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Audit Your Marketing Presence Before Implementing a New System

For many associations, this time spent working remotely has been a great opportunity to examine current processes and tools. A few months ago, I discussed how to evaluate your current marketing tool to determine if it fits your association’s current and future needs. If the result of that conversation was that a new system is needed, the next logical step is to determine which tool should be identified and implemented.

However, before going full steam ahead, I would recommend that your team do a full audit of all of your existing marketing assets and data sources. Going through this exercise will help ensure both a successful implementation, and reduce the number of surprises throughout the process.

My goal during discovery meetings with a new client is to gain a full understanding of everything that touches marketing and communications, but some small items may fall through the cracks because they are not top of mind for the client. Before a discovery meeting, whether internally or with an implementation partner, have your team review the items below to create an inventory of all marketing assets and ensure everything is included in the implementation plan.

Emails

Naturally, in an email marketing system, the first item is going to be emails. In fact, I have seen that Email Marketing is still the “glue” that holds the user experience together for many organizations.

Review the emails that you sent out over the last year and categorize them into buckets. This is helpful in making sure that your email preferences are aligned with what the organization actually sends out. If you don’t have email preferences, then take the opportunity during the implementation of a new system to offer them (and make sure to evaluate your use of transactional emails as well)!

When reviewing the emails, make sure you take a look at the email templates that are used. Do all of the emails use consistent templates, or is there a wide variety depending on the type of communication? Discuss as a group if the organization wants to redesign email templates or migrate the existing design to the new system.

If possible, review what email clients (Gmail versus Outlook, for example), most of your members use to read your emails. Make sure that when creating templates in the new system that they render properly for the most popular email clients your contacts use.

In addition, pictures that are uploaded to your legacy system will likely need to be downloaded and uploaded to the new system. I do not recommend linking to old pictures because once the contract expires on your legacy system, your pictures will mostly likely no longer be available in the future.

Data

Your legacy marketing system holds a wealth of information about how your members and prospects have interacted with your organization in the past. At the most basic level you know which contacts are subscribed or unsubscribed from receiving your emails. At a deeper level, you may know who opens up emails related to events versus educational opportunities. This behavioral information can be aggregated and added to the new system so you do not have to start from scratch.

A component of data is also mapping various data sources. For example, some associations have a stand-alone Event Management System that is used to manually create email lists from event registrations. Others may have a smaller database housing contact records – maybe for event sponsors or industry contacts.

List out all of these external data sources and identify what information needs to be pulled into the new marketing system. Think about reducing the amount of manual data transfer among the tools by understanding how they can integrate to achieve a continuous (or nightly) data sync.

Website and Analytics

Many marketing tools offer forms that can be added to the association’s website to generate new leads through a newsletter signup form. With the help of the IT Admin or Webmaster, review the website to find all the places where marketing forms are located. Create an inventory so you know what needs to be updated when the new system is launched. Make sure to note any forms managed by your current Association Management System (AMS), because they could potentially be replaced in your new marketing tool, if applicable.

While reviewing the website, check if there are any tracking codes from the legacy marketing system. In Pardot for example, tracking code can be added to the website to understand what webpages prospects are viewing and link that information to their record. All of this tracking code will need to be updated for a new system. Make sure to review the reports in the legacy system to identify if the locations of tracking code can be refined to get a better understanding of user behavior on your website. Finally, if Google Analytics is connected to your legacy marketing system, make sure that tracking code is updated as well.

Social Media Connections

Integrating email with social media campaigns is a common practice among associations. If your legacy marketing tool was used to manage social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, then make sure the new system is configured to handle those connections as well.

Business Processes

This category is a bit more abstract, but is extremely important to launching a new marketing system and ensuring the implementation runs smoothly. Think through how your organization leverages your current marketing system and identify areas where processes can be improved. For example, one client mentioned that they were missing a key piece of information about their members, so we figured out how to capture that in future initiatives.

Lastly, make sure that you know when your legacy marketing system is up for annual renewal. In some associations, that information lives with the finance team and not necessarily the marketing team. This is a question I have learned to ask up front so that everyone involved feels comfortable with the implementation timeline.

Taking the time to review all of the above items will help save everyone a potential headache during implementation, and ensure that the new marketing tool is optimized for your organization.

Contact fusionSpan For Your Digital Transformation!

Charting the course of digital spaces and larger transformations is daunting. Organizations often struggle to understand the options as well as the implications. At fusionSpan, our digital strategy team understands that a single website or platform is just one stopping point on the entire customer journey.

Contact us today for a consultation to talk about how to plan for your next implementation!

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Susan Baumbach

Susan Baumbach

Susan has five years of experience working in associations and nonprofits, gaining critical experience in data analysis and how data is managed in Salesforce. As a certified Pardot Consultant and Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, she guides the implementation process from discovery through go-live and support. She is committed to creating the best marketing automation solution possible for users and stakeholders alike.

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