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Ahead of our upcoming Forward Marketing Summit Sydney 2020, we’ve spoken to Ian Evans, Head of Data, Analytics & Insights at World Vision about the changing faces of data gathering and analysis in the not-for-profit sector, the key aspects of having a successful data-driven marketing team, and much more…
Want to hear more from Ian? He's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.
How has data gathering and analysis changed and benefitted the not-for-profit sector?
Whenever I meet people at data conferences and say “I work at World Vision”, people generally look at me like I’m lost and say “well, what do you do with analytics there?”. People forget that charitable organisations run just like any other business. Data and analytics are just as important; we need to understand our supporters, what topics they are interested in, and how they like to be communicated to. A personalised and frictionless experience is the base expectation in 2020, not the outlier, and the charitable sector is no different.
Do you think the not-for-profit sector has embraced the use of data, analytics and insights? And what more could be done?
At World Vision, we are always conscious of being good stewards of our supporters’ donations. For that reason there isn’t a great deal of money to test new technologies at the edge. Not-for-profits like us simply can’t take risks on analytical technologies like large corporates. When we invest, we invest wisely, and in lower risk products. Therefore, the migration to more advanced analytics tools has been slow when compared to other sectors. The rise of open source technologies has and definitely should be embraced, as it represents low cost and low risk options to enter the advanced analytics sphere. As salaries for data scientists can also be prohibitive, I recommend partnering with a university. This offers students important real-world experience whilst they are starting out but gives NFP’s access to top talent at the very start of their careers.
Being in a leading role, what would you say are the key aspects of having a successful data-driven marketing team?
You need the whole marketing team to buy into the idea, and the easiest way to do that is demonstrating the increased results being more data driven can get them. Set up specific tests, get them comfortable with control groups, trail AB tests etc. Once the marketing team see their campaigns can get turbo charged using data more effectively, they’ll be hungry for more!
Considering that all industries are different, can you point out key differences in marketing in the not-for-profit sector compared to others?
There are a couple, one I’ve touched on is the perception of how not-for-profits should operate. For instance, there is a perception that keeping overheads low is a good benchmark to judge not-for-profits. However, this isn’t a true or a fair representation of the real world. Consider if other businesses like Coca Cola or McDonalds were not allowed to advertise, would you still expect them to grow? This duality of thought can be a real hinderance for the NFP sector, it reduces risk appetite, and thus the ability to invest for growth.

From a data perspective, it’s different to other industries in that there is no ‘product’ being purchased, there is no ‘contract’ between us and the donor. For that reason we tend to focus more on stories of impact and the emotional resonance of the cause.
What do you think are the key aspects to creating a successful customer experience across multiple channels?
Respecting your customers data, their effort and their time, is absolutely paramount. Customers shouldn’t be starting from ground zero because they exited their application/sign up on their mobile app and wanted to complete it later on their laptop. The experience needs to flow, regardless of which touchpoint they entered/left at, because every time a customer encounters friction it’s an excuse for them to throw you in the too hard basket.
Want to hear more from Ian? He's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.

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