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Audience: What Can Advancement Learn from the Marketing World?

Audience: What Can Advancement Learn from the Marketing World?

The world of marketing has spoken, and they’ve declared that digital advertising is the top dog now. What does this mean for university fundraising? It’s probably time to find out.

A study by BrandScience says that we’ll be spending more than $160 billion in the United States alone on digital marketing by 2020. This includes paid search, digital display, social media, online videos, email marketing and more. In fact, I’ve read other blogs that say by 2020 we could be topping $180 billion or more. That will be 51 percent of all estimated marketing dollars spent in the U.S.

That means the big-four-of-old — TV, Radio, Outdoor and Print — will be taking a backseat to that hilarious Facebook ad your colleague just Tweeted you, or the sponsored Instagram post you just Snap-chatted your bestie.

The giants of digital advertising in the industry are light-years ahead of the masses, but university fundraising can learn a lot from their research and experience. Their digital advertising budgets continue to blow up. Amazon spent $1.3 billion on digital advertising in the U.S. in 2015. And that pales in comparison to Proctor & Gamble’s $4.5 billion. For P&G, that amount made up 40 percent of their entire marketing budget.

I know you’re thinking that selling toothpaste and hair products is slightly different than building relationships with prospective donors and maintaining strong ties with alumni — and you’re absolutely right.

But what do some of their products and your institution have in common? Your audience. And they know where they are.

Bring Your Donors Back

Marketing automation, like Capture Higher Ed’s super-charged version for higher education, Capture Behavorial Engagement (CBE), is a cost-effective, track-able, credible tactic to achieve your university fundraising goals.

According to eMarketer, the average adult spends 47.1 percent of their 24-hour days online! That’s looking at their phone, emails, text, YouTube, etc. One study said that we pick up our phone on average (you’re not going to believe this) 1,500 times a day! Is that right? That can’t be right.

But I guess when you consider every time you touch your phone — to look at a text, to check your email, to glance at social media, to check your calendar, to listen to a podcast, to actually use it as a phone — it might not be that far off!

Marketing automation brings your target audience back to where you want them to be — and in higher education, that’s your website. CBE then doubles-down by delivering relevant content, all while gathering super-relevant behavioral traffic data.

Long story short, we live in the digital world and you can use these tools to ensure that the messages you need to get to donors — well, gets to them.

By Ellen Stubbs, Founder and CEO of Rally78 and Capture Higher Ed’s Former Vice President of Marketing