Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dumb, Data-Driven Fundraising E-mail Backfires

Denny Hatch, successful political fundraiser and direct marketer, recently posted a rant against Democrats in Target Marketing magazine. Why? Because he received three almost identical Democratic fundraising e-mails in the space of six hours. Not only did the delivery overkill annoy him, but all the e-mails begged for money without a hint of issues, policy stakes or personalized reasons/benefits likely to trigger a positive response. The data-driven digital marketing appeals reduced him to a statistic in a way he found insulting to his intelligence and to the basics of good marketing practice. (Before dismissing his criticism as partisan, note that he claims to have voted for President Obama--twice.) Hatch urges political fundraisers to consider why"old-fashioned" direct mail fundraising continues to be successful -- including "incorporating many collateral benefits into a pitch for money" and use of standard offer/pricing/testing to develop a winning response package. Hatch isn't anti-digital; he just wants digital done right. "If offer/price/testing works in direct mail, it will work in e-commerce," he asserts. Our takeaway: Take a hard look at your digital fundraising to make sure you aren't creating more rants than responses from donors. To see samples of the e-mails that earned Hatch's ire, go to his post in Target Marketing magazine at http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/denny-s-daily-zinger-dithering-dippy-despicable-democrats/1

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