Delivering Innovation by Balancing Technology with the Human Touch

Delivering Innovation by Balancing Technology with the Human Touch

October 17, 2019

Personalization is at the tip of every fundraiser and marketer’s tongue. Achieving personalization in your organization’s outreach requires innovation. Delivering innovation means thinking beyond convention. This out-of-the-box thinking can be driven by you or even by your donors or customers.

In the case of the latter, you need to listen to your contacts and let them tell you what suits them best.  Innovation trends across various industries are changing client expectations.  

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What Customers & Donors Look For

Chady AlAhmar, SVP of Strategy and Analytics, U.S. Bank Wealth Management has said that there is a  5-step process that has helped them drive innovation.

You begin with your customer or donor. Understand their expectations in order to deliver innovation. Here is what they expect based on their journey:

1. Ease, Simplicity, and Increased Control

The extent of technology in our daily lives has made people expect ease of transactions whether it comes to giving, saving, or spending. They know that they produce data with each transaction and that is okay as long as data is collected in a transparent way that gives them control over it.

The emphasis here is on data- your donors and customers are saying “I expect you to know me.”

2. Personalization and holistic communication

You cannot be everything to everyone. By the same token, not everything you send out will appeal to everyone. For instance, if you reach out with a 401K message to everyone in your database, it may not resonate. To deliver innovation here means to offer support instead of seeking a sale. In the previous instance, if you find out who has just changed jobs or moved and then reach out to them- you can offer advice and guidance on updating their 401K. Doing this would make your message resonate better.

The emphasis here is on prioritization– your donors and customers are saying, “Find me at the right time.”

3. Cost-Efficiency

Your contacts expect that you will find the most cost-effective way to reach them. Invest in innovation that meets their expectations but does not increase your costs dramatically, trickling down to increased costs for them.

What’s important here is the distribution of efficiencies. The expectation is, “Not only do I want you to find me at the right time, but I also want you to find me in the right place.”

4. Social Responsibility

This is becoming an increasingly important expectation, especially among younger generations. Your contacts are saying, “if there is no purpose behind this, I am not interested in it”. If you are a nonprofit, for you, this means that every appeal that you send them has to be something that strikes an emotional chord. Every appeal must also showcase the impact of any gift clearly.

The emphasis here is on activation. You are expected to “Offer me purpose and meaning, not sales pitches.”

5. Comfort with algorithm-based decisions

Users are becoming more and more comfortable with algorithm-based decision-making. This means that they are okay with their GPS predicting their destination in the morning as well as Alexa predicting their mood to create a playlist. Technology is being embraced by your customers and donors, which means that you can deliver innovation by using the latest tech.

Don’t fear technology. But, don’t lose sight of learning. “The more we interact, the better you will know me (and others like me).”

6. Security

The ease with technology and with the ubiquitous nature of data means that security is a growing concern. Your contacts expect you to take precautions to secure the data you have gathered about them.

Delivering innovation here means finding a way to bridge the gap between privacy and personalization.

How You Can Deliver Innovation Based on Expectations

Knowing your contacts’ expectations now empowers you to deliver innovation in a personalized manner. But, how can you meet these expectations?

The answer lies in being able to balance IQ with eQ. In fact, it is all about human capital and human potential. Delivering innovation comes down to using technology to empower humans to do great things.

PEOPLE + INNOVATION = A Winning Combination.

The balance, of course, depends on the nature of service and the complexity of client needs. For example, a museum competes not only against other museums but also for people’s time. As the museum, you need to make visitors feel a certain way when they are there. Therefore, they should be driven to return.

Innovation means realizing that your offer strikes an emotional chord as well as offers ease and convenience. You need to use data to drive customer experience. Listen to them, understand how they feel. Deliver a solution that caters to their needs.

Delivering Innovation: 3 Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace technology to enhance the donor or customer experience. Thus, you can adjust your innovation strategy to include expectations created by emerging client journeys.
  2. Improve your value proposition through data analytics. It’s important to embrace data and machine learning to deliver innovation. But, don’t lose sight of the value that the human perspective can offer. Thus, you should sense check your data-driven strategies with your instinct and experience.
  3. Think about how you make your client feel. Ultimately, the best experiences are driven by appealing to your contacts’  IQ as well as eQ.

Interested in learning more about Chady’s talk on delivering innovation? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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