Convio has released a couple of interesting research reports that clearly demonstrate that multi-channel or integrated marketing (where you add online communications to direct mail)  increases donor retention rates, giving frequency, and consequently lifetime value. The boost in lifetime value occurred whether or not the donor actually elected to give online (guess what, direct mail donors read email!). Donors who actually gave online, in addition to the mail, were shown to be even more valuable (communicate with them and get them giving in more than one channel and you really win).

But integrated marketing is really more than just wrapping email around a direct mail letter. In Convio’s latest Integrated Multi-Channel Marketing Report, they identify it as six key concepts.

1. Constituent Centricity

Convio says this is “aligning processes and communication to respect constituent preferences and optimizing engagement based upon constituent actions.”  In plain English, that means communicating with people the way they want to be communicated with. This encompasses tailoring channel mix, content, program participation and message frequency based upon what your supporters want and how they interact with you. It also means moving away from a pure calendar based communication model to a communications stream that is more events driven, where an event is defined as a constituent interaction. An example is sending a message to encourage a donor to become a monthly (committed) donor after they donate for the second time in six months.

2. Presence in Multiple Channels

Multiple if not all channels (direct mail, phone, TV, email, social media, SMS, etc.) are considered for every campaign as a means of engaging constituents where and how they want to be engaged, and as a means of amplifying a message across different media.

3. Thematic Integration

Regardless of channel or program (fundraising or advocacy) there is a consistent theme and message that tells the same story and uses reinforcing images across multiple formats. Copy does not need to be identical – e.g. you cannot write the same copy for Twitter as you would for direct mail – it just needs to be thematically consistent.

4. Integrated Processes

Using the right combination or sequence of messages or touch points across channels to optimize response and long-term impact. For example, for a renewal, what is the right sequence of messages and channel touches for a given audience segment?

5. Integrated Measurement

Establishing metrics that measure donor behavior and campaign performance across channels, and which focus on long-term value versus a single response. Ideally, metrics should also focus on net return as opposed to gross revenue.

6. Organizational Alignment

All teams work in coordination to ensure internal silos are broken down and campaigns work together as a cohesive unit rather than individualized efforts within an organization.

Convio notes that the participants in this most recent research report tended to focus on some but rarely all of these aspects, and focused primarily on thematic integration.

Where will your organization start? Share in the comments.