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January 15, 2016

Nonprofit Marketing Solutions: What is a Best-in-Class Solution?

Strength in Members NonProfit Marketing Technology Guide

In this series, we're bringing you excerpts from our Nonprofit Marketing Technology Guide. These pieces are best take together BUT we wanted to share some of the more salient, foundational concepts to help people refine how they thing about their technology. Grab a full copy of the guide, here. 

What Are Best-In-Class Solutions?

Best-In-Class solutions provide organizations with the strongest, most unfettered options for the components of their marketing technology stack. Many BIC solutions are deployed to accept data from hundreds of different sources and deliver upwards of thousands of campaign files on a monthly basis. The vast majority of organizations that use BIC solutions contract with a vendor who procures, deploys, and manages all of the technology and marketing services associated with the stack. The solutions involve the integration of strong commercial software applications along with proprietary code to support things like consumer data integration. The BIC solution does what it says, offering the customer the best possible options for all pieces of the marketing tech stack. These solutions are used from midsized retailers to leading insurance companies but, to a much lesser degree, large nonprofit organizations. BIC solutions cost between $500,000 to $1,000,000 to deploy and anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 per month for support and technology.


• Open Model: BIC solutions are predicated on open data models and custom code development. The options for integrating consumer, transactional, and application data are nearly endless

• Data Integration: Modern BIC solutions are exceedingly open and can incorporate consumer data and transactions from virtually any system that can push and pull data.

• Consumer Data Integration: BIC vendors tend to develop their own consumer data integration systems. These solutions are far superior to BOB and AIO systems, creating a much more accurate view of consumers and households.

• Promotions: BOB solutions excel when it comes to promotional tools, since – for example – email platforms can be swapped in and out of the mix with significantly less effort than an AIO solution.

• Training: Since most of the components and functions are managed by a 3rd party vendor, client staff may only need to learn how to access business intelligence tools to review reports. As needed, customer staff can of course use the campaign management tools to explore consumer segments.

• Single Point of Contact: BIC solution vendors manage all relationships with software vendors and provide full service management of the marketing technology. Customers only need to deal with one vendor. 


• Poor Suitability for Contact Management & Nonprofit Interactions: BIC solutions will require the integration of point solutions for contact management and things like advocacy and donation transactions.

• Cost: Customers can expect to pay the most for BIC solutions, relative to any other solution option they may consider.

• High Lock In: Because the deployment costs are so high, changing solutions is extremely costly. When a customer deploys a BIC solution, they are likely in for a five-year commitment to the solution.

• Ongoing Support: Most BIC solutions are almost always developed and maintained by a 3rd party vendor. So, once deployed, the customer is absolutely locked in to use that vendor for the life of the solution.

Who is a Best-in-Class Solution Best For?

BIC solutions are best for marketing organizations that manage established, sophisticated programs across many different media and channels. Their cost for performance is best realized by marketing organizations that have extremely high volumes of consumer and transactional data files coming into the system. As well, organizations that use these systems tend to be managing 100+ campaigns across media per month.


Download the Full Guide


The Nonprofit Marketing Library 

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