It’s 2017 and Yes, Marketing Relevance and Customer Satisfaction Are Still Problems
That’s right, 2016 is over, 2017 has arrived and I’m still not convinced that our nonprofit industry fully understands the power of “satisfaction." I’ve heard all the reasons why it is not possible to track constituent satisfaction. And if I hear “what people say is different from what people do” as a reason to not believe, I think I might cry.
But, what if unsatisfied constituents translated to your email list shrinking? What if unsatisfied constituents translated to your Facebook community not growing—or even shrinking?
Marketing Sherpa just released some data that ties satisfaction to how people disengage from marketing and channels:
While not all of these apply to nonprofits, unsubscribing from email and unfollowing in social media are certainly areas of importance.
Here’s the summary version specific to those areas:
- 33 percent people who are satisfied will never/rarely unsubscribe from email versus 13 percent who say they will never/rarely unsubscribe if they are unsatisfied. In other words/numbers, a satisfied customer is 154 percent more likely to stay on your list than an unsatisfied customer.
- 33 percent of people who are satisfied with a brand will never/rarely unfollow that brand on social media versus 14 percent of those who are unsatisfied.
At minimum, this furthers the need to understand what level of satisfaction your constituents have with your brand. Plus, if you fall into the “people don’t do what they say” group—the above statistics take into account that not every unsatisfied donor leaves and not every satisfied donor stays. In other words, the above seems very realistic to me about how donors act.
With all that said, the next natural question is, “How do we make sure our marketing doesn’t make this issue worse”? How about I give you some more data?
Marketing Sherpa shared its data with Janrain, a customer data company. Here’s what it had to say:
Jainrain found that 31 percent are willing to share their information with entities they know and trust, 45 percent will do so if the brand simply makes it clear what they will do with their information, and 47 percent will share if their information will only be used by that company. In other words, people want to know there will be a concerted effort to deliver them relevant information.
If and when they do receive irrelevant messages, punishment is swift and often harsh. Jainrain found that when people receive irrelevant messages, 85 percent will at least unsubscribe from an email list, while 27 percent will go as far as to stop buying products or services from the company altogether.
Did that grab your attention?
This is how we find ourselves back to my 2016 argument that relevancy and satisfaction are connected, and now we know that satisfaction and retention (staying subscribed and a follower) are connected.
I want you to ask yourself: How do you know your messages are relevant?
And, then ask yourself these questions:
- What interest data have you collected from at least your high-value constituents, and how are you using it? ("High value" can be defined as a critical mass that supports your goals and/or a smaller group that are financially more valuable to the organization.) Either way, if you haven’t collected any interest data specifically—that's a problem. You should be attempting to gather interest data throughout the year so you can use that data to drive tailored messaging. Tailored messaging could mean tailored message tracks that last throughout the year or can be elements of specific communications that attempt to make a more personal connection.
- Are you monitoring the digital channels that can give you insight into what people are finding of interest? Is there a newsletter where you can see where people are interacting—what areas, what topics, etc. Are you capturing that information to understand if it is a pattern of interest?
- Are you asking people regularly why they are involved?
- Are you looking at their full engagement across the brand and taking the time to understand their differing involvement areas?
- Are you taking a look at their offline and online responses and doing a deep dive into the topics that are included in those communications? If so, are there any trends you can use to get closer to them?
There are a lot of agencies out there you can hire to help you understand what motivates your donors and what interests them—and whether they're satisfied. But start with the basics. If you can’t answer yes to at least half of these questions, you need to keep working at it.
And, yes, I realize this is not a short-term game—it takes time to do this. It will then take time to put together a test to see if the information you have garnered actually matters. But compare that to how long it takes (and how much it costs) to rebuild an email list or gain new social followers.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.