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    I spoke at yesterday’s Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association Luncheon.

    April 29th, 2010

    Yesterday I participated in a panel discussion, along with Jo Sullivan, Senior Director of Integrated Marketing at CDR Fundraising Group, and Tricia Reyes, Associate Director of Fundraising at Consumers Union. The discussion took place at NYC’s Yale Club, with approximately 70 people in attendance.

    The topic was How to Be More Effective in Your Fundraising Job.

    I was asked to address what skills employers seek from direct marketing fundriaisng professionals, whether there is a targeted mix of on and offline marketing efforts, and what employers are looking for when hiring direct marketing fundraisers. Here are some highlights from the presentation:

    - Both traditional and emerging media are important parts of the marketing mix. Older donors continue to respond well to direct mail, while younger donors are joining Facebook fan pages for causes they embrace, and reading blogs and surfing YouTube.

    -Social media creates relationships, as opposed to traditional media, which is more transaction oriented. As Wendy has learned from her clients, getting new prospects to fan pages is critical to beginning the relationship which creates a donation. As she said in the presentation, “First you date, then you marry.”

    -What are employers looking for? Many nonprofits feel it is beneficial to have experience in the for-profit arena. Also, the most valuable candidates understand how all the channels – planned giving, major gifts, direct mail, drtv, telemarketing, and social media – are bolted together. They understand the cause and effect behind the performance of a marketing program, which is getting more and more difficult in a multichannel world.

    Marketing Executive Search Experts report that job seekers may have reason to feel hopeful…

    April 26th, 2010

    …So begins a piece in Sunday’s New York Times.

    It continues…

    Here are some of the hopeful signs as indicated by the author, Phyllis Korkki:

    - Employers added 162,000 nonfarm jobs for the month of March.
    - Indeed.com, which collects job listings from thousands of sources, reported a 19% increase in postings from March 2009.
    - Recruiters are seeing more demand for temp hires, which is often a sign that permanent hires are not far behind.
    - Companies’ profit reports, recent retail sales, manufacturing and other data are generally improving.

    It was also pointed out that the recession masked a long-term trend that will intensify:

    A worker shortage caused by the continuing retirement of baby boomers. Suddenly, employers are starting to realize that they don’t have, or won’t have, people with the skills they need. Some are starting to worry; others have no idea what’s going to hit them.

    To read the article in its entirety, click here.

    Cross-Channel Retail Transformation

    April 20th, 2010

    I just read a piece by Kasey Lobaugh of Deloitte Consulting LLP that articulates my point of view so clearly I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    He says that as cross-channel shpping becomes more prevalent, savvy retailers are paying greater attention to the strategic importance of e-commerce and online business in the broader context of how customers see their brand. But in order to thrive in this new environment, they must change how they think about their online capabilities – moving from designing channel specific capabilities to creating enterprise capabilities.

    According to Lobaugh, “multi-channel is the future of retail, and a successful retailer must be able to serve customers whenever, wherever and however they want. That means more than simply having multiple channels, but creating enterprise capabilities than can be accessed regardless of channel. This will require more than improved e-commerce systems. It will require a complete transformation of the retail operating model – including changes to skill sets, metrics, organizational structures and business processes.”

    To read the article in its entirety: Click here.

    Although our value as a search firm specializing in multichannel marketing is very evident to catalogers and pure play ecommerce firms, I feel that retailers are late to the party. Though virtually all now have ecommerce websites, I often find that there is a lack of synergy between channels. As Lobaugh says, “Cross-channel consumers can interact with a retailer in a variety of ways. They might come into the store to see a product in person, but then go home and order it online. Or they might place an in-store order against an extended assortment, but have it delivered at home. They might even place an online order with you while standing inside a competitor’s store.”

    We find ourselves frustrated that retailers do not seem to fully recognize the importance of expertise in multichannel marketing, and of course, by extension, the need to utilize Crandall Associates to recruit them. As Lobaugh concludes, “Retailers that develop the multi-channel capabilities necessary to effectively serve this new breed of customers are likely to gain a meaningful advantage in the marketplace. Those that don’t are likely to find themselves sliding down a slippery slope.”

