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Using Blackbaud CRM™ Job Schedules for Marketing Efforts

By Sara Swiatlowski

Everyone agrees that Marketing Efforts are a very powerful tool in Blackbaud CRM™, so powerful, in fact, that a very large effort can cause performance problems. This is because many of the steps in a marketing effort often touch other parts of the system, and the larger the effort the more potential there is for conflict with other processes that could be running throughout the course of a business day. The good news is that the BrightVine team has some tips to help you work more efficiently with your marketing efforts.

Tip 1 - Instead of using the “Refresh all selections used in the communication” setting when you calculate a marketing effort, you could instead build a queue to refresh all of the selections at an off-hour. This allows you to refresh your query selections and your marketing effort segments during a time when there is less going on in the system. Just make sure that you pay attention to the order of your queue so that if a selection references a different selection, you refresh that inner selection first before the main one. You can also put all of your segments into a segment group and add that group to refresh as the last step of the queue.

Tip 2 - If you are working with a large effort, you may want to calculate and export the effort at an off-hour. Even if you refresh your selections in a queue like Tip 1, we all know that sometimes an effort can just take a long time to calculate and then export, especially if the export itself is complicated. The good news is that both of these marketing effort steps can be put into a queue and scheduled to run overnight or on a weekend when things might be less busy within the database.

To do this you would set up a queue with the following steps (selecting the marketing effort you’d like to run each process on in the Name field):

  1. Marketing Effort Segment Record Count Process

  2. Marketing Effort Export Process

As a best practice, you would also want to make sure your Marketing Effort has a few things populated within the Effort Settings tab. First, make sure you’ve included which export definition to use on the export step. If you don’t include this, that step of your queue will fail.

HINT: if it is a multi-channel effort you’ll need to specify Mail, Phone, or Email definitions depending on what type of packages you are using in the effort.

Next, make sure the settings on the Activation tab are correct in the “When segment counts are calculated” area. If you aren’t using a queue to refresh your selections, you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Refresh all selection sussed in the communication’ option is checked off. If you normally utilize the marketing exclusion report, make sure the option to run that is also checked off.

Tip 3 - Activating marketing efforts is another step in the process that can take time. The bigger the effort the more records need to be touched in order to write the communication entry onto each constituent. You’re also letting the rest of the system know that the marketing effort exists when you activate it, so you can reference it in other areas of the system like query, gift entry (finder numbers), etc. Again, running this process on a busy day may cause everything to slow down. Because of this, we recommend activating marketing efforts overnight or on the weekend, especially during heavy gift processing times. You can use the Marketing Effort Activate Process when setting up a queue to have one or more efforts set to activate at an off-hour for the database.

Tip 4 - Use the free tool that Brightvine developed to automate the refreshing of marketing efforts. This handy tool looks for any effort that’s already been activated and needs to be refreshed because there has been new revenue that has been attributed to the effort.

We hope that these tips help you to work more efficiently with your larger marketing efforts.


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