7 Steps to a Successful Real Magnet Integration with your Database
David Jovel, Director of Integrations, Real Magnet
The goal of marketing automation is to help your marketing and communications teams develop better relationships with your audience by collecting data on how your audience interacts with your marketing initiatives, and then providing them with more relevant and personalized content based on that information. While the tool is certainly intended for the primary use of marketing and communications teams, the dependence of marketing automation on your database means that it will surely require your Operations or IT department’s involvement to implement it properly.
This is why Real Magnet has an entire team dedicated specifically to providing effective, smooth and speedy database integrations. With hundreds of successful integrations under our belt, we have been able to perfect our seven step process that we implement on every integrations project.
Here is our 7 Step Process for smooth Real Magnet integration:
Determining Organizational Goals
One of the biggest hurdles we come across is helping the different business units understand what the primary objectives of integration are. Yes, the overall goals of marketing automation are to increase engagement and event attendance, identify cross-selling opportunities, and so on. But, those are more long term goals. Let’s first consider some good short-term goals. Low-hanging fruit. Goals that, if successful, will help build momentum and buy-in within your organization.
Automating repetitive marketing tasks is a great way to get started with an integrated solution. Automating your list upload and list segmentation processes, both into Real Magnet and then back into your database, are great projects to start with.
Planning the Implementation
Coming in with an understanding of the goals, needs, environment and workflow for ALL stakeholders, departments and beneficiaries of the application within your organization will go a long way towards ensuring a smooth and successful integration. This will help ensure that everyone’s needs are met.
Make sure to…
- Create a workflow diagram
- Consult your platform / environment experts
- Identify any technical limitations or necessary customizations
- Assemble a project roadmap with target dates, deadlines, benchmarks and milestones
Measuring Your Success
Having a measurement plan is critical to gauging the long-term success of your investment. First, take a snapshot of your current performance metrics. Include all KPIs that matter to your organization. This will allow you to track your improvement post integration. Include both benchmarks and goals in your project roadmap, and share these with the stakeholders in your implementation process. Make sure to include as much detail as possible.
Testing Your Environment
Before we create your live, integrated environment, we create a testing environment that allows us to work through all the kinks, use cases and options for your integrated solution. Here, we select and test your settings and permissions and pull over recipient record data. We identify how you will be using your integration and then test it, including composing and sending email messages, to make sure your real environment will work as expected.
The environment testing phase is a major landmark in the project timeline for us on the Real Magnet integrations team. Typically, when we successfully complete environment testing, I get up and start dancing like Beyonce in the Single Ladies video… Unfortunately for me, no one else joins in. But, believe me! They’re just as excited on the inside.
Once environment testing is concluded, we move on to recreating this environment in your live accounts.
Now Let’s Implement
Finally, all the discovery, discussions and planning come to fruition. With the proper milestones in place this can be an exciting step. Here, we actually establish the connections between Real Magnet and your database. Real Magnet offers several options to make integration easy and flexible, including out-of-the-box integrations with leading AMS and CRM platforms, an open API, and our Universal Services platform that allows for easy integration with any database platform. In this step, we also recreate your test environment in your live environment.
Be sure to continually review the project roadmap and encourage your colleagues to remain flexible. Remember, we are pairing two technologies together that are designed to manage different tasks and goals — there will be hiccups and necessary adjustments to your original roadmap. Keep calm and integrate.
Monitor Your Progress
Now that your integration has been implemented, don’t just walk away from it. Refer back to the benchmarks and begin tracking your performance through the integration. Most organizations find that having basic metrics will suffice in the first version of the integration. Examples of these metrics include but are not limited to numbers by YTD, engagement metrics, pre/post annual event and a comparison to other organizations in the industry. Once your integration is running smoothly, we can begin to tweak it and make it more sophisticated by further tailoring your data to meet your specific needs and goals.
Adjust and Evolve
Start monitoring your marketing activities and comparing your metrics back to the benchmarks you established before implementing the integration. This should give you a good idea of how your system has improved and areas that still need work. Patience is a virtue here. Make sure you provide enough time for the changes to have an effect and for the data that you collect to be statistically significant. The worst thing you could do is to start making changes to your processes or integration before you really have an understanding of how your new environment is performing.
Send multiple campaigns, set up tests for specific variables. Once you have an understanding of your performance we can start making tweaks to continue pushing towards your goals.
In short, a successful integration between Real Magnet and your database platform will certainly boost the performance of your marketing initiatives, but requires careful prior planning, open communication, extensive analysis and thoughtful adjustments along the way.