Oceana Dives Into Multichannel Marketing
Want proof that multichannel integration yields better results? Check out this recent Oceana campaign. It not only used Web, e-mail, mail and telemarketing, but it also had good message flow, contact cadence and a campaign theme that resonated with the organization's constituents.
Anniversaries are not typically good fundraising hooks — they tend to mean more to the organization than they do to the potential donor. But Oceana and its partner agency thought outside the box and came up with a compelling theme — the anniversary of the devastating BP oil spill combined with an appealing organizational ambassador, the imperiled sea turtle. The combination was so powerful that this campaign was the second most successful in Oceana's history in dollars raised and grew its sustainer program by a whopping 60 percent.
First anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the plight of imperiled sea turtles. (In the interest of full disclosure, Oceana works with M+R Strategic Services, the employer of one of the authors.)
Data and segmentation
Although this critical piece is sometimes overlooked (to the fundraiser's peril), it was carefully planned by Oceana. In addition to traditional donor behavior on recency, frequency and gift size, it utilized online behavioral data including supporter's time on file, whether a person had taken a recent sea turtle action, and whether a person had clicked on campaign donation e-mails but had not donated. In addition, records were appended with third-party data including age and charitable-giving history.
While we believe in the importance of data, you can't report on integrated marketing campaigns without looking at the messaging AND the message flow. In this case, Oceana tapped the major channels, and the message flow looked like this:
1. In order to engage and educate on the challenges the Gulf was facing a year post-spill, Oceana sent an initial advocacy e-mail and landed petition-signers on a customized donation page. That contact was followed by four donation e-mails with a specific goal ($50,000) and a deadline (the upcoming Gulf spill anniversary) sent over seven days. A week later, Oceana followed up with a sustainer invite e-mail to the full e-mail list, versioned with a special "thank you" for donors who had contributed to the campaign over the previous three weeks.
2. Because it is common — even among constituents who receive your e-mail — to navigate to a website rather than use embedded links, Oceana inserted a prominent graphic on its homepage with a lightbox (similar to the old-school pop-ups from back in the day) during the last few days of the campaign. (See image above.)
3. Oceana updated its Facebook page with calls to action for both monetary donations and donations of Facebook status to raise awareness and put pressure on decision-makers.
4. Mobile activists were sent text messages asking for a $10 text donation.
5. Oceana decided to venture into the world of telemarketing and conducted its first-ever phone campaign. Its telemarketing partner completed 2,700 calls targeting all online and offline donors, as well as selected groups of online activists. Constituents who pledged (or hedged) were invited to fulfill via daily e-mail "chasers" or through more traditional mail pieces, and thank-you e-mails with a fulfill- ment link were sent to refusals.
6. Lastly, Oceana's small offline donor file (as well as the online donors and selected prospective donors) was sent a direct-mail piece. Perhaps interesting to the dinosaurs in our industry, this was a gamble for Oceana as it did not have a traditional direct-mail fundraising program.
Oceana brought in $54,000 in one-time gifts and 84 new credit-card sustainers. Detailed breakdowns for each channel are provided here in the accompanying charts, but please keep in mind that each channel influences and supports the others, so focusing on the results of any one channel can be misleading given that the whole is typically greater than the sum of its parts.
Takeaways and recommendations
● Sustainer conversion: Use an aggressive, integrated approach to sustainer conversion. The combined approach of e-mail and telemarketing is very effective in generating new sustainers! Offering the monthly giving option on landing pages for one-time e-mails also generated sustainers. Oceana has since added a "sustainer upsell lightbox" (shown at right) to donation pages, converting even more would-be one-time donors to sustainers.
● Telemarketing: Online donors performed by far the best (and much better than the offline donors). Non-donors who clicked on one of the campaign donation e-mails also showed substantial promise. Other non-donors, like offline donors, performed poorly.
● Mail: The mail donors performed very well, but online donors and non-donors did not. For both telemarketing above and for mail, look at the performance of online and offline donors separately.
● Follow-up e-mails for telemarketing calls: Test them for refusals as well as pledgers and hedgers (and thank-you e-mails as cultivation vehicles for credit-card donors). They generated a significant chunk of the telemarketing donations for Oceana (5 percent).
● Age: 45-70 years old was the sweet spot for telemarketing, while 50+ was best for mail.
● Charitable-giving history and other fields: Use age, charitable-giving history, and other appended and behavioral data to find the best prospects among non-donors, lapsed donors and other marginal groups.
Interestingly, whether the supporter had indicated "yes" or "no" on charitable giving was unimportant, but the very fact that this field was appended for some prospects was important! Those with the data appended (from consumer survey data) were far more likely to respond than those without. FS
Have an interesting case study of your own that you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear it! Send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Karin Kirchoff is vice president at MINDset direct. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeff Regen is senior vice president of integrated services at M+R Strategic Services. Reach him at email@example.com