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Blackbaud™ CRM Marketing Efforts: Myth Busters Edition

Why is it that so many people think that Marketing Efforts in Blackbaud CRM™ require a degree in rocket science to manage them? None of us work for NASA, unless of course you're sitting at the NASA Foundation right now reading this. So is it a Myth, or is there any Truth to the idea that Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts are hard to manage?

We sat down with the folks at The American Kidney Fund, World Wildlife Foundation, The United States Fund for UNICEF and The Heritage Foundation to talk about building rockets...err Marketing Efforts.

Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts and other marketing & communications tools are often viewed as complex and time-consuming. But, are they really?

Let’s look at some best practices for building Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts (note: we'll use RS as an abbreviation for rocket science going forward)

Source Codes

  • Source Codes might sound, and look, like something you'd find on MARS. The key is design a successful source code the first time out. In other words, try not to let the rocket crash. Accidents happen, so if your source code isn't working, don't worry, there are ways to fix it.

  • If you break down the source code into manageable chunks (chunks is the non-RS word for source code 'parts') you'll have a better chance of successful liftoff.

  • ​First, if you're using a third-party direct mail vendor, you must include them as early as possible in your source code configuration discussions. Don't design a source code only to discover that it won't work for vendors.

  • Think about what you'll need in the source code, and why you'll need it. Hint: many consultants recommend not including the year or month in the source code because that information is available on the record itself. However, if you're using a vendor, they may not have access to that info and you may not be able to provide it to them easily. If you're an organization that does all mailings in house, and you can use the info on the appeal or marketing effort record, then you might not need year in the source code.

  • Don't assume you only need one source code. That's the number two mistake we see people make. Not every rocket can go to Mars and not every source code can fit all mailings. If you're doing true acquisition mailings you'll need one source code for those and another code (or codes) for your other mailings. Why? Because acquisitions require list codes while renewal and other in-house mailings do not.

  • What if you're in the middle of an implementation and need to re-design your source code? Or, what if you're already live and need to redesign your source code? Don't worry. First, we recommend you think about all of the areas that are impacted by your change. What other areas of the system rely on that info. Who is impacted by the change? And lastly, how will you report on info if you have to make a change?

  • ​​You might want to run for the hills or you could just call a pseudo-rocket scientist - like a member of Team BrightVine, for some help.

  • Review your data, if you're live, and decide if you can make a change over to a new structure. Should you wait until the end of the year? Fiscal year? Is there a time that makes sense for the vendors? Can you live with one code for gifts before the change over and another code for gifts after the change over? If not, then you'll need to decide how to cleanup the data (don't worry, it can be done programmatically!)

Feel like your lost in space? Don't worry, you're not. Just like astronauts take pre-packaged food to space, you should create some pre-packaged materials too. Build out your frequently used parts in advance and make them reusable. That's important. It's also important to look ahead and make sure you've thought through how one change may impact another requirement.

  • Build Standard Mail and Email Export Definition. You can always add and edit fields as needed.

  • ​Tip: if you're trying to export more than one specific salutation, make sure you pull it from the Name Format node in export definitions!

  • Use the “Segment Builder” (called Create Multiple Segments in CRM) to make your process more efficient.

  • Avoid using “Exists In” criteria in your Selections. This will bog down the system and cause your Marketing Effort calculations, (and potentially the entire system,) to run slower and expand in size.

  • Tip: Utilize the Exclusion Selections and Universe in the Marketing Effort to limit your pool rather than building exclusion/inclusion criteria into the Selection.

  • Tip: Remember that the order of the Selections within the Segment Builder tool is hierarchical, so build your sets with than in mind.

Still feel like you need that rocket science degree? Direct marketing efforts or communication efforts don't have to be a pain! The proper design and configuration can make all the difference. Rocket Scientists attend Space Camp and you can attend BrightVine Academy. We will train you and then help you find significant efficiencies, giving your staff the freedom to fundraise and strategize on appropriate stewardship plans, prepare for future marketing & communications efforts and focus on the donors.

If you’d like to learn more about how Brightvine can help you, or you’d like to discuss your direct marketing/marketing communications efforts, please feel free to connect with us.


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