-Teresa Zimmerman, Vice President of Marketing, and Amber Whatley, Demand Generation Manager
Increasingly nonprofit organizations are charged with not only growing their constituent and member base, but also providing member value across face-to-face and digital interaction points. Most incorporate the latest technology to help scale their efforts. But with more than 6,800 marketing-related products to choose from according to the latest report from the ChiefMarTech.com blog, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by choice and difficult to wade through the noise to identify which tools are essential to meet your needs and drive growth.
Your marketing technology (martech) stack should include every piece of technology needed to reach your current and potential members, donors, volunteers and other constituents. Having a well-developed martech stack allows you to scale your team’s efforts across programs, engage in personalized conversations with your audience and make data-driven decisions to improve user experiences. Here’s how to make the most of your stack.
Augment your reality
Managers today are trying to accomplish more with less and know that time is their most valuable resource. When evaluating technology resources, take the opportunity cost into account and treat your team members’ time as billable hours.
For example, a marketing manager may be able to create a design pay-per-click (PPC) campaign ad creative in a day using a free online design tool, whereas a design agency can do this in an hour with premium design software.
Knowing when to augment your team with external subject matter expertise such as partners, freelancers, agencies and technology may reduce costs and result in a higher quality end product. The example above, the agency could draft multiple creative examples for A/B testing while the internal marketing manager could focus on evaluating performance data, optimizing their advertising strategy and generating a higher return on investment for the organization. Leverage your eco-system to support a divide and conquer approach for your program growth goals.
Choose Tools Strategically
Identifying gaps and inefficiencies is essential to driving growth in an organization. The familiar concept of “there’s an app for that” can be applied to martech because there’s (typically) a tool for that (8,000+ to be exact).
Keep in mind three essentials for your martech strategy:
- Interoperability, and
When your tools all interconnect, exchange data across platforms and integrate with one another, a team is more effective at making data-driven decisions because there is a single source of truth across all interaction points. In this era of automation where members can renew their membership online, from their smart phone without leaving their chair nonetheless–leveraging automation to streamline your initiatives across channels is a must.
Data-driven program management is no longer a choice. It’s a necessity. Focus first on the tools that will provide actionable insights and allow for data-informed decisions rather than relying on assumptions. In this fast-moving world, your members “wants” and “needs” evolve along with new channels where they congregate. My favorite framework for drafting out audience needs is the SiriusDecisions’ target audience framework. It works well for not only planning external outreach but also for aligning your reporting back to the executive team and board.
Ensure That You Have Mission-Critical Technology in Place
Mission-critical technology is crucial in laying the groundwork for success. We’ve identified seven essential types of technology that can help grow your business:
- Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) tools help you manage your relationships and interactions with existing constituent’s and future ones. CRM allows you to stay connected to your base, streamline processes and connect other systems to support a 360-degree view of your constituent. Examples include Personify360 and Wild Apricot.
- Marketing Automation allows a team to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media and other digital tasks. At its best, the technology allows an organization to deliver useful, highly personalized content to their members and constituents, creating sticky relationships and brand enthusiasts. Partners like HighRoad Solution can help you get the most out of your marketing automation investments with welcome campaigns, event outreaches and member thank you’s.
- Productivity and Collaboration platforms allow for online collaboration and discussion, project management and communication across both internal and external teams. As you augment your team with freelancers, volunteers and partners—these become a useful tool in connecting everyone in real-time collaboration. Examples include Trello, Slack, Basecamp and GoToMeeting.
- Business Intelligence, Analytics and Reporting tools are crucial for analyzing an organization’s data and extracting actionable insights to impact performance. Examples include Google Analytics, Tableau, Domo and Bizible. These tools make quick work of spreadsheet slicers and pivots allowing you to visually see patterns and identify areas for program efficiencies.
- Brand Reputation and Advocacy tools are essential for understanding and monitoring how an organization is perceived by current and potential constituents. These platforms allow for content curation, social listening, publishing and more. Examples include Sprinklr, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Spreadfast and CoSchedule.
- Website and Content Management tools include of the owned media channels for an organization. A content management system (CMS) allows for the management and creation of digital content and is the support system for your online brand. Examples include social channels (both organic and paid), WordPress, Squarespace, and UberFlip.
- Online Community expands your footprint and creates digital experiences to scale your organization’s interactions with members and donors. Communities also provide a forum for collaboration and connection. Small World Community is the leading provider to support your efforts.
These technology tools allow you to scale without necessarily having to add headcount. You may need more than one tool from each category but consolidating as much as possible is key.