Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts Tips & Tricks

By: Stacey Segal, Vice President


Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts are often overlooked because they're seen as complex, confusing and time-consuming to create. Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts are one of the more robust features and offer a great opportunity to focus on growing your marketing and communications strategies.






Mastering Marketing Efforts


Source Code - Ensure that your Source Code or Codes meet the needs for ALL of your marketing efforts. Don't try to put a square peg in a round hole. You might need to create one or more Source Codes to manage complex programs.


Pre-Configure - Build frequently used Creatives, Packages, Templates, Ask Ladders, Segments and Seeds up front so that they are ready to use in all of your future mailings. Putting in a little extra setup time will save you effort down the road.

Standardize - Build Standard Mail and Email Export Definition to use in your marketing efforts. You can always edit/add the fields as needed within each mailing if there are unique fields required.


Build - Identify groups of Constituents you frequently communicate with and build the queries in advance, i.e. “All Alumni”, “All Parents”, “Grateful Patients”, “All Donors”,“Lapsed Donors”, “Long-Lapsed Donors”, etc. So that you can ensure you're pulling groups the same way all the time and save time in building queries. Also, utilize the Exclusion Selections and Universe sections of the Marketing Effort to limit your constituent pool rather than building exclusion/inclusion criteria into your Selections. It's much easier to change an exclusion query than to remember to go back through dozens, or more, selection queries and update the criteria there.

TIP: Always use the same Query Source View for your Selections and Export Definitions. We recommend the Constituent Marketing Source View because it allows you to use the “Segment Builder”.

TIP: Avoid using too many “Exists In” criteria in your Selections! This will bog down the system and cause your Marketing Effort calculations, and the entire system, to run slower and is often the culprit of "unexpected results."


Copy/Paste - Marketing Efforts can be copied. The “Copy” feature tends to be under-utilized and it is a powerful tool. If you send multiple mailings year to year with similar criteria to the same audience, copy one of your previous efforts rather than starting a new one from scratch.



Explore the task formerly known as Segment Builder (aka Create Multiple Segments)


After building your Selections, use the "Segment Builder" to create multiple segments. This is a powerful feature and will cut your time dramatically. NOTE: Back in the early days of Blackbaud CRM ™, this functionality was called the Segment Builder. Now you can find it in Segments>Create Multiple Segments on the Taskbar.


Create a Selection/Segment worksheet to give your users standardization around the Segment Code values. TIP: Use the “Alias” field to shorten the name of your selections. There is a character limit in the Segment Builder. Use Segment Groups. This will allow you to pull all the Segments into a Marketing Effort at once rather than adding Segments one at a time.


Remember that the order of the Selections within the Segment Builder tool is hierarchical, so build your sets with that in mind. The first segment gets highest priority for determining which segment a constituent falls into, and so forth. If you have a major donor segment and an alumni segment where a person could fall into both, put the one that should take precedence at the top of the hierarchy.


TIP: If you don’t need complex Segments in a Marketing Effort, there is nothing wrong with building a Segment with only one Selection.


Still getting that migraine? Feeling anxious? Direct marketing efforts or communications efforts don't have to be overwhelming. The proper design and configuration can make your life a lot easier. If you're still finding yourself stuck, consider a managed services company, like BrightVine, to help your organization become highly organized, increase production and response time, and ensure you meet deadlines.




Managed services vendors can administer many aspects of your marketing and communications programs. From creating segmentation to exporting the data, to serving as the liaison between client and vendors, a managed services group can ensure that timelines and objectives are being met.


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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