrating how an effort across the organization aligned strategy, structure, culture, or skills to impact the organization’s ability to integrate its marketing efforts. The organizations worked together to share management, expenses, marketing and work in bringing a successful fundraising event from Australia to Canada.

The Practice

The American Diabetes Association, an organization leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes, won in the category of The Practice for sharing its real world case study highlighting best practices in the field of integrated marketing. The organization quickly spun up a highly integrated “Giving Tuesday” campaign around their Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes walk.

The IMAB is privileged to honor these organizations that are demonstrating best practices in the field of integrated marketing. We’ll feature case studies from these organizations in future posts, so stay tuned for more details!

Eric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.

What integrated marketing means

Donordigital Vice President Eric Overman sits on the newly formed Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB), a group of 12 consulting agencies spearheading dialogue about integrated marketing, and what it means across the nonprofit sector.  He authored the post below as part of the initial dialogue on defining integrated marketing.  IMAB just launched last month and Donordigital is honored to be one of the 12 founding member agencies.  The below post is reprinted from the IMAB blog.

The term “Integrated Marketing” is a hot one these days, although the exact definition isn’t always clear. Let’s look at integrated marketing in terms of two overarching concepts:

  1. Providing a multichannel platform and program that maximizes donor/supporter/advocate engagement and options.
  2. Launching well-rounded campaigns that utilize the appropriate channel(s) to optimize conversion.

Successfully integrated campaigns have consistently proved their value — increasing donor value and loyalty, maximizing revenue, increasing retention, driving conversion throughout donor life cycles, increasing average gift amounts, and so on. But these successes can only be achieved through analysis and strategic planning based on which channels match each campaign.

Multichannel Platforms

What does a multichannel platform look like? Current integrated programs consist mainly of the following channels: Direct Mail, Web, Social Media, Mobile, Search and Telephone. I know, I know, this is starting to sound expensive and complicated (and these are only some of the channels!). Yes, it does require a fair amount of investment to develop multiple channels. A phased approach, based on goals and budgets, is the course of action for achieving multichannel success –- it will not happen overnight. Prioritize your approach, then plan on spending 24-36 months to fully fund and develop programs across all channels. Unless, of course, you are one of the lucky few with big budgets and lots of staff, and then things can move much quicker!

Well-Rounded Campaigns

Just because it might take between two and three years to build a multichannel program that is firing on all cylinders, you don’t want to stop campaigns until they are fully “integrated”.  When creating integrated marketing strategies, it is important to build upon your existing channels, budgets and resources as much as possible. Then, look to your goals to guide the development of additional channels, and prioritize the timelines for new and existing channels.

While messaging and brand consistency across channels is a baseline, different strategies may be optimized with varying levels of channel integration. For example, a “Match Grant” appeal offer going out to the current file in direct mail might be best optimized with a three-part email series synced with the mail drop, a Match call to action on the Homepage, custom donation pages with Match information, and a follow-up campaign about reaching the Match amount (thanks to your great donors). Unless mobile and social media channels already exist within the organization, they might not be worth investing in exclusively for this type of campaign.

On the other hand, when looking at a similar scenario for a new donor acquisition campaign, sending out integrated emails to the Direct Mail recipients is rarely impactful. However, a combination of social media, SEM and advocacy actions might work well here to drive immediate revenue and build a list of supporters to cultivate later.

Of, course, each case varies based on the channel and the campaign, so the key is to be on top of your metrics. Ongoing analysis is always important, even with the growing list of integrated marketing best practices to provide a starting point. Also, make sure to analyze behavior by universe (i.e., those that received the direct mail piece and email vs. those who received only the mail version), instead of just looking at the last touch point by channel analysis. Like I said, it can get complicated! But when properly executed, an integrated marketing program is well worth it. Good luck!

Eric Overman is the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Integrated Services at Donordigital, and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.