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Up Your Marketing Game by Evaluating Your Current Marketing Tool

If anyone else were to enter your marketing platform, what would they find? Would they be shocked by the vast number of membership lists that are carefully dated so you can identify the most recent list? If they looked hard enough, how many duplicates would they find? You would immediately answer their probing questions by saying, “We have to manually update these marketing lists based on the most current information in the CRM. This is the way we have always done it.” A reasonable follow-up question would be, “Why are they not all connected?”

Whether or not this anecdote is relatable, a critical factor in a member’s experience with your association is the email content that gets delivered on mobile devices or desktop computers. There is a constant desire within associations to keep up with technological advancements to ensure a modernized and uniform membership experience. It is easy to keep the same email templates you have been using for the last several years or to manually update your mailing lists in the marketing tool based on reports in your CRM. By evaluating how you use your current marketing platform, your association can determine if the current product will meet your needs or if a new tool is required.

Whether or not your association is able to purchase a brand new platform right now, there are several key questions that you should discuss internally as the first step:

  • What features do we use and not use in our current tool?
  • Of the features that we use, are there any pain points or ways we can use it better?
  • Of the features that we do not use, do we want to use them in the future? Can we implement the new features internally or is outside assistance needed?
  • Are there any features that are missing from our current tool that we want to leverage in the future?
  • Are the reporting capabilities sufficient to answer key questions on how to improve our marketing strategy?
  • What other products can the platform integrate with? (i.e. Google Analytics, webinar app, etc.)

The table below is an illustration of how to organize the answers to those questions. The features listed are just a few examples available in a wide variety of online marketing platforms today. (Your list will likely be much longer!)

Feature Use Now? Future Use? Plan
A/B Test Emails No Yes Read about best practices and start using for event-related emails only.
Email Client Analysis Yes Yes Confirm the top three email clients our members use to read emails and optimize our existing templates for those clients.
Forms for Lead Generation Yes Yes
  • Pain Point: New leads are created in the marketing tool, but we don’t do anything with them.
  • Plan: Create an automated nurture program to send new leads content on membership benefits.
Create Dynamic Lists No Yes Need a way to sync updates from CRM to the marketing tool. Need outside assistance to integrate the two systems and receive support after the implementation.
Personalized Content Yes Yes Use merge fields, but want to develop dynamic content (text & images) based on contacts previous interactions with the website.

After your team has evaluated your current marketing platform, the next question to address is whether the existing tool will meet your needs, or if a new tool is required. Remember that implementing a new tool is not magically going to solve all of your problems, and there will likely be new issues that surface. For example, your existing tool does not allow you to automate journeys for potential members. Even if you upgrade to a new tool, automation does not mean that you can set it up and let it run indefinitely. Instead, you will want to view and analyze the data to further refine your journeys in the future.

Ultimately, the goal of this evaluation exercise is not to sell you on an upgrade, but rather to assist your association in determining current and future needs. Now go log into your marketing platform and start the conversation!

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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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