For nearly a decade now Let’s Talk…Results has been Incept’s tagline. To us, this means by talking and having truly productive conversations, you CAN drive results. What has changed is the definition of “talking”.
Calling blood donors to recruit them for their next blood donation has been a way of life for most centers. The challenge is when we look at our donor base, many of our donors are not using the phone in a traditional sense.
Here at Incept, we recruit blood donors for over half of the nation’s blood banks. Historically this was done through phone calls; however, in the last several years the number of donors who actually answer their phone is declining at a pace that is far greater than any decline in the need for blood or blood products. Simply put, if you are only using phone calls, you may now need to reach further back into your donor base to get the same number of units you used to get from calling just your current donors, or more commonly, you must communicate differently because you are calling everything you have and it’s still not enough.
Let’s look at how each generation is using the communication methods out there today.
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1960)
Baby Boomers are using some social media and email, but still prefer face to face or phone calls. We see this clearly when we look at who is answering the phone when we call and who is not.
Gen X (1960 – 1980)
That’s me! We like to be super connected using email, cell phones (we’ve all abandoned our land lines), text messaging, social media (largest FB user group), chat, and even direct mail. Gen Xers are going 90 miles an hour and trying to keep their finger on the pulse of everything! Some are answering their phones and others are not. To reach us you need to understand each of us individually.
Millennials (1980 – 1994)
Main forms of communication for millennials are social media and text messaging. They are connected always via cell phone, even at work, but will rarely answer a phone call.
So, what does all of this mean for blood donor recruitment?
Incept is using SMS/text messaging, chat, sponsored Facebook posts, direct mail, email, broadcast voice messaging, and phone calls together, then analyzing the response from each donor to determine what combination of channels result in a successful donation.
The most successful campaigns are when we can compile recruitment history across channels to learn that “Donor X prefers an email, followed by a text message, and then a phone call,” to make a donation, but “Donor Y needs a text message and 2 sponsored Facebook messages”. By combining touchpoints and targeting donors using their actual behavioral results, as well as stopping more expensive channels for donors that don’t respond to them, we are able to drive recruitment costs down significantly.
Centers that adopt this now will avoid significant impact in the coming years as more and more of our donors stop answering outbound calls. Now is the time to diversify your communication channels.
My caution is, if you try to do all channels on your own or using multiple firms without the analytics to really determine the correct combination to use for each donor, you will likely see a cost increase. Analyzing response and only using the channels donors respond to is the key to actually lowering recruitment costs. Keep that in mind as you expand the channels you use to reach your donors!