Freshly Mentored: One student’s success story in DMAW’s Mentor for a Day Program

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

written by Brittany Barkes

Back in the spring of 2011, I was a generally confused junior at the University of Delaware who was sick and tired of hearing, “Well, what do you want to do with an English degree?” I can’t deny that I often felt insecure about my future when I was constantly bombarded with these types of questions. All I knew was I loved to write and I hated every moment of AP calculus.

By junior year of college I realized just how much I loved advertising and marketing. While the thought of entering the corporate business world frightened me, I couldn’t resist the appeal of combining creative writing with marketing strategy. That’s when I decided to pursue an advertising minor.

So there I was, sitting in my intro to marketing class, surrounded by an overwhelming number of business school students, when my professor mentioned the DMAW/EF Mentor for a Day Program. What did I really have to lose in applying?

By the summer, I had been accepted to participate and I headed off to Schultz & Williams.

The Philadelphia consulting firm was intimidating at first, as I bounced around to different offices learning about direct marketing campaigns and project management.

I spent time sitting down with various employees, from project managers to the VP of the department. It was overwhelming, but in just the right way.

I assumed I would have left my day at Schultz & Williams with new valuable marketing skills or at least an eye for creating the perfect business casual outfit. But my day taught me something more valuable than that—it taught me that I wasn’t defined by my major.

The office was filled with former English, psychology, and history majors who shared a similar passion for business. They made me feel as though they once had similar anxieties about finishing college and entering the dreaded “real world.”

While this lesson doesn’t seem like much, it helped me look at my future in a whole new way. I wasn’t limited by a choice I made before I came to college.

It was this same mentality that led me to search for jobs a little out of my comfort zone. Though I was frequently discouraged, I mastered the post-grad summer of endless cover letters and resumes.

A few months after graduation, I took a job as an intern for a web design and internet marketing company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO). Now a year later, I’m working full time as a copywriter and SEO consultant for the same company.

I don’t know that I would have applied to my internship if I was still in the mindset that I had to be a teacher, or a librarian, or a technical writer. But here I am.

If you are given a unique opportunity, like the chance to participate in DMAW’s Mentor for a Day program, take advantage of it. The lessons you learn from opening your eyes to new experiences are more valuable than anything you learn in a textbook (don’t tell my professors I said that). Your future is for you to define.



UntitledBrittany Barkes is a 2012 University of Delaware graduate who works as an SEO consultant and copywriter for Boom Visibility in Media, PA.


Mobile First Mentality and Testing will move your Organization Forward in Digital Marketing

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

by Danielle Hart

At DMAW’s Digital Day, keynote Greg Kihlstom hit the nail on the head when he opened his presentation by describing how the world is growing more digital, mobile and segmented by niche markets. So what does that mean for the future of the Direct Marketing industry?

Now more than ever, customers and donors are expecting more local, personalized, and immediate interactions with brands and organizations. And they are expecting these experiences to be seamless. Whether the focus is on brand awareness or taking action, digital marketing interactions and digital fundraising efforts are building direct relationships with customers and donors.

In order to acquire and cultivate customers or donors, brands and organizations will have to build direct relationships. In order to build these relationships with customers or donors, in an age where everyone has a mobile phone or tablet, how will brands and organizations move forward with new marketing channels and evolving technology?

1. Putting the mobile mentality first

With consistent growth in mobile and tablet device usage, it’s imperative for brands and organizations to approach future campaigns from the mobile and experiential point of view, above all others. As Amy Gonzalez from Blueprint Interactive pointed out in her presentation “Beyond a Single Screen,” depending on whom your brand or organization is trying to reach and what you’re trying to do, it’s important to study the pros and cons of different mobile strategies before getting started.

For your brand or organization’s website, there are a few options to consider when making it mobile friendly. These options include using a mobile website redirect, designing a responsive website, or creating a mobile application. Every organization has different needs and will have to determine which strategy will be most appropriate and effective for their organization and audience.

