The IMPERATIVE of an Integrated Communication Strategy

It’s no secret that we live in an increasingly distracted world. The reality is, it’s becoming more difficult to create cut-through and get people to engage with marketing messages. A phone call, a text message, new Instagram post, email, Facetime, and push notifications – to name a few – are all competing against your messaging.

This is the new normal.

While smartphones afford the convenience of connecting with anyone at any time, they also mean it’s easier than ever to be pulled away from something in which you’re highly engaged, presumably to never return.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest changes technology has brought about is the expectation that the digital world and the physical world overlap and complement each other. A perfect example is the donor that receives a direct mail letter, reads it, and then goes online to the charity’s website to give their donation.

In the digital age, communications channels are no longer silos that are linear in nature. The growing expectation is that all channels work in harmony. Your website, social media, text messages, email, direct mail, broadcasts, mobile app, etc. all need to be synchronized to have the maximum impact. Retailers have been heading in this direction for years calling it “omni-channel marketing.”

According to Forbes:

“…omni-channel is a reflection of the choice that consumers have in how they engage a brand, and therefore is best represented as how brands enable their clients and consumers to use these channels to engage with them.”

In other words, businesses are realizing that consumers ultimately decide when, where, and how they interact with their brands. So they’re doing everything they can to facilitate seamless integration between different communications channels. And since consumers also happen to be your donors, it’s wise for charities to adopt the same approach.

Doing this empowers your constituents to engage with you in ways that are meaningful to them. It puts their needs front and center. So essentially a well-planned, multi-channel communications strategy is another way of being donor-centric.

Taking away barriers across all channels is the key. If your direct mail piece inspires someone to go online to give, but your website takes too long to load, or your donation page can’t be easily located, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Amidst all of life’s distractions it’s also easier than ever for your messages to get lost in the shuffle. A bonus to having an integrated communications plan is that it affords multiple chances to gently remind your most engaged constituents about important offers, opportunities, and the impact your organization is having.

A simple ad in an inspirational email might seem insignificant, but could remind someone about the matching grant they initially heard about through a direct mail piece. That ad might be the trigger that prompts the donor to give; and that’s the magic of an integrated communication strategy.

It gives your donors the power and freedom to choose how and when they interact with your organization… and gives you chances to communicate the same message across many channels, which ultimately serve as reminders to increasingly distracted donors.

In an ever-connected world, thinking of different communication channels as independent of each other is a sure way to miss out on maximizing your fundraising.

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