Have we automated Marketing Automation for Associations?

A 2013 survey revealed that 92% of marketers chose EASE OF USE as the most important element in choosing a marketing automation system.

This is because, ironic as it is for systems designed to automate repetitive tasks and save staff time, the marketing automation systems available for the past decade have tended to be remarkably difficult to use – complicated, labor-intensive, and built more for coders than for end users.

Having served the association space for well over a decade, we at Real Magnet knew how useful this technology would be for member-based organizations if it could be made so simple that marketing, membership, conference/event, learning, advocacy, and communications staff would all enjoy using it and be successful the very first time they log in.

We think we’ve done it! Here’s how we automated Marketing Automation:

1)  We Tailored our Solution for Associations

Once we committed to providing a solution specifically for associations, we were able to better focus on building exactly the right functionality because we, with the help of our association customers, know what associations do and how Marketing Automation can help. We could also focus on making the user interface easy to understand and use – everything from association-specific terminology to association-friendly onscreen dialogues and product help. Our association customers drove product development from the beginning, guiding us in decisions both large and small, and we believe that the result is a solution that you will find feels familiar and makes sense on every level.

2)  Pre-Built Association Campaign Templates  

Knowing that most associations need to conduct a fairly standard array of campaigns for things like new member onboarding, membership renewal, new member prospecting, conference/event promotion, fundraising, etc., we realized that we could do most of the work for you by providing pre-built campaign templates for each of these typical association needs. We developed a guided campaign setup process that needs nothing from you other than the answers to simple fill-in-the-blank questions: Who do you want to be included in this campaign? “What do you want to send to them? When should each send take place?” Simple as that. It’s exceptionally straightforward and easy.

As an added convenience, each campaign provides you with a natural language summary at the end for easy review. These templates are extremely handy and dramatically reduce the time it takes to set up and launch a campaign – and if at times you need something a bit different, you can start with one of these templates and easily modify it or build whatever you want from scratch, just like with other systems.

3)  We Play Well With Others

We’ve had integrations with the leading AMS/member database systems for years (Abila/Avectra, Personify, iMIS, Aptify, Salesforce and more) but we also know that everyone’s environment is a little bit different and every association has a unique need or process here or there. We support the unique needs you might have by having a healthy variety of user-friendly ways to get data, send data, or exchange data with another system.  (such as the fact that a given member just registered for the annual conference using a third-party registration system). We have several easy ways to let our system know that this took place, any and all of which will automatically trigger the sending of conference registrant emails to this person rather than conference invitation emails. Our logic is that if we can provide 3, 4 or 5 easy ways of doing something, at least one of these will work for each of our customers.

It’s all very well and good for us to describe our approach, but it’s much more meaningful to provide examples of what these breakthroughs means for associations like yours. Over the next few weeks we’ll show you how three classic association campaign types are simplified and improved using Marketing Automation for Associations. The examples will be the following, although there are plenty more to choose from (and please let us know if you’d like to discuss others):

  • New Member Onboarding
  • Member Retention/Renewals
  • Conference/Event Promotions


Marketing Automation is tremendously helpful technology, and everyone likes the idea of better serving members and prospects by automatically sending the right message to the right person at the right time. As useful as this is, however, the relatively high degree of difficulty of most existing systems has held back adoption. A threshold has been crossed, as we believe that our association-specific approach (an approach made possible by good listening skills and genuine empathy for our customers’ challenges) has finally automated marketing automation.

Don’t take our word for it!

See It for Yourself