• Making Dorset Buzz Again: Bees and Technology

Making Dorset Buzz Again: Bees and Personalized Communication Technology

Bees are in trouble around the world. They are dying by the millions in Brazil, struggling to survive in Nebraska, and are under threat of extinction in Northern Ireland.

Why should we worry? “The answer is simple: bees are arguably one of the most important insect groups on earth,” said Dr. George McGavin, president, and entomologist of the Dorset Wildlife Trust in England. “Without pollination, we would have no flowering plants, no fruits or vegetables and we’d lose all the other insects and animals that depend on those flowering plants for survival.”

That’s why earlier this year the Dorset Wildlife Trust turned to Xerox personalized communication technology to help launch the “Get Dorset Buzzing” campaign. The idea was to encourage locals to turn their gardens into pollination grounds by supplying wildflower seeds. They had a goal of 1,000 residents.

Alastair Cook, Dorset Wildlife Trust's director of marketing and fundraising, didn’t have to look far for a partner. Over the past 28 years, the British company RPM has evolved from a printer to a multi-channel communications agency thanks to its investment in XMPie?, a Xerox business software that allows customers to personalize communications across audiences and channels. RPM is also a longtime Dorset Wildlife Trust corporate member, and, one day on a nature walk, the two sides decided to work together.

XMPie allowed the Dorset Wildlife Trust to send relevant communications based on demographic data and user behavior. And messages were made to fit the unique needs of social media, email, and printed materials.

How did the personalized communication approach work? “We surpassed our targets fourfold,” says Cook. “More than 4,000 people signed up.” The engagement didn’t stop at planting pledges. By determining who might be interested in providing further support, the Dorset Wildlife Trust converted 125 people into members. “That generates £10,000 [$12,868] of income every year,” says Cook.

The gardens in Dorset were buzzing follow the campaign. Wildflowers had sprung to life, and bees, butterflies, wasps, and more were flying about. “Loads of photos and stories, it’s great,” says Cook.

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