  • Mobile Website Redirect – This website technique puts a redirect for all mobile website traffic to a separate mobile website ( or The unique mobile website allows you to completely redesign a website specifically for mobile devices. Don’t want a homepage photo slideshow to play for mobile users? Do want an uncomplicated website for web visitors on a mobile phone? The mobile redirect might be the answer for you. When using this technique, it is important to look into past website traffic analytics and consider traffic trends in your design, menus, and key website functionalities.
  • Responsive Design – Want one version of your website to look great across all devices? If your website needs to be consistent across multiple devices, a responsive website is the way to go. Responsive design allows a website to respond to the device viewing it and adjust itself accordingly to fit the screen. This technique optimizes search engine rankings since it is the same content across all browsers and is usually quicker to load. Responsive design also makes website updates easier since everything is in one place.
  • Mobile App – What’s better than an awesome app that connects with your audience? If your organization wants to engage “super-users” or “super-donors” and you can add value for your audience with a mobile app, then this is the right choice. Keep in mind that there are many extra steps in creating a mobile app — including creating multiple versions for different types of phones, deciding on pricing (paid or free with possible paid advertising/in-app purchases), writing the literature for download agreements, planning for updates, and getting approved by the Apple/Android store. Before jumping into creating an app, make sure you’ve spent quality time researching your audience and whether or not they’d use the app. And remember, a person will have to download this app, so there needs to be be an attractive reason for your audience to download it.

Now that your mobile-friendly website options are on the table, the next topic up for debate is mobile-friendly email. As Dan Caro, from Whereoware explained in his presentation “Making Your Emails Mobile Friendly,” the choices for mobile-friendly email are responsive design or using a mobile optimized, scalable template.

  • Responsive Email – A responsive email has multiple versions of certain pieces of code within one template. The CSS media queries trigger the different versions of code to render differently depending on the device being used to read the email. And while responsive design is better for a mobile and tablet heavy audience, it does require more technical resources and is more expensive. For large organizations that have a mobile-heavy audience, responsive design is the way to go.
  • Mobile-Optimized Email – A mobile optimized email is one version of code that’s scalable and renders well regardless of the device being used to read it. This includes buttons that are at least 44x44px, minimal text, and a clear CTA. For smaller organizations that don’t have the technical resources and budget, or the mobile heavy audience to justify a responsive design email, a mobile optimized email is the best option.

2. Never stop testing

Sure, your brand or organization might have found what seems like the be all end all best practice! But with technology changing constantly, what works one day, might be irrelevant the next. So how do you keep up? How do you evaluate what new trends and technologies can help your cause or brand? One word – testing.

As Sean Powell from The Engage Group and Heather Marsh from ABD Direct described in their presentation “Testing Mayhem – Sustainer Pop Ups + New Responsive Design + Hitting your Budget = WTF?!?!” there are many tests that organizations can run to work towards better results for your cause or brand.

What are some example tests to try in an email campaign?

  • Ascending vs. descending ask strings
  • Dynamic vs. static ask strings
  • Open text box vs. no open text box ask string
  • Short vs. long copy
  • Square vs. horizontal imagery
  • Imagery vs. no imagery
  • Very little copy with large image vs. more copy with small CTA
  • Text vs. graphic CTA
  • Security seal vs. no security seal

But it doesn’t stop there. While A/B testing your control emails will give you insight on how to increase engagement and response rates within an email campaign, there are even more ideas and techniques to test. For example, testing imagery vs. inline forms for a website pop-up, testing mobile versions of forms with less vs. more fields, or maybe even testing different donation form intercept algorithms, are just some more examples of website testing your brand or organization may want to try. Just keep in mind that for a useful test, it’s important to only change one variable from the control in order to be confident that the results are coming from that specific variable.

Moving forward you want to consider your brand or organization’s mobile friendliness, and continue to test everything. Great, that’s enough to make any organization’s head spin! So now what?

While it’s important for brands and organizations to understand the importance of these practices, it’s also very important to know what you don’t know.  And as Greg Kihlstrom noted, with the industry becoming more data driven, real-time, predictive, and semantic, more agencies will have an increased need for specialization. Your brand or organization may not be able to specialize in every new marketing channel, data analytics platform, or technical advancement, so building relationships with agencies that are specialized will help your brand or organization stick to the core of your business or cause.


Danielle HartDanielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. Danielle can be reached at

Can You R.E.L.A.T.E?

