Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation


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We know it is all about the culture. Am I willing to tackle the issue? Am I will to put a stake in the ground with the CEO? Will I focus my team on transforming if the rest of the organization isn’t on board?

I can find all kinds of scapegoats for lack of traction or failure.

Am I willing to address the elephant in the room?

62 percent of employees consider culture as the number 1 hurdle to digital transformation. This is one of the many startling statistics uncovered in my latest culture research report with Jerome Buvat at CapGemini, “The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap.

Corporate culture is one of the most important and misunderstood pillars of any organization. This isn’t news. What is news however is the extent of which companies need to but can’t fully invest in digital transformation to compete in an era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Said another way, digital transformation is critical to the survival of incumbents and their ability to digitally transform is greatly hindered by the lack of a digital culture, digital literacy and digital vision. Yes, that’s a lot of “digital” in one sentence, but each element in its own right requires understanding, empathy and mastery to navigate complicated and often counter-intuitive paths.

Source: Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation | Brian Solis | Pulse | LinkedIn

“You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling.” ~Peter Thiel

Return on Mission


That is the big question to answer and then shout it at the top of our lungs to everyone.

Employees love to know why but then is it compelling? Can I get passionate about it? Will I be devoted? Will I become an evangelist?

You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done. Peter Thiel

Why did I start this journey in the first place?


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Transformation isn’t easy. We all know that most transformation initiatives, of any kind, fail. The reasons are well known. Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

If transformation in general is difficult, then it must be known that Customer Experience transformation is really, really difficult. Why can it fail? Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

It will help to stay positive. It is always way too easy to become discouraged. There are many speed bumps in the way and it easy for the wheels to come off if we don’t slow down sometimes. I must remember why I started the journey in the first place.

It is imperative that we celebrate success along the way. Little benchmarks offers the opportunity to celebrate frequently. Celebrations engages the team members and energizes leadership.

Image result for customer experience transformation

Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video)


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Customer connectedness is one of Temkin Group’s four CX core competencies. A key capability in this area is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. This video highlights their model for creating a VoC program, called the 6D’s: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy.

via Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video) | Customer Experience Matters.

Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology


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Digital Transformation

Am I focused on making this goal or process or people issue supported by a digital component?

Am I thinking digital in terms of potential solutions to my daily challenges?

Am I a digital champion?

Digital Business Transformation must, by definition, mean a wider consideration of exactly how an enterprise does functional operate when its business model becomes based not only on Technology, but also on external Technology and Services provided by new deployment models.

This is not an argument for the chaos of Enterprise wide transformation in response to the introduction of IT, and PCs and ERP technologies as in the past. Instead it is an argument for managing a graceful change by letting go of non-core activities and re focusing on what will increase competitive differentiation in support of Digital Business.

via Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology | Constellation Research Inc..

What is really important around here?


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Senior management gets behind lots of things. There are plenty of culture change initiatives. Some of them are real. A few of them actually happen.

What is really important?

Look at the agendas for last 12 months of executive team meetings. If you a member of the C-Suite, take a hard look and say … Yes! That is what we want.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark


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Do I believe that highly engaged employees make a difference in the customer experience?

There is plenty of evidence and facts to demonstrate if facts move me.

Or … do I believe in my heart and soul that passionate employees who want to serve customers are the key?

It makes sense to invest in my and my employees heart. Passion for service is a key.

Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark

How are nonprofit’s measuring multi-channel campaigns?


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Return on Investment

We hear so much about the importance of sending multi-channel campaigns and integrating direct mail, email, social and website messaging. And I see more nonprofits doing this the past few years.

Where I see nonprofits often still coming up short, though, is measuring multi-channel results, especially beyond email conversions. If these other channels are now part of your campaigns, then you have to be able to measure them, too.

What are the metrics?

  1. Revenue
  2. Expense
  3. ROI
  4. Multi-channel engagement
  5. Conversion from expensive channels to cheaper channels
  6. Net Promoter score


Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.


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Highly engaged employees lead to loyal customers. Study after study reveal this simple fact.

So … Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.

Question: Am I building a culture of highly engaged employees? How do I measure it?

Source: How Company Culture Impacts Customer Experience | CustomerThink

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” –Betty Bender


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Work and success is about passion for what we do. We get up and go to work for a reason. It could be just for the paycheck. It could be for the satisfaction of contributing to something important.

Emotional connection to our company’s mission is critical. Engagement is real. Engagement makes a difference. Engaged employees lead to engaged customers.

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home. –Betty Bender

Am I willing to prioritize customer experience investments to keep my promise?


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We have made promises to our customers. They may not have been well thought out but we have made them. If our promises are not the ones that add value, we should think about changing them.

Is our promise clear to us and our customers? Do we know what it will cost us to keep it? It is important to plan our customer experiences around our promises.

Making the customer experience, relative to the promise, a priority will help keep us all focused.

What investments am I willing to make to keep our customer experience promise?

The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity


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A recently published global survey of C-Suite level executives and IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) revealed a large gap in assessments of cyber threats, costs and areas of responsibilities. Among the most significant disconnects:

  • 80% of the executives surveyed in the U.S. believe cybersecurity to be a significant challenge facing their business, while only 50% of ITDMs agree.
  • ITDMs estimated the average cost of a cyber breach at $27.2 million, much higher than the average $5.9 million cited by executives.
  • 50% of the executives surveyed believe the reason why an attack on their organization would succeed would be due to human error of employees, compared to 31% of ITDMs.

The research shows there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of a successful breach, which many underestimate. It isn’t just about what the thieves get away with. A successful cyber attack can have far reaching implications such as impacting share price, lost business, fines — even a failed strategic investment or merger.

Source: The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity

"The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’" ~~Jeffrey Bezos


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Golden Circle – Why, How and What

It is all about the question most days. As leaders, we get to ask the questions and help everyone focus.

Why not should be a big one we ask a lot.

The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’ ~Jeffrey Bezos

Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet. When, not if, will you change your strategy?


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Some days the message comes through load and clear. If my company is “digital” yet, I am way behind things and getting “behinder”.

Yesterday was too late for a strategy.

So … when will you abandon the “non digital” approach? When will you adopt a new strategy? This is not a question of if, but when.

All the talk of digital disruption turning incumbents into dinosaurs and unicorns into masters of entirely new domains might lead you to think this is already an old narrative—so 2016. In fact, digitization has barely started, and so has the accompanying upheaval.

