Is this what your Members, Donors or Customers think of you?

....good thing our clients' constituents don't!

Think Membership or Fundraising Revenue is Down Due to the Economy?

“The sales of companies who had kept advertising during (a) recession had risen 256% over those who had not.”
— McGraw-Hill Research

In tough times, it’s easy to put marketing on the back burner and then wonder why more revenue isn’t presenting itself. From our experience and numerous accounts from our clients and other business owners we’ve spoken with, one thing is for sure: the more you market, the more your revenue will remain steady and eventually go up.

I became aware of a very successful business person in the same industry and was shocked to learn that his income was cut in half from $20 million to $10 million this year. Of course, when asked what he does for marketing his common reply?  “Not too much, just have a website.”  Unfortunately, we see this frequently.

Many organizations don’t know the positive effects of continually and consistently marketing – they only see money going out. Of course, it’s imperative that you market to the RIGHT prospects. You must know who your target market is. Do you know your target market? If not, you need to find out or your marketing is just about as effective as dropping a stack of flyers in the street and seeing who buys from you.

The great advertising tycoon Morris Hite said, “There is more money wasted in advertising by under spending than by overspending. Years ago someone said that under spending in advertising is like buying a ticket halfway to Europe. You've spent your money but you never get there."

I challenge you to put this concept to the test in your organization. “The more you market, the more business you’ll get.” It’s not too late to strengthen your revenue this year. Whether you market with traditional direct mail, email and/or social marketing know that marketing does bring results when done consistently.

Jumping on the Customer, Member or Donor Relationship Bandwagon

They say 'Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery.' While  validating, it still stings when its your competition.

 

Serving a niche market (Database Management, Response  Processing and Fulfillment Services for Associations, Fundraisers and Publishers) our firm was built on  setting ourselves apart in every way from our competition. Meaning that, most of our competitors at the time neglected building and fostering a strong and real relationship with the people that keep our clients, their work and firms like us afloat...their customers, members and donors.

Seems logical, right?

But for decades, the industry was dominated (and still somewhat is) by firms that, to reduce costs, hire minimum wage staffers who fly through responses and calls focusing on quotas and speed, rather than fostering true relationships. There is little education provided to these staff on the industry, its values or what the client expects past a dumbed down Business Rule Document. The only individuals that 'truly' know the client are the ones that really aren't doing the work--a Sales or Account Rep.

But, you can't blame them really. They responded to what the client wanted and what they were willing to pay for. 

It truly was Quantity over Quality.

On the contrary, we were founded to change all of that--to turn the industry on its heals. To show organizations that the choices were not A or B:  Sacrifice my relationships in order to free up internal resources or Sacrifice my internal resources in order to foster strong relationships. There was another cost effective option!

{In fact, a funny side story--when our Founder left her job at a competitor to begin DirectAnswer with this philosophy in mind: she was told "You'll be back in a week." Last year that competitor closed its doors}

And boy it took off like gang-busters! For two decades, DA attributed all of our growth from referrals alone. No marketing, No PR, No Social Media. Good Old Fashioned Word of Mouth!

With more technology, came more ways we could add those efficiencies of scale but still have the same high-touch relationship building techniques our clients had come to depend on. While our competitors still pushed: Faster! Cheaper! Faster! Cheaper! We sought to educate and prove that it wasn't normal for organizations to hire a staff to clean up the mistakes of your firm in order to preserve constituent relationships--large attrition wasn't normal!

Then, a few months ago, things started to change and it was quite funny to watch.

Automation in our industry and the service industry was so out of control that the lack of true customer service was becoming commonplace, and the general public was getting tired of it.

Hence we saw the Renaissance of Customer Service, prompting AMEX to do a study of consumer buying preferences which noted that over 92% of consumers would pay more and give more if they were treated better.

A fact not revolutionary around the halls of DA or our clients. who valued this decades before their competitors and have been reaping the rewards ever since.

While other organizations and firms are struggling to rebrand and refocus their efforts on "Serving the Customer, Donor or Member in a Cost Effective Way." Our clients can continue to focus on core strategic growth.

As one of those 'industry dominators' I mentioned earlier summed it up on their website today: "The Donor Relationship  Center is a new addition to {our firm}"   ...Exactly.

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