Marie Curie provides care and support for more than 40,000 terminally ill people and their families in the UK each year, therefore it’s vital that the charity is able to provide services across every possible channel both offline and online. 

To achieve this Marie Curie is undertaking a massive digital transformation programme, so it can extend its proposition to offer more services and support.

One of the key strands of this is a marketing automation project, which is transforming the way the charity engages its supporters and generates fundraising revenue.

It has also launched one of its biggest campaigns yet, The Great Daffodil Appeal, aiming to motivate people to collect money for the charity on the high street, and consisting of a multichannel campaign using many digital marketing best practices.

The initial results are encouraging. Registrations are up YoY with a high skew towards online sign ups, thus proving the positive impact of adapting to the digital world.

I talked to Marie Curie’s senior eCRM manager Chris Pook, and he provided a detailed insight into how digital transformation has helped develop a highly persuasive campaign.

Personalisation and live content:

Dynamic maps

In the launch email we take a supporter’s postcode data (or their current geolocation if we don't have the postcode) and match it to our database of collection sites. We then pull in a personalised map detailing each individual supporter's nearest collection sites into the email in real-time.

Live video in email

Storytelling and emotion is really important in driving action (particularly in the charity sector) so we included a series of videos that play live in the email that help reinforce why a supporter should collect.

Segment driven messaging

We used modelling to derive our target population and also to drive specific persona driven messaging based on collection history and previous interaction with the charity.

This isn’t particularly groundbreaking in itself, but helps to amplify the personalised communication when paired with the rest of the techniques.

Social proof 

As we move through the campaign the targeting becomes much more behavioural (based on engagement with the campaign and other appeal related digital content), so we ramp up social proof and urgency techniques to nudge people over the line.

Live twitter feed 

In the confirmation email sent after a supporter signs up to collect, we ask them to tell the world why they're collecting by completing a pre-populated tweet launched from the email, containing the hashtags #DaffodilAppeal and #ImCollectingBecause.

We then pull these tweets live into an acquisition email to help provide further social proof as to why supporters should collect (supporters can also click to see the full list of tweets).

The great thing here is that as the tweets are live it carries a certain sense of in-the-moment urgency, but also demonstrates how active the campaign is.

As the tweets are from real supporters they also tend to carry a certain poignancy, which helps in selling the reasons to sign up.

Live sign-up countdown figures

The classic version of positive proof is in the old case study about an energy company's social test. It used messaging promoting the percentage of neighbours using fans to save energy vs. messaging around cost savings etc. being more successful.

We replicated a similar technique by pulling in live sign-up figures in order to encourage sign up.

Automation and targeting: 

Inventory and localised targeting

The targeting for one of the emails was automated based on inventory and location. We applied some geofencing to each supporter based on where they’re most likely to collect and likely distance prepared to travel.

We then search for any collection sites that are under a capacity threshold and match the two presenting the supporter with a set of sites (using a dynamic map) and messaging describing how that area needs them.

All the money raised in a region gets redistributed for care in those regions so we reinforce how much money was raised in that area last year too.

As an aside, we also used the same modelling to up-weight paid search and social spend by geo-location.

Basket abandonment

This was standard abandoned basket fare, but an important aspect of the campaign for the phase when above-the-line and TV kick in.

Register interest trigger

Throughout the campaign we’ve also built in ways to capture intent so we then trigger relevant comms.

We know the biggest barrier to conversion is if there aren’t any collections within an acceptable area on certain dates, so we built in a mechanism where users could be alerted when new collections are released based on the criteria they enter.

We also used this data to inform priorities for gaining permits for physical collection sites.

Upselling 

This is also an important aspect of hitting our aggressive sign up figures, so we structured an automated journey post-signup that included some functional, helpful information, but also some techniques to illicit additional engagement and participation.

The journeys also automatically adapted to lead time (and a supporter's collection history), to ensure that content and messages were appropriate and digestible.

Gamification

We gamified the sign up process by offering a reward for ‘super collectors’ that sign up to five or more collections.

Throughout a supporter’s pre-collection comms, we calculate how many collections they have signed up to and use dynamic messaging to prompt them to sign up for more.

Tweet tips

Using a similar live tweet process as detailed above we ask supporters for their collection tips and then show them in email (alongside some of our own).

This empowers supporters but also adds some real-life advice from people that have experienced collecting.

Weather

In the lead up to each collection we forecast the weather for their collection spot and use some appropriate messaging to provide some advice as to what to wear and how to prepare.

SMS integration

Two hours after completing your last shift of the day you receive a text thanking you. We then follow up with how much you raised as soon as it is loaded into the system.

In summary

Chris Pook ends with this to say on the campaign...

We’re currently only part of the way into the campaign (with some of the functionality still to launch), but results have been overwhelmingly positive, especially in relation to the high skew in terms of online sign ups.

It's even more remarkable considering that previously we would have had to manage all of this offline.

Econsultancy’s Digital Transformation team helps companies identify the gaps between where they are now and where they need to be, and then closes them. 

Whether you need to re-engineer every process and skillset, or simply move to a new technology platform, we’ll work closely with you to develop a completely bespoke programme, addressing on the way.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 28 January, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tim Bennett, Marketing Manager at Woodmans

Great article! Fantastic example of personalisation and data being using intelligently and for a purpose, rather than ‘just because we can’. I hope the campaign delivers for them and nice to see a charity out-doing many other big commercial organisations

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Erdogan Karahan, Acount at Ozhat Ic Ve Dis Tic Tlt Sti

almost 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Anne McCrossan, Founder at Visceral Business

'As the tweets are from real supporters they also tend to carry a certain poignancy'. Let's just think about that sentence for a moment,

I hope Marie Curie doesn't algorithmically programme its way into making a very human connection to a cause overly manipulated or automated. Charity is first and foremost about compassion. Real relationships and Marie Curie's brand credibility requires that too.

about 2 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.