Digital technologies and processes have penetrated only about 35% of the way into the average industry, meaning that merely a third of a typical company’s products and operations that could be digitized have been. Yet the impact has already been dramatic: Globally, digital disruption is shaving 45% off incumbent companies’ revenue growth and 35% off their earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). As digitization accelerates, the hit to revenues and profits of digital laggards will grow significantly, even as the digital leaders capture disproportionate gains.

These findings emerge from a research effort my McKinsey colleagues and I undertook to examine the nature, extent, and implications of digitization’s spread. We wanted to understand how economic performance will change as digital technology continues its advance, and what strategies are most likely to win the game.

Source: Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet | Strategy & Corporate Finance | McKinsey & Company

Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement


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There are days I ask myself, what happened to the annual campaign and a core of loyal donors?

There aren’t any easy answers. Nonprofits need money and they need it now. There doesn’t seem to be time to build and sustain growth. But is it a case of “easy come” and “easy go”?

As organizations develop and successfully implement crowdfunding events, many are and should be asking themselves what to do with all those new crowdfunding donors.

Questions like “Can these donors become long-term valuable supporters to the organization, and if so, how?” are certainly on the minds of fundraisers as we see an influx of these “new” type of constituents.

via Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement.

An “Omni-Channel” Donor approach will make a difference


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Omni Channel

Unified donor data and a unified experience is supported by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels all of your donor channels like direct marketing, advertising, donating, digital like the web /  mobile and donor service (call center). All channels need to be fused into a single approach for our donors.

At its core, Omni-channel is about the donor and being obsessed with the experience they have with you. Anything that is disjointed will throw them off. The focus here is on seamless and consistency.

Many times, off line is forgotten about in this approach. It may be first thing you want to tackle. How can your off line marketing support your online approach and vice versa? Are you spurring engagement with your nonprofit? Are you creating evangelists for your products and services?

Your donors are now interacting with you in many ways. They may see your ad at night on TV. They may search for you on the web in the morning on a desk top before leaving for work. They may go to your site during the day on a smartphone or tablet while on the go during the day. While on Facebook, they may look for your page. They may search Twitter to see what others are saying about you.  Do they experience the same thing in all those interactions?

A great example of this approach is Progressive Insurance. Check out their web site and see if you don’t recognize the approach.

Because their journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous, today’s donors increasingly expect a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalized experience with their service providers which current multi-channel models—with their multiple silos of donor contact—are unable to provide. Instead, a fully integrated response to these new donor requirements will need to be both donor-driven and omni-channel in nature.

Source: Accenture: The new Omni-Channel Approach to Serving Donors

Here are some important things to know about the complexity of the connected donor.

  1. They are more knowledgeable than you may think. It is just too easy to search and research a nonprofit.
  2. Donors are becoming very demanding. Donors are under a crunch and value convenience highly.
  3. Donors are very empowered. They can easily find an alternative to what you are offering and don’t hesitate to if they aren’t engaged with you.
  4. Donors are increasingly social and collaborative in their approach.
  5. Donors are extremely diverse and may not fit your traditional market segments.
  6. Donors are very interactive in their approach. They may ask you a question on Facebook or Twitter and actually expect you will answer very fast.
  7. Donors on the go and mobile is very important to them. They may consume your content and purchase your services anytime / anywhere.

You might think that this sounds very difficult. There are of course some major challenges. But take a very difficult challenge of retail. How would you approach this? These examples may be helpful in seeing how it can be done in a very difficult industry. Check out these five:

  1. Crate & Barrel – The nonprofit recognizes that many shoppers switch from web to smartphone to tablet when conducting research and completing purchases, so when donors are signed in, the C&B app saves their shopping cart so they can access their information across multiple devices and browsers. This enables them to pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the shopping process.
  2. Oasis – UK fashion retailer Oasis has an ecommerce site, a mobile app, and several brick-and-mortar locations and it does a pretty good job in fusing those channels to give people a great shopping experience.
  3. Starbucks – The Starbucks rewards app is frequently mentioned in “top” lists of omnichannel efforts and for good reason: the coffee nonprofit does an excellent job in providing a seamless user experience across all channels.
  4. Sephora – Through its “My Beauty Bag” program, cosmetics retailer Sephora makes it easy for its loyal donors to manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any device.
  5. Chipotle – Chipotle Mexican Grill is utilizing multiple channels to enable donors to place orders wherever they are. People can place an order online for pick-up at the nearest Chipotle location, and they can also use its official mobile app to order on the go.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with understanding what omni-channel means your donor.
  2. Create the strategy to integrate your approach for all channels.
  3. Identify gaps and easy / quick fixes.
  4. Begin with a few simple but quickly executable initiatives. Don’t try to rebuild everything.
  5. Form an Omni-channel donor engagement team to discuss how to get traction and be ambassadors for the approach.
  6. Encourage offline and online integration quickly.
  7. Don’t forget about your donor service (call center) operations.
  8. Create an integrated content calendar and repurpose content across channels.

Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels


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The Temkin Group has been doing large-scale consumer research for several years. As part of our ongoing studies, they  track many consumer attitudes. To gauge the overall quality of life for the U.S. population, they created the Temkin Well-Being Index (TWBi) based on a few of those attitudinal elements.

The TWBi is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January. The overall index is an average of three measurements representing the percentage of U.S. adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  • I am healthy
  • I am financially secure

They’ve been tracking it since 2012.  As you can see in the figure below:

  • After the TWBi reached 65.9%, the highest over the six years we’ve been tracking the metric.
  • The increase of 4 %-points between 2016 and 2017 is the largest single-year increase.
  • All three areas of the TWBi are at their highest levels, and increased since last year. The largest increase is in financial security, which gained 5.5 %-points between 2016 and 2017.

Source: Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels | Customer Experience Matters®

6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate


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Donor retention is the key to successful fund raising at non-profits. It is essential to being cost effective. Acquiring new donors is very expensive.

So … what is your donor retention rate?

Over the last six years I have had the privilege of speaking to large gatherings of nonprofit professional fundraisers on an average of 2.5 times per month. At the beginning of each presentation, I typically ask the audience by a show of hands how many in the room know their donor retention rate.

Each time, very few hands go in the air.

I keep thinking that the percentage of people raising their hands will go up by at least a small percent each year, yet it remains a very dismal small percentage.

