Recently, Merkle assembled a top-notch cast of industry leaders for our invite-only conference called Merkle’s cCRM Executive Summit, where we showcased the most forward-thinking companies and ideas centered around Connected CRM. It was my first chance to experience the “Summit” (I joined Merkle this past January) and I would describe it as enlightening, intense, entertaining, thought-provoking, and on a few occasions … wet - Charleston is famous for its summer storms and we were not spared.
For those readers who aren’t aware, a few years ago Merkle began a journey to tackle CRM for companies and nonprofits – every aspect of it – the challenges with data and people (organization), the need to customize the constituent experience for each individual, along with the desire to use more channels (think digital + legacy media) more effectively to accurately target donors where THEY prefer. As I talk with nonprofits, I’ve come to realize that many charities see some of these pieces and call it CRM, but very few have a thorough concept of just how big CRM really is, not to mention figuring out the many intrinsic challenges inherent in this holistic view. At Merkle, our clients are doing exactly that, and that’s what we saw, discussed, debated, scrutinized and marveled at during the Summit.
At the beginning of the Summit, we put the framework (below) up on a slide and over the course of 2.5 days we broke it down one session at a time focusing on each piece of the “connected CRM” framework (Merkle’s CRM methodology).
The Summit experience was wide ranging for our nonprofit partners attending the Summit.
- A few zeroed in on the Customer Strategy and talked a lot about an enterprise-wide view of their constituents (Customer Strategy – Segment Strategy) and how they could use it to improve the constituents experience across their events, advocacy, annual giving, volunteering, mission, major donor and other programs.
- Others discussed the Experience Delivery arena as they talked about targeting and personalization by segment of their direct marketing fundraising program.
- One particular organization considered the value of attribution to better understand their multi-channel fundraising results and optimize their media mix spend
- Another organization assembled a view of the CRM database that would aggregate their constituent data to provide a 360-degree view of their constituents.
- And a large children’s nonprofit’s direct marketing team considered the full vision – what a truly constituent-centric organization would look like and how to share this vision across their teams.
For a first-hand look into the Summit, check out the nonprofit presentation: NonProfit Workshop: ConnectedCRM – Getting Great at Centering Your Organization Around the Constituent.
In the end, as voiced by the attendees, the Summit was many things but more than anything it was an opportunity to see (and study) a snapshot of the future – of the many facets of CRM and the real value it brings to donors and the millions who benefit from the incredible services provided by these charities.