I read a couple interesting articles yesterday.  They were in Forrester’s enewsletter, “CMO & Marketing Leadership First Look.”

I believe their articles apply equally well to the nonprofit sector even though they were written for the for-profit world.

Point #1:Put the customer first when creating a new brand experience for 2011,” per the Forrester article.

Just substitute donor or member for customer.  In all your communications, put the donor (or member) first.  Put the focus on the donor.  Make it easy for them.  Share what’s most important to them.  Show that you care about them.

Make their experience with you “… personally relevant, locally dynamic, and unexpectedly rewarding.”  That sentence is overflowing with wisdom.

I especially like the last phrase: “unexpectedly rewarding.”  In other words, exceed the donor’s expectations.  Ask yourself this: Am I really making the donor’s experience rewarding?

The article also stresses the importance of using technology to help with the experience.  To quote, “One important technology to bring into the marketing mix is mobile.  Mobile is critical to reaching a large audience while still connecting with those consumers donors in an individual way.

Here’s a great resource to get you very comfortable and at ease with mobile fast: Mobile for Nonprofits – Connecting to Donors Through the Power of Mobile

Point #2: Yesterday’s modeling is archaic.  Bury it.  It’s dead.

Courtesy of Forrester Research

In the Forrester article they’re referring to the “marketing funnel.”  In our case we could possibly say the donor pyramid.

Forrester says The Customer Life Cycle better represents the multiple touch points, different measures of loyalty, and various on-ramps to the purchasing donating process.  The four phases of the cycle are Discover, Explore, Buy, and Engage.

The cycle shows that donors continually move from phase to phase within the cycle.  Their experience with you follows a circular pattern and not a linear one.

Forrester's "Customer Life Cycle" modified slightly. "Buy" becomes "Donate"

For example: Even after they first discover (or learn about) your nonprofit, they continue to discover new things about you.  It’s on-going.

They continually discover, explore, engage, and donate.  And just as importantly, they do all this in a wide variety of ways.  It ties back into multi-channel / integrated marketing.

I encourage you to give these concepts careful thought.  Think about how these approaches and ways of thinking will strengthen your marketing messages. Think about how they will strengthen your relationships with your donors and members.

Get ready for 2011 now.  Our work as marketers, communicators, and fundraisers continues to get more challenging in a rapidly changing environment.