However, if I ask them any of the following questions, the answers are readily known:

  • What is your fundraising dollar goal for this year?
  • How much did you raise last year?
  • How many donors do you have?
  • How many new donors do you have in the last year?
  • What is your best campaign or appeal?

Why isn’t donor retention on this list?

Source: 6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate

How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys


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We all know how to carry on a conversation.

The challenge in getting feedback from customers is to approach our surveys that way.

Picture this scene: your manager stops by your desk and begins to speak. You wait for a chance to break in and contribute to the conversation. In fact, you welcome it since you have a couple of ideas you think could really improve your team’s productivity. But your manager keeps talking… and talking… and talking… and then walks away without even saying good-bye.

In this scenario, most of us would probably feel offended, slighted, or any one of a dozen other negative emotions.

Sadly, many companies approach their customer relationships in exactly this way. They send newsletters, direct mail, and email blasts, but never invite or allow the customer to join the conversation. They miss the essential truth that communication is a two-way street. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re not communicating with them. You’re not conversing with them. And you’re probably not keeping them.

Feedback surveys can be a great way to give your customer a seat at the table. Has your organization tried implementing a survey or two, but found them to be less than successful? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the metrics and KPIs and statistics around surveys that we lose sight of what makes a survey successful. Organizations should take a step back, and apply the principles of successful conversation to your surveys instead.

Source: How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys | CustomerThink

Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience


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The customer experience

We know the customer experience is important.

We struggle with how to measure it.

At the end of the day, there probably isn’t one “right answer” about what the important metrics are. Having the right culture will lead to the right metrics.

The growth, development and profitability of any customer service company depends on its customers and it’s important to track this growth through customer experience measurement. Companies with many satisfied customers will undoubtedly be more prosperous than companies with few dissatisfied customers. A satisfied customer is one who is most likely to purchase from you, rarely shops around, refer other customers to your company and scores high when it comes to advocating for your company.

via Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience.

Creating a donor value framework


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Not all data is of equal value and not every donor is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which donors are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.

Donor Value Framework

Basic value segmentation looks at low actual value and low potential value. The focus is to mine the data and watch for changes from other data.

A second cohort to segment is high current value but low potential value. The focus is to maintain the relationship to renew commitments.

Third, segment those who are low actual value and high potential value. The focus is cultivate the relationship and upgrade the commitment.

The final segment are the donors with high actual and high potential value. The focus here is to invest in the relationship.

It is critical to recognize that not all donors have the same value long term and to invest in the ones that have a high potential. This type of segmentation requires high levels of insight. Standard business processes can be enabled in lots of systems via workflow.

The digital executive has a specific responsibility to insist that this is core to your marketing, donation and digital strategies. An unfocused approach to engaging with donors can be disastrous. If you are a marketing or donation executive, organize a group to help formulate the strategy and become ambassadors for its execution.

One requirement could be to enhance your data with external sources to assist in process of segmenting. Tools like Dunn and Bradstreet data for corporations and wealth screening for individuals may be useful. In some cases it may be as simple as enhancing data based on zip codes and census tracts to get started.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start now to create a framework to segment your donors.
  2. Begin to formulate a strategy of how gain enough insights to move donors through the framework.
  3. Encourage investments in building relationships with high potential value donors.
  4. Consider enhancing your data to assist in this type of segmentation.
  5. This may not be easy, insist on finding a way to make it happen.

Don’t let a lack of resources hold you back.

Do you have a content curation strategy? Do you have an eye for the awesome?


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Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy? If not, now is the time to think about it. Original content is great.

But … knowing what others are saying and amplifying it is very helpful. That is the importance of a librarian at the library. It is not so much knowing everything as knowing where to find it.

One of the keys, however, is organization. That leads to a tagging and categorization approach. Is there a logical way you organize what you produce?

Of course, the ability to spot the awesome helps.

Content curation – the process of finding, organizing, and  sharing topical, relevant content for your audience that supports your nonprofit’s engagement or campaign goals (or your professional learning) begins with “Spotting the Awesome.”   I love that phrase coined by my friends at Upwell.   Do you or your organization have formal guidelines for “spotting the awesome”  like Upwell (see below) or is it more of  ”we know it when we see it?”

via Content Curation: The Art and Science of Spotting Awesome | Beth’s Blog.


Doing something about the data, insight and donor experience gaps


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Knowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.


Much of our effort should be in understanding where we are today, where we want to go, what the gaps are and what we can do move ahead. This is both short term with quick wins and the overall long term strategy.

Accurately identifying the gaps gets you on the road to improvement. This should be seen as a continuous process with huge incremental results. Lots of quick experiments and tests can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Senior executives should help create a culture of gap analysis and continuous improvement. Without the focus and support of the digital executive, we can all fall into “analysis paralysis”.

Gap analysis and continuous improvement is something that can be done at all levels of the organization. The closer it is to the donor, the better. Donor champions, evangelist and advocates are best position to have great energy around this.

Basic training in facilitating the process doesn’t require huge budgets. Creating performance expectations for improving the experience in a tangible way is very important.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple approaches to encourage identifying gaps and plans to improve the experience.
  2. Begin setting expectations that it is important to measure the results of the improvement initiatives.
  3. Encourage a culture of continuous improvement.
  4. Be sure to set clear goals for gains.
  5. Clearly articulate why gap identification and improvement is important.
  6. Identify evangelists and champions of continuous improvement.
  7. Focus on staff closest to the donor. Listen to them first rather than a senior executive 5 levels removed.

Unifying the experience for the donor


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Donor Experience

This is not all about data. At the end of the day, donors will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels. While it takes data to know the donor and systems to remember them, only great experiences lead to amazing service.

If I call you, I reasonable expect you have a history of my transactions regardless of channel and how long I have been your donor. I also probable expect for you to remember other issues and challenges I’ve had and how they were resolved. A breakdown in that at any point creates painful experiences.

This speaks to having worked through the donor journey, what is working and what isn’t, and improving the experience for the donor. This journey should identify data that is useful to know and insights that can create for you in delivering stunning service.

While journey maps are about much more than data, it is important to look at what data you have, what data you could use and what insight that could create in improving the whole experience.

Pay particular attention to data (structure and unstructured) that you already have from donors via your call center, web site, social media comments and email responses. There is a richness here that can inform the donor journey and the data that can used to improve it.

Improving the experience for the donor by providing front line staff better insights is foundational to the digital executive obsessed with the donor.  Journey maps without great data and insight could just be someone’s opinion.

