Today’s blog post is written by Ms. Sheetal Persaud, Senior Consultant at hjcmedia in Toronto and edited by yours truly.
For years agencies and nonprofits have been preaching about integrated marketing.
And while many of our nonprofit clients are now getting the why of integrated marketing, they are struggling with the how. When teams and programs have been siloed for so long, how do you start working as a more cohesive team?
We always say, ‘start small’ as you segue into more complex integrated marketing campaigns. There is no need to reinvent your siloed programs from day one. You can start by picking a campaign to start testing integration. It could be sending emails in conjunction with a direct mail package or telemarketing following an online advocacy campaign.
We often say that integrated marketing is a ‘full contact sport’. That can mean that to create an integrated plan, you need to gather teams around a single table and hash out who does what, what message to use and what equals success. Create an integrated campaign brief that outlines how different channels will support the campaign, and then break out each channel in more detail.
This process of cross-functional planning will eventually get to be more natural and can extend beyond campaigns. Eventually, you will want to be integrating the overall strategy and business plans of your various business units so you’ll be getting together even earlier in the planning cycle.
Some of the most effective integrated organizations that we know are those that have a dedicated human resource to ensure integration is happening. An integrated marketing manager is responsible for ensuring that opportunities for integration are taking place throughout the organization; in every email, classic direct response, event or in social media — where are the points of connections.
That person is all-seer, an all-doer, and they will often report across teams. One of the biggest barriers to integration is that teams are focused only on what they are doing, and they don’t have time to learn about what others are doing. By dedicating a resource to this role, you can ensure opportunities for integration are not missed. If you can’t afford a dedicated resource, make this part of someone’s job role at your organization (maybe yours!).
Here are some tools (some fairly complex) that we use to ensure integrated marketing success:
- An integrated calendar that captures major marketing, fundraising, program and communication touch points throughout the year.
- An integrated donor plan that shows how a donor is stewarded and upgraded through multiple channels throughout their life cycle.
- A robust database of record that is the central hub for all constituent relationship information.
Furthermore, when you are analyzing the success of your integrated marketing efforts, you may need to look at data differently. If you are suddenly emailing your direct mail file, you’ll want to understand the overall response rate for a campaign in both the online and mail channel, as donors could choose to give in multiple ways.
But beyond campaign performance, the core statistics that you should expect to be improved with integrated marketing are in the areas of loyalty and frequency. A donor who is being well stewarded and appropriately upgraded through multiple channels should give more and more often. Since integration impacts your entire fundraising program, doing overall RFM analysis on your file is the best way to see how your integrated marketing efforts are working.
With the New Year, it’s time for new beginnings. If you know you want to get integrated this year, don’t let the unknown put you off.
5 steps to get started today
- Pick one or two pilot campaigns to test integration with and to get your teams better acquainted with the process of collaboration
- Get a true understanding of your file health with an RFM analysis so you can see how integration impact you key performance indicators
- Create an integrated calendar and donor plan the encompasses all channels
- Make sure your database is optimised and pulling information from all channel
- Assign someone the role of ensuring integration takes place or hire someone into this role
Today’s contributor is: Sheetal Persaud, Fundraising Innovation Consultant
Bio: Sheetal is passionate about making the world a better place! She loves the challenge of integrating online with traditional fundraising channels to come up with more effective donor acquisition and stewardship, online advocacy opportunities and campaigns. She graduated from Oxford University, England with a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Sheetal also heads up operations management at hjc and speaks at conferences throughout North America.