3 Modern Ways To Improve Your DRTV Campaign
From the great Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better,” a quote often heard at our organization and an excellent reminder to be open to learning something new. To change, to adapt and to grow – personally and professionally.
Last year allowed many organizations to shift priorities and possibilities to adapt to the changing marketplace. Driven by data, research and the urgency to unite, we saw an opportunity to plan and launch our first direct response TV (DRTV) campaign at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
DRTV campaigns are a tried-and-true fundraising avenue, particularly for nonprofits, but have evolved since their inception in the '60s. Here are three lessons our organization learned from the pilot using tried-and-true tactics with a modern twist.
1. Pilot First
When analyzing the success of DRTV in the marketplace, it’s hard to look at the millions of dollars it generates for causes and not just jump in with both feet. But the success of our program will be based on engaging in a pilot phase (or two!) first. Any DRTV consultant or agency will tell you best practices and a winning formula for creating and placing DRTV in the marketplace. Make sure the formula that works for others actually works for you — and adjust, if necessary. Take time, test every aspect of the medium, compile data around key KPIs, and then adjust and test again. As a result, when you’re ready for a more saturated campaign, you will enter the marketplace having worked out all the issues that might thwart success while creating your own nuanced and proven formula for success.
2. DRTV and Omnichannel Do, in Fact, Belong Together
Traditional meets modern. We know DRTV is a successful medium for acquiring monthly donors; we also know that people consume media in many ways other than TV. We engaged in a marketing plan across the omnichannel to maximize the television exposure to amplify our television spend. Our spots were uniform across the omnichannel directing people to our direct response vanity URL. Some outlets engaged included radio advertising, paid search, PSA placement, and digital and social advertising. When marrying DRTV with an omnichannel marketing plan for support, positive results can be amplified. We saw a nearly 10% increase in donations because of this tactic.
3. Web Matters
Before COVID-19 and the worldwide pandemic, the bulk of response and donor conversion around DRTV was through a call center. Most of the target audience for DRTV tended to call the phone number provided during the spot to donate. Since COVID-19, there has been a distinct shift in donors seeing the television spots and heading to the URL supplied instead of calling in. While it was important to have a web option in the past, it is now vital to have a responsive, sophisticated website option to maximize success in the medium.
DRTV campaigns remain one of the best options to reach a mass audience with your cause and engage them in the ongoing support of your mission. Historically, the medium shows astronomical results (think billions, not millions) and continues to be a popular topic among causes. Likewise, TV has maintained its position as the most effective medium for advertising despite digital channel creation. But just because television has not yet been usurped as the most effective medium for DRTV does not mean marketers and fundraisers don’t need to use digital channels to amplify the success of DRTV. Adding a modern layer to these tried-and-true tactics is the most effective way to reach unparalleled success. If planned and executed well, the benefits of a DRTV campaign will certainly increase funding for your organization but can also propel an organization to become a household name.
As the chief programs and marketing officer at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Maureen Carlson leads a team focused on delivering programs to raise significant funds for children’s hospitals and highlighting the social impact children’s hospitals have on local communities.
With two decades of corporate social responsibility, nonprofit executive management and agency leadership experience, Maureen is a veteran in the corporate partnership, corporate social responsibility and maximized fundraising spaces.
For more than a decade, Maureen has been a sought-after consultant helping nonprofits increase their fundraising and companies maximize their social good. For the bulk of her career, Maureen was president of Good Scout, a social good agency. In that capacity, Maureen created best practices in securing and maximizing corporate/cause partnerships that have ignited more than $150 million in incremental fundraising and billions of positive branding impressions for her nonprofit and corporate clients. Her experience working on some of the most prolific and innovative cause/corporate partnerships in the marketplace gives her invaluable experiences into the nuances of propelling social impact success.
Maureen also worked as the senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In that capacity, she oversaw more than $300 million in fundraising. She has held roles in corporate social responsibility leadership in the automotive industry and as the acting senior vice president of marketing and communications at City of Hope Cancer Center.
Maureen is a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of corporate/cause partnerships and corporate social responsibility, successful selling and more. Her work has been seen in Forbes, Fast Company, The Nonprofit Times, Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and in the book, “Nonprofit Selling 101.”