Staff who are closest to the donor usually have a handle on what data and insight would be most useful to the journey mapping process. Be sure to engage them regularly.

Journey maps can be tedious and budgets may be constrained to bring in external resources to help. Consider an investment in training at least one of your staff who be the subject matter expert and facilitate the process, even if it just part time.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with one segment or persona and develop a simple journey map.
  2. Begin by identify data that you have or gaps that exist in providing great insight.
  3. Encourage a focus on insight and improving the journey.
  4. See this as a holistic process integral to your ecosystem.

Involve staff closest to the donor.

Unifying donor data and creating actionable insight


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Smart Data

Smart Data

Even 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.

Let’s be honest. This is just plain difficult. I’m a small business. I believe in the value of integrated data. But it is painful and difficult. I use one tool a lot. It is call email. I have another tool for managing Customer Relationships. If I send an email, I can also get it in the CRM tool just by sending it as a bcc. So far so good. But then I use a different tool for eMarketing. I then have to export it from CRM and import it to the eMarketing tool. And on and on it goes from there.

Imagine the challenge for a mid-size nonprofit. It gets worse for large corporations. It just isn’t easy.

That said, it is worth doing as best you can. So that is what I do. And you should consider the same.

First, we need a strategy. Pick at least two systems that will give you a better level of insight. Integrate the core data needed for that insight. Don’t get carried away. If it doesn’t give you insight and you can’t act on it to move the relationship ahead then it isn’t useful.

Second, we need to execute the strategy and evaluate its effectiveness. If it isn’t effective consider stopping. Why waste the energy and resources.

Third, while data integration is generally very complex and difficult, the focus needs to be on simplicity. If a business unit cannot make a case for the insight that the data will bring and the action / results that it will accomplish, I say “move on”. That takes courage and great support from the executive level.

Knowing more than one thing generally leads to greater insight. Our everyday experience teaches us that. The insight I gain by knowing a decision maker at a target nonprofit is opening my emails leads me to see if I can schedule a call to discover more about their challenges. Simply integrating CRM and eMarketing tools can lead to that insight.

As more data is integrated about donors, the biggest issue is data quality and duplicates. If left unchecked, the insights and action will be suspect. It is important to keep the data integrated as simple as possible and pay attention to “master data” and the “golden record” early on. Investing in some level of Master Data Management (MDM) will make sense. Better to make this decision early and enforce integrity to the data.

There are several ways to approach analytics. Simple and easy to use Excel spreadsheets is one level. Data warehouses and data marts takes it to another level. Within systems themselves (think CRM), dashboards are very powerful at providing insight and action (via workflow).

All of this leads to an issue of executive oversight. Someone needs to make the tough decisions in the best interest of the donor. The CEO needs to empower someone to make those decisions. Otherwise your technology team will be chasing its tail on a regular basis with unclear direction and expensive solutions to meet the great demand for integration.

There is clearly a role for oversight for this function. It should be led by a high level business executive who focuses on insight.

Many of the advanced solutions and systems can be very expensive. Senior executives will clearly experience sticker shock when looking at investment decisions. Out of many technology investments to be made, this is one that cries out for clear ROI and a total economic benefit to spell out.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple integrations that focus early on data quality.
  2. Begin with integrations that lead to clear insight and action.
  3. Encourage oversight and accountability for results.
  4. Early on, default to system dashboards and workflow rather than other complicated systems.
  5. Insights that lead to next steps along the donor journey will have high payoffs for renewal, cross-selling and up-selling.
  6. Senior business executives must be engaged early and often.
  7. Enforce clear budget boundaries with clear ROI.

Social Media & Content Are Top Priorities for Marketers in 2017


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Social Media & Content Are Top Priorities for Marketers in 2017 – “Marketing in the digital world has come a long way from the ugly banner ads that made our eyes bleed in the early days of the internet. Whether it’s paying to show up in search results, sharing content on social media or having a YouTube star use your product in one of his/her videos – these days there are countless ways to promote products, services and brands online.

“Over the past few years, social networks in particular have risen in significance from a marketing point of view, as hardly any other channel can match Facebook & co. in targeting a specific group of people. According to a study from Econsultancy and Adobe, who surveyed almost 3,500 international marketers on how their spending on various digital marketing channels would change this year, social media marketing remains a top priority for brands in 2017.

“56 percent of the respondents plan to increase their social media spending while just 5 percent plan to do the opposite. Content marketing and personalization are also high on marketers’ agenda this year, while spending on display and search advertising won’t be further increased by the majority of marketing professionals.”

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~Steve Jobs


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Am I on a mission? I need focus and purpose to what I am doing. Without that, I am just showing up.

Do I have passion for what I am doing? Passion “gets me through the day”. It essential to what I do.

If there is no purpose and passion, why not? I need to fall in love again. I need that spark.

Do I surround myself with others who have passion and purpose? This is not a “go it alone” exercise. I need others on the same road.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~Steve Jobs

Donor data is all about insight leading to action


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Customer Insight

Customer Insight

Data is very useful if it allows us to understand our donors better. Collecting data is of no value if it doesn’t lead to insight. Think data, insight and action.

There are all kind of insights that will lead to further action.  Here are several:

  1. The value and potential of the donor
  2. The next step in building the relationship based on other similar donors
  3. Channels they may prefer
  4. What is the level of engagement
  5. Nonprofits and organizations they may have a relationship with.
  6. Summaries of how recent and frequently of buying and engagement.
  7. What kind of experience they are having. How satisfied they are.
  8. What they are interested in. What type of content should be sent to them? How to render the content via static content, graphics or video.
  9. Who is in their network and who influences them?
  10. What kind of referrals do they make?
  11. Real time data from Smart devices

The list goes on and on. In thinking about what data to gather, always think through what insight that it will give and where it will lead the relationship.

The intent is to develop a deep understanding of donors, using a disciplined approach, which can be leveraged across the organization to improve the experience for the donor and profitability for the corporation. Deeper knowledge of donors assists in uncovering and clarifying opportunities. In addition to data you may already have, there may need to be in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys and industry analyst sources.

There could be several types of insight to look at:

  1. A predictive model
  2. Attitudinal understanding
  3. Product behavior

The digital executive should also consider leading the charge to go beyond traditional quantitative and qualitative approaches. A new model is emerging know as real-time experience tracking (RET).

