An association serving more than 7,000 members via chapters in the USA and Canada, the Construction Financial Management Association's traditional marketing technology stack reflected a focus on member retention, where the systems in use relied primarily on email to connect and build engagement with members. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this focus, once tasked with growing revenue and acquiring new members, CFMA’s Marketing team realized that the “martech stack” would need to change. “Knowing that email lists degrade by roughly 20% each year, we really needed to focus on building campaigns which allowed us to go out and find new prospects to market to” said Fern Oram, Director of Content Marketing & Communications at CFMA, “we knew that an email marketing system, while effective in delivering our message to members, wouldn’t be able to solve our problem of needing to find those potential members whose email addresses weren’t known to us.”
Most organizations are in a similar position – tasked with growth, but not empowered to push for a new marketing technology stack that provides marketers with a cumulative look at an individual’s interaction, or their digital footprint so as to truly target prospects or leads for conversion. So how then, did CFMA assess their readiness to adopt marketing automation and build the case for that type of change? They started first by looking for organizational indicators that highlighted their need to change up their martech stack. Fern and her team asked themselves the following questions:
- Do we have the appropriate content hooks to attract potential members and customers?
- Do we have a social media program that is in sync with our marketing calendar?
- Do we run our campaigns using all digital vehicles in tandem where it makes sense?
- Do we have a plan or have we identified one for building growth and engagement?
- Have we identified a target market?
- Have we identified specific personas to market to?
The answer to many of these questions was a resounding “yes!” – a significant signal that CFMA was ready to make that transition. Fern was quick to point out that moving to marketing automation wasn’t simply a technical effort or a feature functionality evaluation, “the tool or platform itself isn’t as important as the readiness to follow a new framework. If you simply start using a new platform in the same way you used a previous system, you’re missing out on the opportunity to do things differently – this effort is more about being an internal change agent or “disruptor” rather than implementing a new tool”.
With this mindset, Fern set out to slowly educate her colleagues on how CFMA could approach things differently. By citing industry research, quoting experts, and constantly asking how things could be improved, Fern found her internal allies and built her business case. She worked closely with the IT team to understand their focus on data integrity and identify how internal workflows could be streamlined by empowering the Marketing team to execute their own queries in real time. Lastly, she built the business case by aligning with the budget cycle and partnered with HighRoad Solution to build out the martech roadmap for digital transformation.
The result? CFMA updated their marketing technology stack to include HubSpot, a marketing automation platform which also integrated with Association Anywhere, their association management system. This power combo allows CFMA’s marketing team to tap into data that can be used in predictive behavior models, lead scoring and targeted marketing campaigns. CFMA is now leveraging automated workflows which inform internal staff when prospects respond to a call to action and explore CFMA’s digital properties as they look for information. Metrics now reflect CFMA’s campaigns to be performing at a higher level than before, and the team is empowered to build additional nurture campaigns based on prospect activity and scoring.