Marketing as a Cultivation Tool
Have you ever heard of a theory of communication called the “cultivation” theory?
The cultivation theory has been around since the 1960s, and it holds that “long-term exposure to media shapes how the consumers of media perceive the world and conduct themselves.”
In other words: consistent and repeated messages shape our perceptions.
Can you see how this knowledge helps you as a fundraiser? It explains why marketing works as a “cultivation” tool for planned giving prospects. Psychologically, the consistent flow of marketing you send your prospects can shape their perceptions about:
- themselves (“I’m the type of person who makes gifts like this.”)
- their resources (“I have more than I realized.”)
- their legacy (“I can do something meaningful that will make a lasting impact.”)
The cultivation theory explains why consistency in marketing is so important, but it doesn’t tell us which type of media works best. Clients often ask: is digital or print more effective? The answer is both/and.
“In many cases a mix of media will be the best solution,” says Roger Dooley author of “Brainfluence” and host of The Brainfluence Podcast. “Effective print will drive digital purchases.” But print does show one clear advantage over digital: a study published from the US Postal Services found that print creates a more emotional connection to your message.
That’s why direct mail works so well for nonprofits who want to increase interest in planned giving. A full-color card your prospects hold in their hand will produce a tactile and emotional response. When they see an email from you after receiving a postcard, their “emotional muscle memory” will remind them of the emotions they felt when they read the direct mail piece.
At Planned Giving Marketing, we use psychological and neurological information like this to make your marketing more effective. And when we do, it makes the world a better place—because when marketing works, your mission grows.
Are you satisfied with how your marketing shapes your prospects’ perceptions and increases engagement? If not, give me a call.
Your marketing is meant to work as a cultivation tool, running in the background, shifting perceptions, so prospects see what’s possible and call you for an opportunity to be the philanthropists you’ve inspired them to be.
Get a marketing solution that cultivates prospects for you, so you have more conversations with prospects ready to learn about making a planned gift.
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