Marketing Effort Configuration
Welcome back to our series discussing best practices for managing Marketing Efforts in Blackbaud CRM™. After reading parts one and two of the Marketing Efforts Best Practices series, you should have a better understanding of system configuration, and how to create the building blocks of your program. Now comes the real test - creating your Marketing Efforts!
To add a new Marketing Effort, visit the Direct Marketing Efforts section of the Marketing & Communications area. When you add a new Marketing Effort, the system will prompt you to choose one of the communication templates you created. Provide your new Marketing Effort with a name, assign an appeal, select the channel, and set the launch date of the effort.
As you continue using Blackbaud CRM™, you will build up a long list of previously completed Marketing Efforts. TIP: Start the process of creating a new effort by copying an existing effort from the system. If you send mailings with similar criteria to the same audience, choosing an existing effort to reproduce will allow you to make a few updates rather than starting from scratch.
Once you have created your effort, you will enter detailed Marketing Effort configuration screens. There are 5 primary tabs - Segments, Universe, Exclusions, Effort Settings, and Basic information. TIP: we recommend that you start at the last tab and work your way backward or ask your administrator to change the order of the tabs. Starting at the end and working toward the beginning allows you to add all the required elements before adding Segments (the most complex step) to the mailing.
Basic Information Tab
This tab lists out the information that you entered when you first created your Marketing Effort: template, name, description, appeal, channel, launch date, etc. You 'don't need to do anything here unless you want to make changes to the information you previously entered.
Effort Settings Tab
The Effort Settings tab has many sub-tabs. Most of the settings in these sub-tabs have been set up in your communication template. The sub-tab that you will want to pay most attention to is the Source Code tab. TIP: set up this tab before adding segments to the effort. Edit your source code values and set the main parts of the code first. Example: if you have a fiscal year as part of the source code structure, the value will be the same for all of your segments. Setting those on this tab prevents you from having to select those values within each segment that you add to the effort.
The Exclusions tab is the place where you will select constituents to suppress from the Marketing Effort. Your exclusions can be set using Solicit Codes, or you can exclude selections of constituents using specific criteria.
TIP: you can exclude constituents that have been included in a previous Marketing Effort. When adding a previous Marketing Effort exclusion, the Marketing Effort you select has to be activated. If you want to exclude constituents in a non-activated effort, you can export the data file from one effort and import it as a selection to use as an exclusion in another.
You can set up exclusions in your communication templates to save time and prevent errors. If there are solicit codes that need to be applied to all mailings, then adding them to the template will set them as the default. TIP: You can even set the exclusion as ""locked"" so that no one can remove it from the effort.
Some organizations use the Universe tab extensively; others don't use it at all. Selecting a universe for your Marketing Effort can ensure that unintended recipients don't end up in the effort. For example, a university might find it helpful to set their universe using a selection of "All Alumni" for particular mailings. This will ensure that only constituents who are alumni end up in the effort. The segments can be used to break down the universe by donor status, college of graduation, etc. No matter what criteria you add to each segment, constituents that do not exist in the universe won't be included.
Another important, yet often overlooked feature on the Universe tab is the option to send to one person per household. Who you mail to might vary based on the characteristics of the effort. For example, you may want all qualifying members of a household to receive an email; in this case, you would uncheck the "Send to one person per household" option. In contrast, with a mailed effort, you may want to send one mail piece to the household even if both members of the household qualify for the mailing. In this case, you would leave the option "Send to one person per household" checked.
TIP: When you select one per household, and both members of a household fall into different segments, the system will send the highest segment in the hierarchy. For example, Sally Jones is a board member and alumni, and her partner, Jim Smith, is an alumnus with no gifts on his record. The first segment in the mailing (the first one in the list) is "VIPs," which includes board members. The second in the list is "Alumni with donations," and the third in the list is "Alumni without donations." Sally and Jim would only get the package attached to the segment Sally Jones qualified for- the "VIP segment" when one per household is checked.
The Segments tab is where you define and categorize the constituents that you will include in your Marketing Effort. You can add different types of segments, including a constituent segment, a list segment, a test segment, or segment group.
TIP: Keep in mind when adding segments that the hierarchy is imperative. The list order defines the hierarchy. The first segment in the list is the highest priority and so forth. The system checks segment by segment to see if the constituent matches the criteria for that segment. Then it moves to the next segment listed in the Marketing Effort and so forth. A donor can't be in more than one segment, so the system will place constituents in the first (highest) segment that they qualify for.
Constituent segments are used for all house ("house" is marketing slang for all constituents within your database) or renewal mailings.
List segments are used for acquisition mailings. Mailings in which the list of constituents doesn't belong to you (or isn't in your database). These could be purchased lists, shared lists, etc.
Test segments allow you to test different variables in your marketing strategy. For example, if you want to determine the most effective premium, one half of a segment might get a tote bag, and the other half might get a calendar. Once you have added a segment to your Marketing Effort, you can click on the segment you want to test and click the "Add." In the dropdown, click "Test segment." You can then specify the group size you want to test with - either by a percent of the original segment or a specific number of constituents.
Segment Groups allow you to save time when setting up your effort. If you have several segments that will get the same package or ask ladder, for example, you can save time by adding them all at once as a segment group.
TIP: You can create your segment group under the Segments section of the Marketing & Communications area.
Calculate Segment Counts
Once you have added all your segments, it is time to run your segment counts. This step needs to be done to export or activate the Marketing Effort. The calculate segment counts process refreshes all selections in the segments, universe, and exclusions, so you have the most up to date counts. This process also assigns finder numbers to each record included in the Marketing Effort.
TIP: When you calculate segment counts, you can choose to refresh all the selections associated with the Marketing Effort and update the source analysis rule data. We suggest updating source analysis at the time of activation and not each time you refresh segment counts.
After segment counts are calculated look at the exclusions report identifying which constituents were excluded and for what reasons. If your segment counts are lower than expected, it could be a result of the exclusions you chose.
TIP: You can run an export process at this point to double-check your file before activating the effort. Checking the file is a good quality check to ensure everything looks as you expect.
Marketing effort uses a marketing export definition to create the actual mail file or email list (for externally generated emails). TIP: you create the marketing export definition in the Marketing & Communications area, under the Packages heading as opposed to the Administration area.
Once your export process has run, Blackbaud CRM™ offers you several options to organize your output files. The Multiple Files option allows you to split your data and create one file per source code, per state, per package, etc. The Grouped Files option also allows you to split your file but enables you to create fewer splits by grouping records. For example, you could choose to group by source code and then select multiple source codes to include in each file as opposed to one source code per file.
Once you have exported and downloaded your file, you will want to spot check the entire file. It can be helpful to include extra fields in your output that will allow you to do a quality check. For example, consider including a college of graduation or class year, the last gift date, a nickname, etc.
Here are a few suggested data quality checks:
Blank address lines
Missing zip codes
Blank or incorrect salutations