By Greg Albright, Co-Founder and CCO of Production Solutions
Next week marks the return of one of the most sought-after and valuable direct marketing events in our industry. Formerly DMAW’s Innovative Formats and Inventive Techniques Forum (IFIT), the forum is back after a two-year hiatus as the Innovative Formats and Integrated Campaigns Forum (IFIC). I, along with a team of like-open-minded direct marketing volunteers (among them, DMAW’s current President, Mike DeFlavia), launched this forum 13 years ago to help connect decision makers with innovative suppliers in a one-day innovation showcase. The best part of the forum is that each attendee leaves with a portfolio of package samples and successful campaign outlines which are meant to kick start the creative planning and dialogue upon their returning to work.
I’m excited that the forum is back and better than ever this year with a new, and necessary, focus on integration. The marketplace is thirsty for new ideas and has recognized that integration is necessary to evolve and stay relevant. Still, we know that direct mail is a big driver in direct marketing, especially in the fundraising arena. IFIC provides the best of both worlds: innovations on the direct mail side, as well as real, tangible ways to embrace integrated campaigns across several channels, including email, mobile, web, social and DRTV.
IFIC will feature 13 direct mail innovators and integrators, showcasing leading-edge formats as well as state-of-the-art integrated campaigns. Each will distribute samples and has 15 minutes to present. In a comfortable, no pressure environment presenters will be available for questions.
IFIC is not only a showcase of the best our industry has to offer, but also our industry at its best. The forum was four months in the making and an all-volunteer effort by a diverse committee of more than a dozen members from both digital and traditional direct marketing agencies and production management firms. We can all benefit from their commitment to keeping our industry relevant and integration top of mind. IFIC is another example of industry engagement leading to industry evolution. This is what it’s all about.
See you there! For more information about IFIC and to register, click here.
Greg Albright is Co-Founder and CCO of Production Solutions, one of the largest marketing production management firms in the country. He received the DMAW Award for Distinguished Achievement in DM in 2012, and is the author of The Right Hook, a weekly blog that showcases the best integrated marketing practices of rising and already-shining industry professionals, as well as great advice about enjoying a rewarding career by putting volunteerism front and center.
by Heather Bien
Last week over 20 direct marketing professionals came together for Direct Marketing 101 Workshop (DM101). While backgrounds ranged from direct marketing agency professionals to nonprofit employees managing direct marketing within their own organization, most attendees came in with 1-3 years of direct marketing experience and were eager to hear from Washington area experts in the field.
The morning started with a lesson in Creative from Steve Fleshman of DR2. Attendees learned the tricks of the trade in making your mailing stand out from the countless other direct marketing pieces that people receive on any given day. Did you know that lots of enclosures increase the amount of time a potential donor spends with a mailing package? Or that a letter signer lower down the “food chain” at an organization actually lifts response? And a lift note can increase response rates by 10%!
Next, Nancy Guy Freeman walked us through Direct Mail Production. Her decades of experience helped attendees understand the most cost effective ways to work with a printer and mailhouse. Ms. Freeman was followed by Lisa Riordan of Infogroup Nonprofit. Ms. Riordan emphasized the importance of data processing as standardizing, correcting, validating, and enhancing. Clean data increases efficiency and brings down costs so merge-purge optimization is central to any well run direct marketing program.
Kevin Litten of EU Services began the afternoon with a lesson in mailshop options that attendees may not have considered before, such as postcard acknowledgement programs, self-mailers for
Following Mr. Litten was Kelly Leech of Carol Enters List Company. Ms. Leech set out to convince us that sharing names and lists is not a bad thing! List brokers are experts on determining which lists are best to share among which nonprofits and can use their market knowledge to think outside the box and provide an organization with the best results for acquisition.instant impact, low cost marketing materials, and invitation style mailers. Mr. Litten also walked us through a few postage tricks of the trade such as using miscellaneous stamps on in house mailings to give them a more personal feel, postage “indicias” which puts the logo of an organization in a postage meter, and intelligent mail bar codes.
Tracy Lea explained the ins and outs of a successful telemarketing campaign. Telemarketing can and should be used for successful reinstatement, stewardship, and relationship building. A no on the phone should lead to a letter thanking the potential donor for their time – this tactic typically sees higher response rates through the mail than a letter alone. Telemarketing is an essential part of fundraising as multi-channel donors have a higher lifetime value than just mail or email donors.
Barb Perell of Avalon Consulting wrapped up the day with an overview of Online Fundraising. Again, the multi-channel donor came into play as she explained the importance of coordinating communications across all fundraising channels. It’s also essential to make sure emails are segmented to certain donors through the use of data, are to the point, and are part of a larger email campaign plan. Don’t just send out an eblast one time – create an entire email marketing plan and remember to use catchy subject lines, photos, and time them according to when your donors tend to open email (use data!)
All attendees, regardless of their previous background and experience, left DM101 with a greater understanding of direct marketing and new ideas and fresh concepts to take back to their own organization. DM201 is May 15 and it is sure to be an even deeper dive into the world of direct marketing – don’t forget to register today!
The DM101 workshop was made possible through several wonderful sponsors: Colortree Group, Metropolitan Companies, Inc., Bigeye Direct, National Mail Graphics Corporation, and RWT Production, LLC.
