USPS New Products and Innovations Executive Enlightens DMAW Lunch and Learn Attendees about Increasing the Long-term Value of Mail by Leveraging New Technology
At the June 20 DMAW Lunch and Learn, Gary Reblin, the United States Postal Service’s Vice President of New Products and Innovations, strongly advised that organizations need to be innovative in order to stay relevant amidst the bombardment of information in this day and age.
According to the 2012 Mail Moment Survey, 80% of people surveyed look at their mail as a valuable news source, 75% like to see what’s in the mail and 63% of mail is kept at least two days. Amongst the youth, 79% sort the mail at the first opportunity, 72% would like to receive more personal mail and 67% scan the mail looking for important/interesting mail. All statistics that prove mail is still highly valuable, across all age groups.
As a marketing tool, mail is still considered to be extremely beneficial. With mail, you are able to have more targeted advertising to your customers or donor base, it can be a cost-effective platform, mail offers an interactive solution through the use of integrated technology and success and effectiveness of each campaign is easily measured.
In order to stay relevant, organizations must recognize that an online and offline, integrated marketing approach will yield optimum results – the USPS recognizes this and has made a push to encourage mailers to utilize technology within their campaigns. By promoting mail innovations, the USPS is helping organizations enhance their mailpiece thus improving consumer engagement and increasing response rate, customer acquisition and Return on Investment (ROI).
Recent studies show that PC shipments are down and mobile commerce is on the rise with 81% increased sales in 2012, to nearly $25 billion according to eMarketer (Jan 2013). Mail and mobile is an optimum connection as the mailpiece provides a ‘jumping-off point,’ but the mailer must ensure a positive consumer experience by offering a mobile coupon and/or offer, mobile-optimized website and a responsive website that dynamically adapts both its content and layout to fit a multi-screen world (Smartphone, tablet or PC).
Although they are not yet final or approved, Gary was able to share some of the USPS Promotions and Incentives on the horizon for 2014:
- Branded/Customized Mobile Technology
- Mail Drives Mobile Commerce
- Mobile Application
- Colorization of Bills and Statements
- Premium Advertising Product
- Emerging Technology
- Earned Value Reply Mail
Through promotions and incentives and by continuing to highlight new technology and best practices, encourage and accelerate industry innovation and increase relevancy and engagement with consumers, the Postal Service’s objective is to increase the long-term value of mail.
During the wrap-up and question and answer session of Gary’s presentation, the hottest topic was the application process. It was clear that those in the room representing the Nonprofit sector of our industry had concerns with the amount of time and energy it took to get approved, and that some of the promotions and/or incentives didn’t apply to their organization, or the ones they represent, based on certain requirements. Gary and his team at the USPS are fully aware of the industry’s concerns and they are working to address them. There are four things that will help this; preparedness and earlier launch of the programs, longer promotional windows, variability in the promotion option and timing and added flexibility for customers.
A special thanks to James “J.R.” Caine and the team at Pitney Bowes Presort Services for sponsoring the June Lunch and Learn. And don’t forget, the DMAW has a great line-up of events headed your way:
- July EdVent – Thursday, July 18, 6 pm: The Contextual Marketing Revolution – presented by Geoff Livingston, Author and Marketing Specialist, Lady Soleil, Inc.
- MAXI Awards Ceremony – Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 4:30-6:30 pm
- August Lunch and Learn – Thursday, August 15: Multi-channel Attribution for Non-profits – presented by Angela Struebing, Agency Director, CDR Fundraising Group
by Stephen Godbout
At DMAW’s historic first ever Wake Up and Learn Edvent, Sarah Birnie with the Human Rights Campaign, and Karin Kirchoff of MINDset direct woke everyone up with invaluable insights on building monthly giving campaigns through email and telemarketing.
First: Hyperlinks and PowerPoint Don’t Play Well Together, so don’t mix the two.
Yes, this has nothing to do with monthly giving, but it’s an invaluable lesson nonetheless if you want your presentations to start smoothly, as we all saw.
Here are six real takeaways of the day:
1) Start at the Beginning.
From the moment a new donor walks into your organization they are the most important person in the world, a bundle of potential, and you’d do well to cultivate a relationship immediately. With monthly givers, it’s crucial to get their first charge processed fast and just as quickly, acknowledge them as members in the upper echelons of giving for your organization.
2) Remember What You Learned in Kindergarten.
Say please and thank you. And show you’re appreciation. If appropriate, send your monthly donor’s tax receipts for their records, as well as newsletters, magazines, member cards, calendars and any other cultivation material that will help them feel a genuine part of your mission.
3) Pay attention
Keep a close watch on whose fulfilling their monthly pledges and whose not.
Then, create a rolling plan for reactivating donors. With credit card declines, test to see which dates work best for you to recharge credit cards, and don’t be shy about making more than one attempt. Try at least one more time in the month due and again the following month.
