Episode 107 – Meet people where they are and make it frictionless.

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Episode 107 – Meet people where they are and make it frictionless.

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Lisa Bowman is on the podcast today discussing digital marekting and how to meet people where they are and make supporting your cause frictionless. As the Chief Marketing Officer for United Way Worldwide, Lisa fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. Lisa joined United Way from UPS where she oversaw the Diversity social impact portfolio in The UPS Foundation.

Adam: [00:08] Hi. Welcome to the Good People Good Marketing Podcast: A podcast about digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people and good organizations can have good marketing as well. I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways Eight, a digital marketing agency, and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.

[00:39] My guest on the show today is Lisa Bowman. She is the chief marketing officer for United Way Worldwide. She fights for health, education and financial stability for every person in every community. Lisa joined United Way from UPS where she oversaw the diversity of social impact portfolio in the UPS foundation. Lisa, thanks for joining me on the show.

Lisa: [01:00] Adam, thanks for having me.

Adam: [01:02] This is going to be fun. I’m really looking forward to this and now you’ve got a lot going on, so thanks for taking a few moments with us. Let’s go ahead and dive in. Question number one, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has worked well for you?

Lisa: [01:16] Sure. There are actually a lot of things that are working for us right now. We’ve got multiple efforts going on. One of the things that we’ve really tried hard to do is to meet our donors and our future donors, where they are, and that is in the digital space. We’re doing that in a number of different ways through the typical channels they would use. You would use social and digital media.

[01:41] We’ve seen really nice increases in our engagement with people, especially since launching our rebranding in 2017, but it’s also really critical to understand for the next gen of donors and [unclear 01:55] philanthropists and that’s with the next generation. One of the things that we’ve done digitally that’s working extremely well is with our partners at the National Football League. We have got a digital education program called Character Playbook that is available for any school in the US for free. It teaches the foundation of good character to middle school kids and it’s worked really great. We’ve had 350,000 kids take it and we’re seeing really, really good results with it. Less absenteeism, improvement in grades, improvement in attendance, so we know that that’s working really well.

Adam: [02:35] Wow, that’s fantastic. I love that approach to meet your donors where they are in the digital space. I feel like it’s kind of the key to all marketing, right? Find the people, figure out where they’re at, and then go meet them where they’re at instead of trying to draw them to where you’re at.

Lisa: [02:49] Yeah. It’s marketing 101.

Adam: [02:51] That’s right. But it’s so easy to forget, that’s what’s so funny about it is we get all hung up on our own messages and our own things and bring people over here. We forget that it’s really about going to them. It’s about being an ambassador out in their world, not bringing them into our own space.

Lisa: [03:05] Yeah, it’s interesting because sometimes I think about how digital is proliferating everything that we’re doing and it just makes me wonder if in the early days of the other mediums like radio, like TV, did people sit and have the same conversations because things were so different before broadcast channels.

Adam: [03:24] Right.

Lisa: [03:26] I think it’s just an evolution but you’re right. It’s no different than anything that we as marketers have done for years, which is to find the space where our customer is and go meet them there with a message that resonates so that they get engaged with us.

Adam: [03:41] That’s right. That’s right. I love that. I love that. Question number two, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has not worked well for you that we can learn from?

Lisa: [03:51] Now, that’s a little bit of a tougher one. Truly. I mean, I’d love to say yeah, here’s some things that haven’t worked, but candidly, I think that we have been really deliberate about what we’re doing in the digital space and because of that, the things that we are doing are working really well for us. Not that it hasn’t worked, but it’s changed in the way that it’s worked and it’s forced us to do some things a little bit differently, is the notion of simply driving people to your website to try and make a donation is something that I’m not sure is necessarily working as well as it used to.

[04:41] When there’s a disaster or when there’s an issue, a great example would be the recent government shutdown. We put up our United for US fund and drove people to our website to make a donation. We did see a big increase in traffic and in people making the donation through the website.