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

During the DMAW luncheon on October 17th, we joined the world of “Listen Up Español!” Randall Anderson “delivered awesomeness” with tips and lessons on how to engage the Hispanic market.  According to the Nielsen report, Hispanics account for $1.2 trillion dollars per year in buying power, we better start paying more attention to this fast growing U.S. population. Anderson stated that statistically, 1 out of 6 Americans are Hispanic; meaning, our Future IS Hispanic. From acquiring them, to keeping them coming back, to understanding their lifestyle, we need to… R.E.L.A.T.E.

Easy; right?

RRelationships. In the Hispanic market, as in any market, it’s all about building relationship.  When we share with others, this segment of the population loves to return the favor. Start the conversation around their heritage with dialogue and knowledge about their holidays or family.  You can reach out to them through social media, and then keep the conversation going. Relating your offering to their unique heritage and culture encourages them to include your organization in their community.

EEngagement. Build on those relationships and connect with the Hispanic culture. Make your brand “multicultural friendly”. If you take the time to relate to their culture and directly engage their interests, you will likely find generous and engaged donors who treat your organization like extended family. Focus on bringing people together and make it known that you are a multicultural and friendly organization. Provide direct support for when they have questions. Engage them through social media.  But they won’t donate online.  They want to talk to people.  Your call center needs to be prepared to chat a little longer and engage. Using both English and Spanish will let them know that you are always there for them.  Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project determined that 51% of Hispanics access the internet on their phone while 36% participate in social networking on their phone. This preference changes when they have questions or issues, they want to chat with real people on that same phone.

LLong-term. It takes the same amount of time and resources to acquire a new Hispanic donor. Although Hispanics usually begin the relationship with smaller contributions, they are more loyal than the general population and continue to donate for a longer period of time. Be committed! Remember, it’s a lifetime relationship. The more you commit to understanding their culture, the stronger the relationship will be. And the stronger your relationship is, the more loyal they become.

AAffiliation. Connection is key. Again, this logic applies to the general population as well as the Hispanic population.  Yet, Hispanics tend to maintain very strong connections.  Family is first priority and religion tends to follow closely behind that. Hispanics carry less debt and weather the changes in the economy better than the average American because of their family cohesiveness. Comprehending their family values is crucial to the success of your proposition.  68% of Hispanics in the U.S. are Roman Catholic and they attend church services regularly, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Hispanics also affiliate with their cultural heritage. Focus on key dates like “Las Posadas” and “Dia de los Muertos.” Acknowledging holidays that are unique to the Hispanic culture draws them to your offering. Religion and family underlie the Hispanic way of living.

TTrust. THE most important thing to remember is that Hispanics need to build relationship and trust. If they don’t trust you – they will never come back. They want to talk to people that they trust. They don’t trust the internet.  You won’t see a donation response from the Hispanic market over the internet. They want human contact. Your call center must be ready to answer whatever questions they have.   Don’t assume they speak English. And don’t assume they speak Spanish. The Nielsen Report estimates that 28% of Hispanics in the United States speak only Spanish, while 15% speak only English.  Be prepared for either!  Tests reveal that an event like a telethon is a great way to build this trust. For example, Teleton USA, is an annual fundraiser for child rehabilitation centers. During the two day telethon, the organization raises ALL of their funds for the year. How is this possible? Trust. Their donors have an ongoing relationship with them and know that their money is going to a good cause.

EEnculturate! Don’t just translate. Making sure your translation is correct is a very important aspect of engaging this market, but you have to know how to include their culture in the midst of this translation! Focus on both the tangible and intangible parts of their life, as well as what is important to their family. What have they passed down through the generations? Always have more than one resource review your materials before they go to any media outlet. A bad first impression can eliminate your organization from consideration. Parallel campaigns work better than translated campaigns. Become part of the Hispanic community and they will embrace your cause.

It is time to recognize that the US is no longer a “melting pot” of different cultures blending into one. We need to realize the importance of the Hispanic culture, heritage, and influence in the U.S. After all, they will make up about 1/3 of the U.S. population by 2050. Their buying and spending power is exponentially increasing.  Don’t miss the opportunity to join a growing segment of loyal donors. So, why haven’t you started building your Hispanic market yet? Just remember to R.E.L.A.T.E.!