Heather Bien is the Manager of the Annual Fund at Washington National Cathedral where she has worked since December 2010. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Just when you thought you’d heard it all in marketing, the DMAW Monthly Lunch and Learn series brings the discourse to a new level.
Cathy Finney of The Wilderness Society and Heather Marsh of A.B. Data brought their combined more than 25 years of experience in direct marketing to a full room of DMAW members and non-members alike, representing nonprofit organizations, associations and marketing professionals.
Email Marketing – Tips, Tricks, and Results, showcased practical and proven tools for creating and sustaining an email marketing strategy. As with all marketing endeavors, the work begins with a plan. Cathy pointed out that The Wilderness Society’s plan is a mix of messages: advocacy, stewardship and solicitation.
Heather advised attendees to create a production schedule. The schedule should include when an email is scheduled to be sent, message topic, deadlines for drafting, editing and testing emails—as well as accounting for approvals. Determine what works best for your organization. Negotiate a balanced strategy between communications and development: what works for one department may not work for another.
The divide between communications and development forms the basis of silos at many organizations. To combat this, organizations ought to create a structure that promotes constituent-centric strategies. Bring together all stakeholders to determine who manages the website, handles digital marketing and fundraising, and create shared goals. By managing schedules and communications, sharing cohesive tracking documents and meeting regularly, organizations can effectively break out of the silos.
This segued to the presentation’s theme: TEST! Heather emphasized the golden rule of testing: do not test that which is not actionable and does not produce statistically significant results. She advises using a minimum of 100 responses (i.e. clicks; opens; donations) as a reasonable test results threshold.
Among the myriad of “testable” features: From line; Subject line; day and/or time email is sent; and the use of symbols (i.e. unique characters). A goal of testing these features is to improve open rates. Most frequently asked question: what is the best time to send an email? For years, Heather responded that the best time was when you will elicit a response. A 2012 GetResponse report stated open and click-through rates are highest between 8-9 am then differ where open rates peak again between 3-4 pm while click-through rates peak between 3-8 pm. Now, we don’t want every organization sending emails at the same time so be sure to test.
Obama For America made sure to do this when they sent an email late at night, asking for a donation—welcoming the era of “drunk donating”. Cathy and Heather cautioned that this is not one-size-fits-all marketing.
Another means of testing is to be an activist, donor or prospect. Seed your email address and track the results. Test messages using different devices: phone, tablet and computer. Test how an email appears in different browsers and email services. Monitor your competitors and industry leaders.
By varying the buttons, copy and pictures or graphics, you can test click through rates. Most clicks are a result of calls to action. Be sure all emails support your brand and message. Segment contact lists by low dollar, mid-high dollar, prospects, activists, sustainers, and lapsed donors.
In addition to organic growth, you can grow your file by using search engine marketing, Google Grants, e-appends, petition networks such as Care2, remarketing and ad buys like Facebook ads.
Goldie Heidi Gider is the Director of Advancement at the National Women’s Health Network, a membership-based organization supported by 8,000 individuals and organizations nationwide. She can be reached at HGider@nwhn.org.
by Danielle Hart
On Thursday, February 21st, both left and right side direct marketing experts convened to hear two of the biggest names in political fundraising speak about their success with raising over a billion dollars during the past election. The DMAW presented Mike Conlow, the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Obama for America campaign and Patrick Ruffini, Republican Political Strategist and President of Engage to provide the audience with their insight.
The panel discussion opened with the question “What was the major turning point in November’s election?”
Mike started the dialog by emphasizing how important the decision to invest in technology (analytics & data) early in the campaign was to the success of the Obama for America (OFA) campaign. The OFA campaign staffed over 200 people and invested early to overcome any problems they encountered before the campaign. Mike revealed that in the beginning of the campaign, the OFA staff tweeting was frowned upon, but by the end of the campaign the staff was given example messages that they had the choice to tweet in their own words.
Patrick, representing the Republican side of the story indicated that technology was the difference between the outcomes of the two campaigns and that there was no tweeting policy for the Republican Party.
The two were then asked “What do you think will be the next technological advancement?”
Patrick was passionate in his response that the amount of social information will contribute to the success of future political campaigns. He predicts that the social graph will marry the political graph and the information people post on Facebook and other social media channels will allow campaigns to micro-target people based on their behavior.
Mike added that he believes the information about the competition’s marketing efforts will become more available and that Google might be the one to sell some of this information. He also predicts advancement in the ability to better target TV ads towards specific audiences.
The discussion concluded with the question “What is the most important tip to take away from this panel?”
Both panelists agreed on how important our networks are in today’s society. Whether it’s a cold call, a Facebook message, or a knock on the door, if it’s from someone you know, you will be much more receptive to the message. Leveraging this concept for campaigns and putting your message in the hands of someone that can influence your target audience will drive success for any campaign.
Throughout the discussion, both Mike and Patrick laughed at the lighthearted comments of opposing political party affiliations. After the discussion, the two fessed up that it was their first time meeting in person and they had only had Twitter interactions before the event. In the end, despite the political party Direct Marketers affiliate with, we can all agree that the lessons learned from Mike and Patrick will help us in future direct response campaigns.
Danielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. She can be reached at Danielle@engageyourcause.com or found on her personal website at www.daniellehart.com