Real-time experience tracking was born of two insights. First, while a market researcher can’t easily follow customers around 24 hours a day, those donors’ cell phones can, and unlike human observers, they don’t sway people’s perceptions of experiences. The second insight was that although customers may interact with a company in thousands of ways, you really need to know only four things about each encounter: the brand involved, the type of touchpoint (TV ad, say, or call to the service center), how the participant felt about the experience, and how persuasive it was. (Did it make the customer more inclined to choose the brand next time?)

Source: Harvard Business Review Article

The digital executive has to be obsessive in understanding the donor. Without that passion and commitment, the voice of the donor may not be heard. This, at its core, is not about collecting data just because we can. It is all about understanding the donor, improving the experience and increasing the top line for the corporation.

Gaining the type of insight that brings real results may require investing in getting the right kind of data, different tools to analyze the data and staff that can accurately understand the data. Looking at the total economic benefit will be useful.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with a clear commitment to understanding the donor with deeper levels of insight.
  2. Begin with some questions that need to be answered with the eye toward action to improve results.
  3. Encourage a collaborative approach that cuts across departmental silos.
  4. Obsess about understand the donor.
  5. Create a culture that always looks at what we know from our donors before proceeding with an initiative.

Assess the total economic benefit of understanding the donor

Should We Have This Meeting? (Infographic Decision Tree)


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So many corporate employees spend their workday bouncing from meeting to meeting. In many organizations, the de facto method of getting anything done has been: “Let’s meet about it.”

In the spirit of eliminating unnecessary activities to increase productivity, use this handy meeting “go vs. no go” decision tree. And please share it with your manager or overly-dependent-on-meetings colleagues!

Source: Should We Have This Meeting? (Infographic Decision Tree)

Will your company be customer experience driven?


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Growth in Customer Experience (Forrester Research)

Growth in Customer Experience (Forrester Research)

There is no denying that companies are embracing the whole “customer experience” phenomena. This year even more companies will adopt approaches to transform their business. The trend will only continue to accelerate.

What does this mean to you? Why should you not ignore what is going on with your competitors?

Disruption is around the corner. Others may be about to overtake you. Now is not the time to to ignore what is vital to your digital transformation efforts.

Some key areas for focus are:

  1. Understand your customers
  2. Measure the experience they are having with you
  3. Set up a governance or oversight team
  4. Create and execute a clear strategy
  5. Build better design into your processes
  6. Accurately assess where you are from a “culture” point of view

The value of offline donor data


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Smart Data

Smart Data

Not all data is as valuable as others. The human resources to manually enter offline donor data can be daunting and so many times it is the last priority. There are great services that automate the collection of offline data at a reasonable cost. The first step in the automation process is to create a data value strategy. That will help justify the cost of capturing the offline donor data and integrating it into your donor systems.

The opportunity to collect offline data for most nonprofits is huge. We tend to underestimate how much of it we really have. For some retail oriented businesses it is close to 100 percent. Think about what you know about donors online and what you know about them offline.

Offline can include knowledge gained in the call center, by donation staff, from surveys, point of sale transactions and retail interactions from service personnel. It may be helpful to do a quick audit of all that you really have. If may be more than you think. And it may lead to great insight than online data which leads to action and engagement.  It also getting easier and more cost effective to get the data via scanning / OCR technology.

Digital executives are passionate about getting insight on what is important to donors. Think about a world where you could act on the insights gained from your offline data. The cost of integrating may be worth its weight in gold.

The other side of this is that when donors give us information and tell us something, they expect us to remember it to provide them better service. The point of integrating offline data is to gain insight into donors that can’t be gained otherwise and to be able to act for better service.

Everyone can be involved in the effort. Imagine having a simple card that service personnel fill out with the answers to 3 questions what will give you great insight. They ask the questions and write down the answers. You have a service scan it and integrate it with your other donor data. What if you could get their email address? It may not be as difficult as you think. You can get everyone involved in the effort.

There is always the constraint of the budget. It is just too costly you think. Creating a value framework is not that difficult. A simple table can help you assess what offline data you have, what it would cost to get it into your systems and what insight it will give you to build relationships (leading to greater donation).

Alert!! Do you have a privacy policy? Is it up to date? How good is your data security? Has someone independent from your technical team assessed risks in your donor data security? Not having a budget to look at this is a high risk. The damage to your credibility is at stake.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the value of the offline data you have about your donors? How much of it do you have? What would it cost to get it integrated with your other data?
  2. If you have that additional insight, what could you do with it to increase engagement, cross-sell, and up-sell?
  3. What don’t you know, that if you started asking and integrating the data, would be hugely valuable?

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start by creating a strategy based on your offline data value framework.
  2. Begin by testing high insight data integration. Have a plan of what action you will take based on that insight.
  3. Encourage frontline staff to gather critical data that provides a high level of insight you can act on.
  4. Focus on insight and action.
  5. Create a team to oversee the effort and serve as ambassadors.
  6. Establish a budget to do something to get started.
  7. Pay attention to privacy and security.

How did I feel about that experience? Was it fun?


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The customer experience

The customer experience

Many things make up the customer experience. Three that many agree on are achieving a goal, the effort it takes and how I feel about the experience.

Am I successful in achieving my goal? When I interact with a company, I have a goal in mind. Maybe I am just doing some research. Maybe I am ready to buy. Successful companies understand the goals of their customers and design the journey to meet the goal.

What kind of effort do I have to put into this? Is it easy? How many times do we go to do something and it is so difficult. We have a problem with our bill and we want it straightened out. 2 hours later after talking with 5 different customer reps and it still isn’t straight. It is more common than not that by understanding the goal a customer has in mind, we make it difficult to achieve it.

How did I feel? Was it fun and enjoyable? We are all creatures of how we feel about an experience. It may be the most ignored driver of amazing experiences.

All of these items have an impact on loyalty. So where do we focus?

The most impactful and overlooked is the emotion of it all; how I feel about the experience. Since most companies over look the emotional connection customers have with a company, starting there maybe the most impactful thing I can do. Competitors may never, ever get there.


What donor data should we collect?


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Donor Relations

Donor Relations

We probably shouldn’t try to collect everything. We also should be collecting the “right” donor data. We should consider enhancing the data we collect to make it more valuable. Several suggested priorities are all online transaction detail and insight, most offline transaction detail and insight, social media data and insights and finally, call center transactions and insights.

