WGBH Cleans Up Donor Records, Boosts Campaigns

With better data hygiene, the broadcasting company has improved direct mail and email campaigns.

WGBH, a nonprofit public broadcasting company, strives to grow its donor relationships but duplicate records and other inefficiencies were undermining its efforts. WGBH serves southern New England with 11 public TV services, three public radio services, and local productions. In 2011, the broadcasting company upgraded its donor management system to Salesforce.com's CRM platform.

While the company was pleased with the platform, it was "challenged in getting data out of the system in a way that allowed us to focus on our marketing in an omnichannel way," says Cate Twohill, director of technical product development at WGBH. "If we wanted to select a group of donors and send some of them an email message and others a direct mail piece, we were having trouble doing that because of the inherent limitations of the different ways you can pull data."

The company turned to RedPoint Global, a campaign and data management provider, for help. WGBH implemented its Convergent Marketing Platform in 2013. The Platform enabled WGBH to create, automate, test, and execute direct and email marketing campaigns -WGBH's primary campaigns-to more than 2 million contacts.

The Convergent Marketing Platform also enabled WGBH to discover that it had 80,000 duplicate accounts and contact records, which were leading to miscommunications with donors. The broadcasting company, for example, had addressed several long-time donors as if they had just made their first contribution.

WGBH needed to clean up its data and hired close to one dozen temporary workers to manually merge the duplicate accounts. From there, the company's identity resolution tools help WGBH avoid duplicating records again, according to Twohill.

"For example, we know that the names Bob and Robert belong to the same person and that Ann is a nickname for Nancy," Twohill says. "RedPoint allows us to improve our data hygiene and reduce the chances that an account would be duplicated as well as be more flexible with the data we receive."

Another benefit, Twohill added, is that the marketing platform now enables the company to compile data within minutes. It would previously take employees several days to complete the task, Twohill says.

WGBH continues to collect donor and other fundraising information through Salesforce.com and uses RedPoint's Convergent Marketing Platform to create and manage the direct mail and email marketing campaigns that are built with the donor records.

Looking ahead, WGBH is working on expanding its social media listening capabilities and integrating its findings with its other data via RedPoint Global's technology.

"We don't make direct donation requests on social media but we listen to what's being said about us so that we can better understand how people are consuming our content and personalize the experience," Twohill says. "For example, that this Twitter handle belongs to someone who has a donor record."

And even though Salesforce.com has acquired marketing automation provider ExactTarget, RedPoint Global is a better fit for WGBH's needs, according to Twohill. "I think very highly of the RedPoint team, they're the best company that no one's heard of," she says. "And the more organizations that know about ithelps us be more successful."