[05:01] I think that’s because it was a  response to a specific issue. In general, we’re finding that we need to use digital to engage our donors in a different way and on a different platform. In June of last year, we actually launched to the public with partners at salesforce something called Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, which is a cloud-based platform that will allow people, once it’s deployed within a corporate workplace, to make a donation on their own terms to a cause or an issue that’s relevant to them outside of the typical United Way Campaign and to any organization that is a 501C3. Again, for us, it’s really about how we leverage digital to meet that donor, meet that customer where they are on their terms and make it frictionless for them to engage with us to support their community.

Adam: [06:00] Right. I think that’s where you hit the nail on the head at the end right there. It’s got to be frictionless and that’s where we begin to see that drop-off and donations on the website because a lot of times, the website is just one additional step and people are mobile and they’re moving around, and now you have got to get out of a car and you got to do all this stuff on a mobile website. If we can make it, if we can reduce friction, even just ever so slightly in that transaction, it’s going to increase the amount of donations, it’s going to increase the engagement all around and do more good in the world with that. So I love that approach.

Lisa: [06:33] Just to layer on that, too. I think it’s that in order to go to the website, you have to be in the moment to do that. What we’ve realized is that those moments that call all throughout somebody’s day that they may forget to go to a website to make a donation or support that.

[06:54] The new way of doing it with the brands will be cloud platform is that that sits resident on an employee’s desktop and if you stepped over a homeless guy as you were leaving Starbucks on your way to your office and you’re kind of thinking about that as you’re walking into work and thinking, “You know what? I need to do something about that. That’s something that struck a chord with me” you would have the ability to go in and research or find organizations in your area that work to provide support for the homeless population or maybe you want to volunteer. You’d be able to find those opportunities, too. It’s not just about finding the people where they are, but it’s also about making sure that you’re capturing them in the moment and making it really easy for them to.

Adam: [07:40] Right. I love that. Love that. Alright. Final question. I love this one. Related to digital marketing, can you tell us something you are excited about?

Lisa: [07:49] That’s like the bonus round.

Adam: [07:51] That’s right.

Lisa: [07:53] ‘m excited about it everything that we’re doing because really it’s about what we as a 135-year old organization are going to evolve to and we’re laying the foundation and the framework for that next. All of this is really exciting to me is we look at that next gen of donors, that we look at new ways of engaging people or incentivizing people to join the fight with us. All of that is exciting. This is about sustainable change at scale and it doesn’t happen unless we all chip in and do our part. That’s, that’s how we get big scale stuff done.

Adam: [08:29] That’s right. Lisa, this has been great. Let me recap our conversation so our listeners have a good takeaway here. Question number one, related to digital marketing, what has worked well for you? You mentioned meet donors and future donors, which I love that you, by the way, specified donors and future donors where they are because I think too often, we’re trying to just meet donors, but we need to think further ahead than that. I love that.

[08:50] You said donors and future donors, where they are in the digital space, increasing engagement has been working well, especially since the rebrand in 2017. You mentioned your partnership with the NFL and the character program and the 350,000 kids that have gone through that and the impact that it’s had on their lives.

[09:06] For question number two, what has not worked well that we can learn from? You mentioned that you’ve been really deliberate about what you’re doing and so what you’re doing really is genuinely working well, which is fantastic, but the one thing you mentioned is driving people to the website to make a donation sometimes does not work as well as it used to and we need to learn how to engage them in the digital space where they are in a more quick really more of a fast-paced sort of way to get them to not forget to donate when they get home or whatever else.

[09:35] And for question number three, what are you excited about? You mentioned that United Ways is a 135-year old organization and that it is moving forward and evolving to engage the next generation of donors and people in the communities that you can help and you’re looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to that as well. Is there anything from that that I missed or anything that you want to add to share with our listeners before we wrap up here?

Lisa: [09:56] No, I think I threw out a ton of information and you’ve got it all, so thanks very much.

Adam: [10:00] Well Lisa, this was really a great conversation. I really appreciate you taking the time. Thanks for being here. I’d love to have you on again sometime soon.

Lisa: [10:07] Adam, I would love the opportunity. Thank you so much.

Adam: [10:12] Thanks for listening to the Good People Good Marketing Podcast. To get more resources about digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs, and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker, and on my blog at adamjwalker.com where I blog about leadership, productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks and tune in next time.

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