There has been a lot said and written about the 360 degree view of the donor. A quick Google search will bring up 13.7 million results. Many in favor and some questioning the strategy.

I believe donor data is important. One thing to think about, however, is how much data do you need to know to make actionable decisions? Perhaps more than you have and perhaps less than you plan to gather which could be holding you back from acting today.

Most of us have a ton of online data. It is easy to gather and relatively inexpensive to integrate. That said, many of us have no to very little offline data. Another gap can also be unstructured data.

A core question is how important is a 360 degree view anyway? No human can see 360 degrees. Here is something interesting to think about.

To draw an analogy from the physical realm, out of 360 potential degrees, what’s our actual field of vision? Approximately a 120-degree arc. But even most of that is peripheral. In fact, when it comes to seeing in high resolution — say for reading purposes — our actual field of view is only about 6 degrees.

What happens if something important happens in our peripheral vision? We move our eyes to look at it. In other words, we’re not primed to look at everything at once. Rather, we focus on the essentials and filter out the rest so we don’t experience information overload.

Source: The Cloud Sherpa

In thinking about data integration, it will be helpful to suspend any discussion of what data can we integrate. Any data can be integrated. The real issue is what results you want for your business and what data do you need to improve the donor experience. From a planning point of view it is helpful to start with the end in mind and not the details of how we integrate everything. It is critical to know what data will give you actionable insight.

Donors are using many channels to engage with your nonprofit. They expect a seamless experience across those channels. At a core level, that will involve collecting and integrating the data that donors expect to see across those channels. The important issue to think through is what does the donor expect you to know about what they have told on the mobile app and what you know about them when they make a purchase. It is all about the donor expectation.

If you ask for information from a donor and they are willing to give it to you, then they probably expect that you will use it across channels to create a seamless experience. Donors also expect that you remember them. They get very upset when you don’t. They love you when you do. Know and remember is key to service.

Alert!! Do you have a privacy policy? Is it up to date? How good is your data security? Has someone independent from your technical team assessed risks in your donor data security? Not having a budget to look at this is a high risk. The damage to your credibility is at stake.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you need a deeper understanding of donor sentiment from both internal and external sources?
  2. Do you want to increase donor loyalty and satisfaction by understanding what meaningful actions are needed?
  3. Are you challenged to get the right information to the right people to provide donors what they need to solve problems, cross-sell, and up-sell?

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start simple and don’t get carried away with all the possibilities.
  2. Begin creating a strategy now.
  3. Encourage collaboration and create a team to “oversee” your efforts.
  4. Decide, up front, what data is worth
  5. Commit to not collecting everything and be ok with that.
  6. Focus on key channels like online, offline checks / credit card transactions, and direct response.
  7. Create a data value framework to help set priorities.
  8. Pay attention to privacy and security. Your reputation is at stake.

Who’s responsible for building a digital business?


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A board room set up for a meeting

A board room set up for a meeting

Who’s Responsible for Building a Digital Business? While someone with a specific title may be accountable for the digital business, leadership in this area is the responsibility of the entire C-Suite. Ownership in this area is huge.

This is not an area that the C-Suite can punt on. Without a willingness to change the culture, not much of value will happen. If this is not a priority, those with the titles in the digital world will be frustrated.

So if you ask me who is responsible for an organization’s digital success, my answer is that the entire executive team needs to develop a collaborative approach to creating value in this new space, and all of them own the responsibility for a company’s success. In my opinion, in excellent organizations this is true of everything that gets accomplished.

via Who’s Responsible for Building a Digital Business? Larry Bonfante is a practicing CIO and founder of CIO Bench Coach, LLC, an executive coaching practice for IT executives. He is also the author of Lessons in IT Transformation, published by John Wiley & Sons. He can be reached at


Is this the year of purpose?


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It is a great question to think about. Will I be purposeful?

It’s once again the time of year when I publish Temkin Group’s CX trends. In my post last year, we named 2016 “The Year of Emotion.” With my previous post, we declared 2017 “The Year of Purpose.” During this year, companies will be: Elevating Purpose. Over the past year, we’ve seen more articles discussing purpose, and leaders are beginning to […]

via 2017 Customer Experience Trends, “The Year of Purpose” — Customer Experience Matters®

Strategy People Process Technology

Business Strategy

This is a donor ecosystem built for data, insight and action


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Resist the temptation to focus and organize around silos. While silos can maximize a part of the system, they sub-optimize the whole. We are building a donor (digital) ecosystem.

There is something as “not seeing the forest for the trees”. In the case of donor data (including big data), that can certainly be the case. It is easy to get lost in the data. It is important to see data as a way to gain donor insight. Having gained insight, we must take action to improve results for our donors and business.

The digital executive needs to evaluate whether the department silos are structured properly as a part of the overall ecosystem. One area to look at is what is the overall level of accountability around supporting the total results (including renewal and upgrades) from donor experiences and relationships. Structural change may be needed to support optimal results.

In scientific terms, an ecosystem is formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment. The ecosystem has multiple, interdependent components that function as a unit. Innovators have long envisioned a similar environment where data, technology, people, and business processes operate in synchronization to improve donor satisfaction and business performance. The key to achieving this vision is having the capacity to discern the true nature of donor relationships in an intuitive manner. This capacity is known as “donor insight.”

The concept of the donor data ecosystem can be further broken down into two key aspects: the Donor Lifecycle, and the Information Lifecycle.

Below is an example from Forrester Research of how an ecosystem could look.

Forrester Ecosystem

In the donor ecosystem, there are several components that are important.

  1. The value of data
    1. Donor interaction data
    2. Contact and account data
    3. Donor information files
    4. External data
  2. Turning data into insight
  3. Turning insight into action

Integrated donor data forms the cornerstone of the donor ecosystem. Organizations have rich sources of data including donor interaction data, account data, external data sources, and donor information files. This data must be cleaned and properly linked together as fast as the data becomes available.

Digital Business Ecosystem

Digital Business Ecosystem

Individual data elements provide undeniable value in the ecosystem. Integrated data provides even greater value. However, integrating donor data is far from an easy task. Disparate systems and errors in the data typically prevent all of the data from being used by analytical processes. To turn all of this data into insight, sophisticated technologies and techniques are needed to clean the data, discover hidden relationships, and integrate it. This integrated view must then be fed into analytical models to discover and predict patterns in donor behavior. This deep insight into a donor services help organizations fully understand donor profitability, attrition, and retention.

