Marketing Automation 2015: No Longer Just for the Big Boys

Many of us dedicated to membership-based organizations have been intrigued for some time by Marketing Automation technology but have not seriously considered implementing it at our own organization.

We have experienced Marketing Automation firsthand through Fortune 500-sized companies such as Amazon and Verizon and have known that the expectations of our members would inevitably rise as they experience and enjoy responsive, personalized interaction with the corporate behemoths that can afford and staff Marketing Automation solutions.

Your interest may have been piqued by anecdotal stories of the time-savings that Marketing Automation affords its users by eliminating the need for labor-intensive tasks such as importing, exporting, & updating lists, sorting data, etc., but the core obstacle always remained – it’s just too difficult, too expensive, and too complicated for all but the very largest and most committed organizations.

2015 brings good news – the Marketing Automation industry has evolved and a threshold has been crossed. As always happens with technology, this category of software has steadily been made less complicated and more user-friendly to the point that it’s now possible to find Marketing Automation solutions that are simple. Easy. Accessible. And Affordable.

No sector stands to benefit from this more than membership-based organizations, for the following reason – Marketing Automation has typically been used by companies endeavoring to bring in new sales prospects, reaching out to individuals about whom they knew relatively little.

The member data stored in your AMS/member database, however, is typically far richer than what most companies know about their prospects, positioning you to reap the benefits of Marketing Automation much more easily than all but a handful of the larger organizations that have implemented it to date.

Association professionals should be greatly encouraged by the fact that their membership database already contains the raw elements needed for Marketing Automation success.

For example, your AMS knows when a new member joins your organization, so executing automated Welcome/Onboarding campaigns will be simple. It knows when someone registers for or attends your annual conference, so it’s easy to trigger an email to anyone who registered but was unable to take part.

Further easing your entry into Marketing Automation is the fact that the primary needs of associations – things such as prospecting for new members, maintaining existing members, promoting conferences and events, offering learning/ certification programs, etc. – are classic usages of Marketing Automation and not at all difficult to execute. The requirements of membership-based organizations are not extreme when compared to other sectors, yet another indicator that associations may conservatively expect positive results when using these systems.

As you look ahead at ways to meet organizational goals and rising member expectations in 2015 and beyond, consider Marketing Automation a newly-viable option. Associations are in many ways the ideal users of this type of software, and the evolution of this technology has finally earned the attention of our industry.