Sunday, January 15, 2012

BIG’s Blog: The Power of Habits

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

It’s an age-old imponderable, but also a metaphor for what perceptive fundraisers are asking today.

Most fundraisers that depend on direct mail today understand that direct mail’s effectiveness is dropping year after year. But why; and what do we do about it?

The focus turns to “new” digital media and digital communications like email.

But what if the “big story” isn’t the new media or the digital communications we think are important today? What if it’s about the devices?

We all understand today that tablets (think iPad) and mobile smartphones are increasingly where people are accessing their email, search, varied applications like Facebook, and even online news sites.

Aren’t the devices what are changing our habits? Don’t we have to pay as much or more attention to the new habits of access as we do to what we access? After all, my changing habits are what are having me cancel my print edition to the Wall Street Journal, but keep my digital access. The only time I read the print paper is the weekend edition . . . maybe.

But for the last two years I had both the print and the digital subscription. What changed? I got a new smartphone with the ability to access the WSJ app and I got the iPad that gave me the ability to access through the WSJ app or the WSJ website through the Internet. Now my habits dictate that the print edition is constantly old news and so I cancel it. The devices are moving me and everyone else to focus on digital access. The devices are changing our habits.

Changing habits drives real change.


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