Providing insight, however, is only one part of the solution. This insight must be turned into action to achieve real benefits. Two best practices have emerged in a donor relations focus: dashboards and scorecards.

Dashboards provide a quick way to get an immediate picture of business processes. Similar to a dashboard in a car, data is displayed in an intuitive manner that allows employees to see how the processes that they are responsible for are working. In the donor ecosystem, a dashboard contains multiple information displays that show how donor processes are working.

Scorecards are a vital part of the dashboard display that show specific measurements, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), for a specific employee role. Unlike financial condition ratios reported to the Board and the IRS, KPIs always reflect strategic value drivers. For example, Return on Investment or functional expenses are common metrics used to judge financial performance, but it doesn’t measure a specific driver of value.

For the donor ecosystem, a KPI measuring the average value of a new donor reflects a strategic objective of acquiring more profitable donors.

In order to drive the right behaviors in the ecosystem, these mechanisms must be part of the daily job role for donor-focused employees. That is, insight must be “in sight” of people in day-to-day operational roles. Therefore these capabilities must be quick and easy to use.

In the business world, there is an old saying that “what gets measured gets done.” Dashboards and scorecards also provide a strong way to clearly communicate business strategy and objectives across the enterprise.

When viewing a report, graph, or KPI, people often need to understand why a specific number is different from what they expect. For insight to be truly “actionable”, a user must be able to drill down into the details. This process is typically called “Root Cause Analysis” because the user must get to the “root” of the problem. For example, if the KPI Average Value of New Donors is lower than expected, the user needs to be able to look beyond the KPI to the underlying data.

Insight Ecosystem

Insight Ecosystem

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with the view of “the forest”.
  2. Begin with simple integrations of valuable data to create insight.
  3. Encourage taking action on insights. Structure everything around actionable outcomes of data and the insights.

Unifying Online & Offline Donor Data for a Consistent Experience


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Donor Experience

Donor Experience

The challenge of creating meaningful relationships is complicated by an abundance of data from both online and offline sources, as well as a multitude of communication channels to contend with. A big issue is how to consolidate donor information to drive consistent communications across channels.

By taking a unified approach, development staff can better shape interactions with their organization to create outstanding donor experiences.

What should we think through?

  1. How to collect and manage online and offline donor data to truly understand our donors
  2. Why a unified donor experience is essential for growth?
  3. Common inconsistencies and gaps in the donor experience, and how to handle them
  4. How to use data to track donor interactions, and use this information to improve communications across multiple channels

Here are the key ideas:

  1. This is an ecosystem built for data, insight and action – Resist the temptation to focus and organize around silos. While silos can maximize a part of the system, they sub-optimize the whole. We are building a donor (digital) ecosystem.
  2. What we should collect – We probably shouldn’t try to collect everything. We also should be collecting the “right” data. We should consider enhancing the data we collect to make it more valuable. Several suggested priorities are all online transaction detail and insight, most offline transaction detail and insight, social media data and insights and finally, call center transactions and insights.
  3. The value of offline data – Not all data is as valuable as others. The human resources to manually enter offline data can be daunting and so many times it is the last priority. There are great services that automate the collection of offline data at a reasonable cost. The first step in the automation process is to create a data value strategy. That will help justify the cost of capturing the offline data and integrating it into your donor systems.
  4. Understanding the donor – Data is very useful if it allows us to understand our donors better. Collecting data is of no value if it doesn’t lead to insight. Think data, insight and action.
  5. Unifying the data – Even 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.
  6. Unifying the experience – This is not all about data. At the end of the day, donors will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels. This is not all about data. At the end of the day, donors will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels. While it takes data to know the donor and systems to remember them, only great experiences lead to amazing service.
  7. Doing something about the gaps – Knowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.
  8. Creating a value framework – Not all data is of equal value and not every donor is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which donors are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.
  9. An “Omni-Channel” approach – Unified data and a unified experience is created by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-Channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels. All channels need to be fused into a single approach.

“Cultural change takes six months per layer in your organization.” ~Mike Capone


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How long does it take to change culture?

How long does it take to change culture?

Think about how long it takes to change. As leaders, we think it won’t be so difficult.  Is it any wonder change management initiatives are so challenging?

It also speaks to what we may choose to focus on. Too many change initiatives lead to cynicism. They seem to be abandoned before any real change takes hold.

Cultural change takes six months per layer in your organization. If you have eleven layers, you won’t live long enough to get anything done.

— Mike Capone, CIO, ADP

Continue reading

How important is mobile? Money Follows Eyeballs – Mobile Ad Boom Continues



One of the golden rules of advertising is that money follows eyeballs. And since people are looking at their smartphones pretty much all the time these days, it’s no surprise that advertising budgets are shifting to mobile devices as well.

According to Zenith’s latest global advertising forecast, advertisers will spend an additional $80 billion a year on mobile ads in 2019 compared to this year. By then, mobile devices will have overtaken the desktop internet to become the second largest advertising medium behind television. Zenith expects annual mobile advertising spending to reach $160 billion by 2019, well ahead of the $88 billion expected to be spent on non-mobile online ads.

Source: • Chart: Money Follows Eyeballs – Mobile Ad Boom Continues | Statista

The Rise of Mobile Customer Experience



Mobile can’t be ignored. The mobile experience can be painful to delightful. None of it happens by magic.

There is a variety of Temkin Group research on the mobile customer experience including: Data Snapshot: Channel Preferences Benchmark, 2016, Five C’s of Mobile VoC Disruption, Data Snapshot: Media Use Benchmark, 2016, and The State of CX Metrics, 2015.

Source: The Rise of Mobile CX (Infographic) | Customer Experience Matters® Continue reading

So … let’s start the journey. What is our promise to our customers?


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Now is the time to think it through. This is the start of the journey. Whether we know it or not, our customers think we have made a promise to them.

We need to be clear about customer promises. That isn’t easy. What is our promise?

So there are some stages to this:

  1. Thinking and talking it out. There may be many stakeholders to consult on this.
  2. Making the promise. This is a solid communication plan that is faithfully executed.
  3. Embracing it at every level and making it our own.
  4. Keeping it. This is the tough part.

So  … let’s start the journey. What is our promise to our customers?