    Did you know that colleges are huge direct marketers?

    April 19th, 2010

    My daughter is a high school senior.

    She applied to a variety of colleges, and the acceptances (and some rejections!) have been received.  She is weighing her options in an attempt to make the right choice regarding what is the biggest decision of her life so far.

    Direct marketing campaigns from colleges begin with a deluge of direct mail after SAT scores are distributed.  The volume of mail from colleges across the country was overwhelming, and went unopened.  It is my observation that teenagers don’t do direct mail.  At least the ones in my house don’t.

    The actual college acceptances arrived primarily as e-links, with passwords provided prior to receipt.  Some colleges sent mail packages.

    The clever marketing took place after acceptance.  “Personal” letters from parents of current students, phone calls from actual students, invitations to join Facebook clubs and skype chats are all part of the campaign to entice the accepted student to commit to the individual colleges.  My daughter tells me that she was able to learn quite a bit about the culture of each college through interaction with other enrolled and prospective students on Facebook.  In fact, many students are connecting with future college roommates through social media sites.

    I learned early on in my own direct marketing career to reach out to subscribers in the marketing channel of their choosing; ie, if the subscriber initially subscribed through direct mail, send them a renewal through direct mail.   If they called in their order, call to ask for their renewal.  In this case, the language of most teenagers is social media.  My daughter walks right past the pile of mail in our front entryway, but would never go a day without Facebook.

    Interestingly, social media cuts parents out of the equation.  When I was going through the college decision process, my father was aware of every letter I received from prospective schools.  Today, I only know what my daughter chooses to share.  The “direct” aspect of direct marketing has eliminated the parent from the equation.

    Well, I do know when I will receive direct communication from the school of my daughter’s choosing…and it won’t be an invite to join a Facebook fan page.  It will be a good old fashioned tuition bill!

    Direct Marketing Club of NY

    April 9th, 2010

    Yale Club

    Yesterday I attended a luncheon meeting of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. It was held at the Yale Club of NY.

    The speaker was Garrett V. Friedrichsen, Partner Director Digital Dialogue of OgilvyOne NY.

    DM Club NY 003

    Friedrichsen develops engagement strategies within the email, mobile & emerging media channels for the Sears Holding Corporation & other global clients. His case-study presentation provided a sneak peek under the hood of the marketing strategies of Sears Holdings (Kmart and Sears brands) and their agency, OglivyOne.

    The luncheon was attended by close to 100 direct marketers.

    Executive Search Agency Advice: How to Alienate a Prospective Employer

    April 5th, 2010

    Last week we almost lost 2 placements. We did end up losing one.

    We had been awarded search assignments for companies that had very specific requirements. One was in a remote location of the country. The other required a particular background and skill set.

    In both cases, we conducted exhaustive searches…and were successful. We identified capable, motivated candidates who were ideally suited to the employers’ specifications. We navigated through the hiring process, coordinating interviews, responding to questions and concerns on both the candidate’s and client’s behalf, and conducting reference checks. Everything came together nicely. Ultimately, offers of employment were extended.

    In both cases, the candidates reached out directly to their prospective employers via email to negotiate the terms of the offer. In both cases, this type of overture was received poorly. In one case, the offer was rescinded.

    Here is the lesson: Do NOT negotiate via email. Better yet, allow your recruiter to negotiate – live – on your behalf.

    Email has its value. It is a wonderful tool for conveying information, and putting in writing numbers and concepts that might otherwise be difficult, or cumbersome, to discuss.

    But it is simply not as nuanced as a phone conversation, and words can be misconstrued.

    And they were…and now 3 parties are disappointed: my candidate, who did not intend any harm through the email; my recruiter, who did all the “heavy lifting” of the search, only to see the placement fall apart due to a breakdown in communication; and my client, who probably would have been quite happy with this candidate’s performance in the position.

    By the way, I later viewed these emails. I did not interpret their tone as demanding. Further evidence that the written word is viewed differently by different eyes. Unfortunately, once viewed in a negative light, the damage cannot always be undone.