Natasha Cole, Marketing and Management Double Major at Salisbury University, Graduating May 2014

Kiersten Durst, Marketing Major with a Dance Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating in May 2014

Courtney Mulcahy, Marketing Major with a Psychology Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating in December 2014


6 consejos para interactuar el mercado hispano

Durante el evento DMAW el 17 de octubre, nos unimos al mundo de ” Listen Up Español ! ” Randall Anderson ” genialidad entregado ” con consejos y lecciones sobre la forma de participar en el mercado hispano. Según el informe de Nielsen, los hispanos contribuyen 1,2 billones de dólares al año como consumadores. Entonces, deberíamos empezar a prestar más atención a este rápido crecimiento de la población en los EE.UU. Anderson dijo que según las estadísticas, 1 de cada 6 estadounidenses son hispanos, lo que significa, nuestro futuro será hispano. Desde su entrada en el mercado, para mantener el volverse, a la comprensión de su estilo de vida, tenemos que establecer relaciones.

Fácil, ¿no?

Consejo 1 – En el mercado hispano, como en cualquier mercado, se necesita construir relaciones. Cuando compartimos con otros, este segmento de la población disfruta devolver el favor. Inicie la conversación sobre su cultura con el diálogo y el conocimiento de sus vacaciones o de familia. Se puede crear relaciones a través de las redes sociales, y luego mantener la conversación. De conectar a su ofrenda a su herencia y cultura única incentiva a incluir a su organización en su comunidad.

Consejo 2 – Construir esas relaciones y conectar con la cultura hispana. Haga que su marca “simpático multicultural”. Si se toma el tiempo para conectar con su cultura y participar directamente a sus intereses, es más posible encontrar donaciones generosos y comprometidos que tratan a su organización como la familia extendida. Enfocar en unir a las personas y mostrar que usted es una organización multicultural y acogedor. Dar apoyo directo cuando tienen preguntas. Participar a través de los medios sociales. Tiene que estar preparado para charlar un poco más y participar de su centro de llamadas. El uso de ambos inglés y español les permitirá saber que siempre estás ahí para ellos. Según “Pew’s Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project”, el 51 % de los hispanos acceso a la internet de su teléfono mientras que el 36 % participan en redes sociales en su teléfono. Esta preferencia cambia cuando tienen preguntas o problemas, que quieren charlar con gente real en el teléfono.

Consejo 3 – Se necesita la misma cantidad de tiempo y recursos para adquirir un nuevo donante hispana que un donante norteamericano. Aunque los hispanos suelen comenzar la relación con las contribuciones más pequeñas, son más leales que los de la población general y siguen a donar por un período de tiempo más largo. ¡Este cometido! Recuerde que es una relación es por vida. La más usted se compromete a la comprensión de su cultura,  más fuerte será la relación. Y el más fuerte su relación es, más leales se convierten.

Consejo 4- La conexión es clave. Denuevo, esta lógica se aplica a la población general, igual que la hispana. Sin embargo, los hispanos tienden a mantener conexiones muy fuertes. La familia es la primera prioridad y la religión tiende a seguir muy de cerca en segundo lugar. Los hispanos llevan menos deuda y adaptan los cambios de la economía mucho mejor que el estadounidense promedio; Se debe a su cohesión familiar. Poder entender los valores de la familia es imprescindible para el éxito de su propuesta. 68 % de los hispanos en los EE.UU. son Católicos  Romanos y asisten a servicios religiosos con frecuencia, según a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Los hispanos también tienen mucho patrimonio cultural. Concéntrense en fechas clave, como ” Las Posadas ” y ” Día de los Muertos. ” Reconocer fiestas que son exclusivos de la cultura hispana, atrae los hispanos a lo que ofrezcan. La base de la vida hispana es la religión y la familia.


