Do You Need a Closed-Loop Marketing System?

As you get to know us, you’ll learn that we’re big advocates of closed-loop systems. OK, we know that phrasing sounds a little ‘closed’ so here’s what we mean: we believe that all of the different systems that make up your organization should talk to one another and seamlessly work together.

For nonprofits, this means that as people make donations to your organization, they should be automatically added to your donor database with all the appropriate tags, and they should be automatically queued up to receive the proper “thank you” messages.

For a business with e-commerce websites, a closed-loop system means that as orders are placed on the website, messages should be sent to your fulfillment system, recorded in the appropriate databases, and products should be shipped without any manual input.

On the advocacy side, this means that the nonprofit should be able to send messages to all donors who made a gift during a specific date range, or in a specific gift size, and then send a different message to donors who fit other characteristics.  A business, meanwhile, might want to send different messages to customers based on the different products that they ordered.  All of this should be seamless and easy, based on the fact that they are working within a closed-loop system.

Finally, when it comes to analysis, there is nothing better to work with than a closed-loop system, because, as anyone who spends time doing heavy lifting with Google Analytics knows, a “visitor session” dies when it goes from one website to another.  This means that if you own two websites, or if you have a donation form that is on a different domain than your website, instead of seeing that someone came to your website, read your blog, watched a video, then clicked donate, you would see that two people visited your website, and only one of them made a donation. This makes real analysis virtually impossible, but the problem is solved by implementing a closed loop marketing system.

Few organizations truly love manual data entry, redundant data, and inadequate business intelligence (BI) yet they feel creating a closed-loop marketing approach is beyond their reach. Good news: the tools and know-how are available to create this kind of system even on a budget as long as a) the goals are clear and b) there is effective coordination between departments.

Utilizing a coherent closed-loop marketing approach, nonprofits and businesses alike can realize better data management, reporting and harmonization across systems from marketing and donor relations to fulfillment and reporting.

D.J. Smith is the Founder & CEO of CiV Digital. He encourages you to create web and mobile experiences that are part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. He likes coconut milk and spinach smoothies. You can follow him and CiV Digital at @civideas on Twitter.

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