Be courteous. On the phones remind them their card has expired and that they might want to let other people like their cable and phone companies know as well. And while they’re updating their information slip in a upgrade ask.
With emails, test your subject lines, as well as content. Make your landing page as simple as possible.
Keep scripts and text simple, conversational and tweak copy for various segments, e.g. inactive, cancelled, declines, etc. And of course, never call your donors names like saying they’re “delinquent.” More appropriate language would be “Perhaps your information changed, and would you like me to update it for you now?”
4) Recruiting “All the cool kids are doing it, why not you?”
The distance between a donor’s first action with your organization and your requests for monthly gifts is more important in recruiting sustainers than the distance from their most recent action.
So, like voting in Chicago, recruit early and often.
Your online activists are a great source for monthly giving recruitment calls. You could even add a monthly giving ask to your renewal calls. Play with your scripts. For example, “You can renew your membership in small $x monthly amounts or a onetime gift of $xx.”
Or one of my favorites, “Many of our supporters are now using monthly gifts to contribute to our organization, would you like to do that as well?” A.k.a. “All the cool kids are doing it …”
And of course, “monthly giving helps saves time, money and the environment …”
Again. Online activists are a great recruiting source. Test subject lines. Include monthly giving asks in renewal emails. Integrate your online efforts. Put an asks in every appropriate space on your website like the “donation,” “become a member” or “join” pages.
Use rolling recruitment efforts around events indigenous to your organization’s mission. Make up special reasons to give. HRC’s sustainers are called “Partners,” so they created a “Partners’ Appreciation Day” to help remind donors how special they are as well as recruit new Partners and upgrade existing ones.
A good upgrade strategy for sustainers is rounding up. It makes sense. People like things simple, and rounded up numbers are simple. Use causal language, “Would you like to just make that an even $xx?” And rounding up by small amounts can have enormous impacts on your annual budgets when you multiply that small number x 12 x #of upgrades.
5) Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks
HRC has spent years steadily increasing their monthly giving program and cultivating relationships with monthly supporters. So when marriage equality hit the headlines, HRC had the programs and tools in place to immediately make the most of their time in the spotlight to grow their sustainer file and recruit a whole new segment of donors known as “Straight Allies” into their program.
6) Borrow Brilliantly
I like to think of this as the more socially acceptable form of “stealing smart.”
If you see an effort from another organization or business and it looks good to you, it will likely look good to your donors as well. Adapt what you see that works for you to your organization’s efforts – legally, of course.
Stephen Godbout is a freelance copywriter. You can contact Stephen via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 301-535-3772.
by Chris Gleason
The DMAW Educational Foundation and the IBM Academic Initiative team joined resources to host the Smarter Analytics Workshop on May 14th. The single day event took place at the computer lab of the Kogod School of Business at American University.
Professors from throughout the Mid Atlantic had barely closed the book on the school year when they landed back in the lecture hall. With a recent survey of 1,700 CMO’s in hand, the team leader pointed to a list of findings. At the top, was this sobering statistic: 71% of CMO’s report they aren’t prepared to manage the data explosion.
The first session focused on the tools available to professors and their students. In a hands-on demonstration, the IBM team equipped the attendees with statistical modeling software designed to tackle big data. The assignment was to uncover opportunities hidden in customer data.
In closing, the professors shared their experiences and reported on both the potential challenges and benefits of using the IBM platform in the lecture hall.
The second session was devoted to solving a business objective with applied analytics. The professors broke into four teams for a competition focused on maximizing sales and profits for a global manufacturing company.
Led by an IBM AI team member assigned to each group, the professors rolled up their sleeves. Using data driven models, each team made decisions across business silos, rearranging production, marketing, and sales as needed to meet the global objective.
In the post-game session, each team shared the rationale behind their choices. While light-hearted, the competition drove home the potential value of data analysis in facilitating sound decisions across all types of organizational structures.
In summary, the attending professors had a chance to practice varied teaching methods. They also gained insight into IBM-sponsored tools that offer the capacity to enrich curricula and train business-ready analysts and decision makers.
With the proliferation of data generating devices and digital interaction, no wonder 71% of CMO’s feel underprepared to handle BIG DATA. In this inaugural effort between IBM AI and DMAW/EF, inroads were laid for future events.
The IBM Academic Initiative is a no-charge program providing educators with the training materials, curriculum guides, software and hardware needed to teach in-demand business and technology skills. From predictive analytics to data security and vulnerability management, the Academic Initiative helps educators take students beyond the reach of the curricula offered at many Colleges and Universities.
To learn more about this, and other DMAW/EF sponsored programs please visit dmawef.org.
Chris Gleason is the Founder of Servant Marketing Group in Leesburg, VA.