Consejo 5 – La cosa más importante que se debe recordar es que los Hispanos necesitan crear relaciones  y  confianza entre personas. Si no confían en usted – nunca regresaran. Quieren hablar con personas en cuales confían. No confían en el Internet. Usted no va a ver una donación del mercado hispano a través del Internet. Ellos quieren contacto humano. El centro de llamadas de usted debe estar preparado para responder a cualquier pregunta que tengan. No suponga que hablan inglés. Y no suponga que hablan español. El informe de Nielsen estima que el 28% de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos sólo hablan español, mientras que el 15 % sólo hablan inglés. ¡Esté preparado para ambos! Pruebas revelan que hasta un evento como una tele maratón es una gran manera de construir esta confianza. Por ejemplo, Teleton EE.UU., es un evento a beneficio de los centros de rehabilitación infantil. Durante el tele maratón de dos días, la organización Sacar contribuciones para todos sus fondos el año. ¿Cómo es esto posible? Confianza. Sus donantes tienen una relación permanente con ellos y saben que su dinero va a una buena causa.

Consejo 6 – No se limite a traducir. Asegurarse de que su traducción esta correcta es un aspecto muy importante de la participación en este mercado, pero también hay que saber cómo incluir la cultura en medio de la traducción. Se debe Concentrar en tanto las partes tangibles e intangibles de su vida, así también lo que es importante para su familia. ¿Qué han pasado de generación a generación? Siempre hagan que más de un recurso revise los materiales antes de ir a cualquier medio de comunicación. Una mala primera impresión puede eliminar su organización de la consideración. Campañas paralelas funcionan mejor que las campañas traducidas. Conviertes parte de la comunidad hispana y aceptar con buena gana su causa.

Es hora de reconocer que los EE.UU. ya no es un “crisol” de diferentes culturas que se mezclan a uno solo. Debemos darnos cuenta de la importancia de la cultura hispana, el patrimonio, y su influencia en los EE.UU. Sin embrago, ellos representan alrededor de 1/3 de la población de EE.UU. en 2050. Su poder de compra y gasto está aumentando de forma exponencial. No pierda la oportunidad de unirse a un segmento cada vez mayor de donantes fieles. Así que, ¿por qué no has comenzado a construir su mercado hispano todavía? Sólo recuerde estos seis consejos.

Natasha Cole, Marketing and Management Double Major at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2014.

Kiersten Durst, Marketing Major with a Dance Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating May 2014.

Courtney Mulcahy, Marketing Major with a Psychology Minor at Salisbury University.  Graduating December 2014.

Translated by:

Kassandra Reyes, Business Administration with an International Concentration and Environmental Studies Minor at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2014.

Catherine Mucciolo, Corporate Finance and Business Administration with an International Concentration and Spanish and Accounting Minors at Salisbury University. Graduating May 2015.

Are Your Emails “Good Enough” For Mobile?

October 23, 2013 Leave a comment

By Jennifer Newell, Digital Services Manager, Production Solutions/PS Digital

Last week I attended the DMAW’s Digital Day Forum and came away with a lot of great takeaways. But one of the sessions that stood out to me most was Making Your Emails Mobile Friendly, presented by Dan Caro, Director, Online Marketing Operations at Whereoware.

Did you know that 1/3 of marketers don’t know what percentage of prospects access their emails via mobile?

I know I was surprised by that figure, but what’s the big deal? Why should we care?

Caro provided some astounding statistics that really made us sit up and listen:

A Litmus report showed that 47% of email opens are on a mobile device. This is a new record for mobile, increasing 24% since 2012.

And the number of mobile users is continuing to grow. Caro cited Forrester’s study which estimates that 78% of emails will be opened via mobile device by 2017. That’s four short years from now!

Furthermore, Constant Contact found that 75% of people surveyed said they are likely to delete an email if they can’t read it on a smartphone.

So in four years, if over ¾ of emails are opened via mobile device and ¾ of THOSE people are deleting your non-mobile friendly email, that’s a whole lot of people missing your message.

Ok, I get it, mobile’s a big deal. We should be ready though, we’ve been taking care of this, right?

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Email Mktg Benchmark Survey, 58% of marketers are NOT designing their emails to render differently on mobile devices. REALLY?!

In Dan Caro’s words “This is not good enough.” With the variety of devices and screen sizes people are using today, we must be mindful of how our emails will render on each device. And I have to agree.

