Case Study:

Oakland Zoo

THE CLIENT

Oakland Zoo (OZ) was established in 1922 and is managed by the Conservation Society of California (formerly East Bay Zoological Society), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife both locally and globally. With over 700 native and exotic animals, the Zoo is recognized for its outstanding animal care–particularly the elephant care program–and for their LEED-certified veterinary hospital—the largest wild animal veterinary facility in Northern California.

For more than 19 years, Schultz & Williams (S&W) has partnered with the Oakland Zoo on a range of projects to support the Zoo, including business planning, membership and fundraising consulting and implementation of their multi-channel direct response program for membership and annual fund. In recent years, S&W was asked to assist with a gift membership campaign to help expand the Zoo’s base of membership support and assist in its mission to inspire respect and stewardship of the natural world, while providing a quality visitor experience at the Zoo.

Highlights

1

Introducing New Multi-channel Strategies

S&W prides itself on taking innovative risks based on past campaign successes and in-depth analysis. Since last year’s gift membership campaign, S&W recommended new strategies to expand reach and influence prospects to buy a gift membership and support the Oakland Zoo.

Establishing a Successful Campaign

After several years of working together, S&W and the Oakland Zoo have formed a successful partnership—one that is built on trust and collaboration. Providing strategic guidance, implementation and analysis, S&W worked with the Oakland Zoo to develop and manage a strong and successful gift membership campaign during the competitive holiday season.

The Challenges

The holidays are an opportune time to maximize membership sales as a gift offer, especially during Cyber Weekend. For this campaign, we set out to craft a compelling membership gift offer and optimize campaign response by reaching both OZ’s current constituencies and new audiences

The Strategies

S&W prides itself on taking innovative risks based on past campaign testing and in-depth analysis. Based on results from the previous year’s gift membership campaign, S&W was able to recommend new strategies to expand reach and influence prospects to buy a gift membership and to support the Oakland Zoo’s mission. These strategies included:

  • Positioning Oakland Zoo membership as both a unique gift-giving opportunity as well as a way to support the Zoo’s conservation mission.
  • Expanding campaign reach through multi-channel digital marketing strategies, including responsive emails, online advertising, social media posts, and promotion on the Zoo’s homepage (carousel slider and two lightboxes).
  • Expanding outreach to new audiences through social media targeting and prospect segmentation.
  • Developing a responsive email template to facilitate a more user-friendly experience for prospects and maximize overall campaign response.
  • Increased promotions around Cyber Weekend, including customized emails, social media ads, and digital promotions on the Zoo’s website to create a sense of urgency around the “best deal” on gift memberships.
  • Integrating with the Zoo’s branding and marketing to present strong, cohesive messaging across all promotional channels.

Results

In 2017, the campaign yielded nearly twice the number of responses as the previous year, with a 120% increase in net income. The email series yielded 140 more responses compared to the previous year, resulting in nearly 64% more net revenue.

Increased and targeted promotions contributed to increased response across all digital channels as compared to the previous year. The addition of promotions around Cyber Weekend, along with the new responsive email template (which likely contributed to a 55% increase in email response over the previous year) helped optimize overall campaign response.

After several years of working together, S&W and the Oakland Zoo have formed a successful partnership—one that is built on trust and collaboration. Providing strategic guidance, implementation and analysis, S&W worked with the Oakland Zoo to develop and manage a strong and successful gift membership campaign during the competitive holiday season.

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