Why Nonprofit Executives should care about Master Data Management (MDM)


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Master Data Management

Master Data Management

Do you struggle keeping 2 or more sources of data up to date with name changes, address changes, email updates, phone number changes or more? The reality is that most of us do. If you have 3, 4 or more data sources to integrate, then you know the challenge increases geometrically. If this is your donor world, Master Data Management can help.

Master Data Management (MDM) is not just a technology. It is a strategy, it involves people, it has standard processes and it is also a technology. MDM is based on the premise that a nonprofit must have a single master copy of donor data or a single version of the truth.

MDM is not just about technology and MDM program managers should use a business driven framework to ensure that all the component parts of MDM are addressed. MDM programs need to align with the business vision and strike the right balance between technology and governance and organizational issues.” ~ Saul Judah, Research Director at Gartner

For our purposes, we talking about master donor data. There is also an enterprise approach that includes other data like finance and human resources. Departments that will be interested in this approach are development, marketing, donor service and others. Nonprofits should consider a donor MDM approach when you are large enough and have several significant donor data bases to integrate and analyze.

With donor MDM, you want to create a master data file that keeps track of differences in donor data from multiple systems. As you integrate two or more donor systems, you may have addresses that don’t match for the same donor. In one case, you may have a maiden name and in the other system the current name. In one system, you may have a home address and phone number while in the other you have a work address and phone number. In one system you may have a first name of Pat and in the other Patricia. All of these differences make it extremely difficult to create and maintain a single set of master data and can throw your donor analytics out of whack.

It is common to think that Master Data Management (MDM) and Data Warehousing (DW) are the same and can accomplish the same results. They are in fact remarkably different and nonprofit (non technical) staff should appreciate, at a high level, the distinctions. Nonprofit goals for creating amazing donor experiences, are at stake. Donors do not tolerate bad and duplicate data. It is a common source of complaints at call centers. Great donor journeys can be derailed because of simple donor data problems. Executives who are obsessed with donor experiences will appreciate that attention to donor data detail is critical. If staff see duplicates in a donor system like CRM, they will not tend to trust analytics in a business intelligence solution.

  1. Different Goals – The primary goal of a DW is analytical in nature. It looks at historical transactional data. The primary goal for MDM is to establish a single version of the truth for a donor from one or more donor systems. MDM requires solving the root cause of the inconsistent data, because master data needs to be propagated back to the source system in some way. In data warehousing, solving the root cause is not always needed, as it may be enough just to have a consistent view at the data warehousing level rather than having to ensure consistency at the data source level.
  2. Different types of data – MDM looks primarily at donor data but not transactional data. A DW generally looks at donor (a little) and transactional data (a lot).
  3. Different reporting needs – In MDM, the focus of reporting is more about oversight of the data, duplicates and data quality. In DW reporting is all about analyzing the data and providing insight.
  4. Where data is used – In a data warehouse, usually the only usage of this “single source of truth” is for applications that access the data warehouse directly, or applications that access systems that source their data straight from the data warehouse. Most of the time, the original data sources are not affected. In master data management, on the other hand, we often need to have a strategy to get a copy of the master data back to the source system. This poses challenges that do not exist in a data warehousing environment. For example, how do we sync the data back with the original source? Once a day? Once an hour? How do we handle cases where the data was modified as it went through the cleansing process? And how much modification do we need make do to the source system so it can use the master data? These questions represent some of the challenges MDM faces. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to those questions, as the solution depends on a variety of factors specific to the organization, such as how many source systems there are, how easy / costly it is to modify the source system, and even how internal politics play out.

Master donor data that is trusted is of huge value to your donor initiatives. The reverse of that will cripple many donor systems. If the insights gained from your analytics isn’t trusted because of duplicates and poor quality donor data, it will be hard to gain traction. Fixing that, after a CRM implementation, for example, is almost impossible. Employees will not use a system they do not trust. Management will not require a system to be used if it is perceived to have useless data. Establishing a single version of the truth, early on, is foundational to a donor focus.

It is critical that clear definitions of donor data are established. Who is going to do that? A Steering Team (with a focus on strategy) should be appointed with business leaders heavily involved. At a minimum, staffing should include a data steward. If you have enough donor data, a dedicated team should be appointed.

Master data management should be both a local and corporate responsibility. Many times duplicate data has to be resolved by staff who are closest to the donor. That may be at the local level. Clear timeframes for resolving conflicts should be established and enforced to make sure duplicates do not linger too long.

There are some natural constraints that we face in establishing master donor data management as an important initiative. Here are 8 requirements for an effective master donor data strategy.

  1. Secure an executive sponsor early.
  2. Create a business case for why master donor data is important.
  3. Pursue an iterative approach and avoid “big bang” implementations.
  4. Plan for organizational and culture change.
  5. Take a multi-dimensional strategy.
  6. Understand the importance of data governance and appoint a steering team early.
  7. Establish clear metrics for success.
  8. Rely on the “right” technologies.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start by defining your goals and strategies for managing master donor data.
  2. Begin by appointing an oversight team.
  3. Encourage a culture that values quality donor data.
  4. Understand that nothing frustrates donors more than not getting the basics of donor data right.
  5. Establish quality donor data as a norm.
  6. Great insight flows from quality data.
  7. Recruit an executive sponsor “who gets it” early.
  8. Make quality data everyone’s business.
  9. Recognize the barriers and “deal” with them early.

What is organizational culture?


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Transform Culture

Transform Culture

Management guru Peter Drucker is credited with saying that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” It is hard to find any leader who doesn’t think so but many don’t understand what their own culture is like. It can be the blind leading the blind some days. Much of building a culture is about intentionality, particularly when it comes down to a customer focus.

Culture can make or break the success of a company, which can be a scary phenomenon for executives. While leaders tend to be comfortable around strategy discussions, they’re often painfully awkward discussing corporate culture.

What Exactly is Organizational Culture?

Culture is how employees think, believe, and act.

  • Think: Employees are intellectually bought-in and understand the company’s vision and why it is important to the company. What is the company communicating?
  • Believe: Employees see that leaders are truly committed to what is important to the company. What are leaders demonstrating with their behaviors?
  • Act. Employees adjust their behaviors to align with what is important to the company. What do employees do when no one is looking?

Companies often focus on the think level, hoping that a barrage of communications can drive culture change. Well it can’t. You need to develop plans that deal with all three levels: Think, Believe, and Act.

Do our leaders:

  • Understand why customers, not products, are all important to our efforts?
  • Demonstrate a true commitment to the customer experience?
  • Support alignment to the customer vision?