But never fear! Mobile might be a big deal, but getting started isn’t. Caro breaks it down with easy to follow steps that can get you on the right track sooner rather than later.

First, know your options.

Don’t have the time and resources? Scalable design might be for you: a one-size-fits-all solution where only one version of the email is created to render well on all devices.

Are your email openers primarily mobile users? Do you have a responsive web site? It might be worth it for you to go with responsive design. Multiple versions of the email are created and CSS media queries are used to adjust email size automatically based on the device it is opened on.

Make your message readable and touch friendly.

Whichever type of design you go with; there are a few specifications that all mobile friendly designs should include:

  • Larger font size – 14-16pt preferred
  • Skinnier email design – 320 x 550px wide (it’s best to go with a single column when possible)
  • Touch friendly CTA – 44 x 44px

Make sure your message is streamlined.

It is still important to ensure that your message is cohesive from start to finish, from the subject line, to preview text, to email body, to landing page. It must all work together. We are marketers after all!

Don’t forget to quality control.

Multiple designs + multiple platforms could equal multiple errors. Make sure you’ve tested your email across several platforms before deployment.

Where do you go from here?

It’s never too late to get started! Begin by understanding how many of your subscribers are reading your emails on a mobile device, and testing your current email templates on a variety of phones and tablets.

Once you know where you are, you can make a plan to get where you need to go. Be sure to share your progress with your friends at the DMAW!


Jenn NewellJennifer Newell has been with Production Solutions since 2006 in production management, process improvement and most recently as a manager in Production Solutions’ PS Digital division.

Secret’s in the Sauce

October 1, 2013 Leave a comment

By: Stephen Godbout

You’ve probably heard that phrase before, but now the secret is out.

The lovely and talented Carol Ann Faber spilled the beans at DMAW’s Lunch & Learn last Thursday with a spectacular presentation on content marketing: The Secret Sauce of Content Marketing (Turning Prospects into Members, Donors & Customers).

But in case you missed it. It’s not a secret anymore.

In fact, content marketing in its earliest forms dates back to the turn of, not this century, but the last one! John Deere used it in 1895. Michelin in 1900 and Jell-O in 1904.

So what is content marketing? (hint: you’re reading it)

Content marketing is the art to communicating with your customers, donors, members or prospects without direct selling.  It is creating or exchanging something of value with your prospects, donors, members, or customers with the belief and understanding that eventually, they will return something of value to you through a direct transaction such as a donation, purchase, sign up or through word of mouth and social media testimonials.

And as you’ll see, content marketing doesn’t have to be a thesis wrapped up in white papers or native advertisement and editorials. It can be as long as a geek-ridden how-to-manual or as short as a few words.


Just look around, pay attention the next time you see a Farmer’s Insurance commercial that tells you a few reasons why you need insurance, or see a full page magazine display that has a bit of instruction—set off to catch your eye—on how to apply or use the product being displayed. That’s content marketing.

Now, in our field of marketing, there are certain steps you can take to make sure you’re giving the right piece/s of content to the right person/s through the right channel/s at the right time/s. That is the core of what Carol Ann, Marketing Director for the National Fire Protection Association graciously shared with us.

I have broken down her “secret sauce ingredients” for effective content marketing into three easy to follow recipe items:

1)      Find and Create Your Content.

It’s easy.

Every organization has a history. There’s part of your content already. Look toward reports your organization produces. Case studies. White papers you’ve developed. Annual Reports (as riveting as they are). Videos. Transcripts. Personal stories or testimonials about how you help people, the environment or animals.

What are trends in your industry? Is there something in your field of expertise that you could share and would be beneficial to your prospects, members, donors or customers? Tell customers how to help your cause. List 5 things they can do today that will make them better stewards of the planet and humanity. Give them some useful instructions on something they may want to know how to do. Look anywhere and everywhere.

2)      Tell and Market Your Story.

When you think about sharing your content, don’t just think send an email, post a video link or include an insert in a mail piece.

Think storytelling.

Carol Ann referenced the movie, “The Princess Bride.” A classic story within a story, that unfolds gradually and as it does, it draws you into the characters and their lives in different times and places but wraps them all into one.

Most likely, your organization is very similar. You have a core mission, but within that mission are many branches, yet all tied together. Break your story up. Tell bits and pieces at a time. Through your story, express how the different branches of your organization are tied together to serve your ultimate goal.

And another good analogy Carol Ann pointed out is the “To Be Continued …” series. Remember watching  Dallas, Dynasty, Batman and the show builds to what you think is going to be a revealing moment and suddenly … To Be Continued …. (“Broadchurch,” currently showing on BBC America is an outstanding example of this time of storytelling.)

For our marketing purposes, if a prospect is willing to give you an email, they get one piece of your story. If they are willing to give you a phone number, like you on Facebook or take an action like sign a petition, they get another piece of your story. (And remember to make if valuable to them). And if they donate, join or buy, give them more of the story. But to keep them as repeat donors, members and buyers, never give them the full story all at once. Give them bits and pieces, sized according to their willingness to get involved with your organization.

Also, consider your audience. Who are they? What motivates them? What turns them on or off?

Carol Ann gave a great example of how her organization, the NFPA first used humor to renew and attract members. They offered not only a plush animal to hug, but the ability to obtain “invisibility—to avoid certain colleagues,” “telekinesis,” and a “fast forward button for business meetings.”

Potential members loved it, but the people who wrote the checks in their organizations which would pay for the memberships weren’t going to spend valuable company money on an organization that offers “telekinesis.” Plus, NFPA is the go-to organization for serious building and fire codes, so humor gave them great visibility but failed in member recruitment.

Alas, failure is not failure if you learn something from it, as Carol Ann and NFPA did, which brings us to the third ingredient.

3)      Test, Test, Test.

Figure out what works for your organization’s goals and messaging. And then find out what audience your messages resonate with the best. And through which channel. There are so many channels today to market our organizations allowing us to tap into new demographics and markets that before were hard to reach.

Adjust your story as you go according to your test results.

And that’s the secret sauce as I saw it.

I’ll leave you with Carol Ann’s Top 5 Tips for Content Marketing. But I must tell you, reading a blog about Carol Ann’s presentation is NOTHING compared to the real thing, so stay tuned to DMAW to find out where Carol Ann will be appearing next.

Carol Ann’s Top 5 Tips for Content Marketing:

  1. Sharpen your storytelling skills, hire out for it, mine it, make it work.
  2. Start where you’re comfortable and test and measure along the way.
  3. No test is a failure—lessons learned are often more valuable than results.
  4. Build your story, break it up, tell it in bits and pieces.
  5. Start TODAY—take one action right now to launch or improve your organizations content marketing.

Happy Contenting!


001aStephen Godbout is a freelance copywriter/content specialist with 13 years direct marketing experience.  He can be reached at

Let’s Geek Out Over Data!

August 19, 2013 1 comment

by Gay Bitter

I am a self-professed data geek, so Angela Struebing’s presentation on Multichannel Attribution at the August DMAW Lunch and Learn was right up my alley.  Calculators were not provided but there was plenty of math during this great presentation!

So, what is multichannel attribution and why does it matter?  This methodology provides a new tool to the campaign analysis process that allows you to more effectively give credit to the correct communications channel and touch point in a multichannel campaign. When used correctly, it enhances the ability to maximize marketing dollars spent.

This colorful infographic, The Mullen Marketing Ecosystem, is a somewhat overwhelming example of all of the communications channels potentially influencing your donors or customers.


Prospects don’t see a single message, so how do you figure out how to use your organization’s marketing dollars wisely?  Each channel has its own metrics, each brings in donors or customers with varying lifetime values, and each has its own rate of response decay.  Using attribution allows you to measure lift by channel and will help you determine which channels to continue to use and which to drop.

Current practices that many marketers use are Confirmed Response and Matchbacks.  Flaws in these analysis tools are that they don’t factor in organic joins, follow-ups are likely given undue credit, and only touches with a reply device can be measured.  Another practice, Fractional Allocation, is used in many iterations, but again, doesn’t provide true insight on the contribution that each marketing channel makes to a donation or response.

Using weighted multichannel attribution (yes, some math is required here!) gets you closer to seeing the value of each channel.  Angela shared an example measuring the effectiveness of mail, email, telemarketing and cookie ads on a campaign.  Using this method, she found that cookie ads were using 9% of the marketing budget, but contributed only 1% to donations, so this channel should be dropped.  Mail used 66% of the budget and contributed 52% to contributions, so reducing mail quantity is a logical step.  Telemarketing, which used 20% of the budget but contributed 33% to donations, should be increased.

So what are the pitfalls?  You need to withhold prospects during testing.  This gives you a baseline to measure against.  That means you are missing potential donors; you can correct this by increasing your prospect universe on your next campaign. The good news?  You only need to test once a year, and results for clients in similar industries can be used for others in the same industry, but be aware that results can differ based on geography as well as industry.

Here are a few best practices to consider before you engage in multichannel attribution for your organization.

  1. Make sure your offer and creative is consistent across channels – use the same imagery and message.
  2. Online interactions should be held to two clicks or engagement will drop.
  3. Contact prospects many times until you see diminishing returns or increased opt-outs.
  4. Plan your analytics and coding before you start.

Attribution is not a magic bullet that replaces all of your tried and true marketing analysis, so don’t throw out your old results.  It’s just another tool in your toolbox.  And, one last bit of advice from Angela, don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.  Know when to stop!


GayBitterGay Bitter is Vice President, Marketing at Relevate, a leading provider of comprehensive data marketing solutions. She can be reached at

Christmas in July? Not Quite, but Close…

August 7, 2013 Leave a comment

by Heather Marsh 

It may only be August, but if you haven’t yet started planning for the year-end giving season, now’s the time! You may think you have plenty of time to put together your year-end campaigns, but before you know it, we’ll all be bundled up, eating turkey and missing the warm weather. Don’t get caught scrambling later — here are a few tips to help you get started:

Test Your Controls

In the next couple of months, you should focus on testing into the very best creative for year-end. Part of this process entails retesting all of your controls. Take the time to reevaluate campaign elements such as:

  • From Line
  • Email Signer
  • Ask Strings
  • Timing – Day of the Week or Hour of the Day

Make a Plan (and Plan to Change It)

Spend some time now planning your holiday schedule. Make sure you factor in a mix of email communications — this is prime giving season, but it’s also important to thank your donors and advocates for all the support they’ve already given this year. Review last year’s plan and results, plan to roll out with the big successes and continue the testing you worked on last year.

By planning ahead now, you’ll be prepared for those last-minute challenges that always come up. Give yourself as much flexibility within the plan as you can. You never know when a news event, such as last year’s terrible Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, will require an adjustment to your schedule.

Get Started Now

Now that you’ve made your plan, get started right away! Plan your creative brainstorming sessions. Get your technical specifications and gather your troops. Evaluate your strategy to determine what’s realistic with your current resources, and arrange for extra support if needed.

Live Test Your Program

We’ve all had times when the brilliantly designed campaign strategy doesn’t quite translate to real-life success. Perhaps your welcome series needs some updates. Or it could be that your audience segmentation (or suppression) isn’t capturing everyone you intended it to. Literally put yourself in your donor’s shoes — walk their path to make sure all the systems are working as intended.

Bring It All Together

The good news is that your direct mail counterparts are bound to be thinking about year-end well in advance! Planning for your online campaign isn’t enough; you need to think about the complete donor experience. Spend some time reviewing the makeup of your donor file. How many receive both emails and direct mail? Will you have telefundraising campaigns running at the same time? Consider the overall message, making sure your donors will get a clear, consistent message. Don’t forget to look at your data processes as well.  Make sure you can include or exclude donors in as close to real-time as possible.

Other elements to consider now: Are your forms mobile and responsively designed? Have you updated your Google AdWords accounts to account for the new enhanced campaigns? (Speaking of that — don’t forget to renew your Google Grant accounts!)

Whatever you’re planning, get started now!


Heather_MarshHeather is Director of Digital Marketing for ABD Direct, a division of AB Data, Ltd. She has 10 years of direct marketing experience, and has worked with clients such as Wounded Warrior Project, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The Wilderness Society, Disabled American Veterans, and many others. She feels strongly that it is time to take a holistic approach to marketing – bringing digital, mail and other channels together to maximize communication with donors. She can be reached at

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