A Comprehensive Guide to Marketing Automation.

Marketing Automation, the Professional Associations Case Study!

We’ve been talking about it for a few years now, but marketing automation platforms are not yet in place in Quebec (yes, I know, like e-commerce in general). High costs? Lack of control? Issues with understanding related functionalities? The nature of the activities doesn’t seem like a good fit? Incompatibility with a CRM already in place?

The answer to all of these questions is, “that should not hold you back”, but we have to take the time to apply the theory to our particular industry. Let’s do the exercise for associations.

There are more and more marketing automation tools. According to Capterra, Eloqua from Oracle is the most common, but there is a whole panoply. Kentico, the content management, e-commerce, and global digital marketing platform supported by MultipleMedia, is one of them. Let’s also mention Mautic, a relatively young open source platform (2015) that can integrate with your WordPress platform. Mailchimp is also there, offering features that fit well in this category of automated e-mail marketing.

I refer you to the definition of Wikipedia for more details on what this type of solution covers. But for the sake of it, let’s say roughly that these platforms allow the sending of personalized e-mails, at specific times, in an automated way. They allow the adoption of segmentation based on behavioural criteria. This personalization of e-mails and the time of their expedition can thus be triggered by visits to your website, a downloaded document, a submitted form, a mention of your brand on Facebook. The promise of automated marketing platforms is that you will be able to focus not on the operational efforts of managing your e-mail marketing campaigns, but on identifying the most conducive interactions with your brand to turn your prospects into customers.

With such a solution in place in your organization, you are theoretically able to think about the definition of a program to nurture your leads and attribute them a points value. Let’s apply the theory to a more concrete example.

Association Profile

An association or a professional order will have more or less the following objectives:

  • Sell an annual membership to individuals belonging to a target group;
  • Sell specialized training activities;
  • Sell other value-added services to their members, such as group insurance;
  • Organize networking activities;
  • Represent the interests of their members with governments and other regulatory or decision-making bodies.

An association is a great candidate for the adoption of a marketing automation solution. Why? Because it has the most important criterion, the e-mails of all its client-members, or almost. Let’s say at least that we are entitled to expect it in 2018.

It is likely that your association already communicates with members according to the following themes:

  • Annual membership: Your membership is expiring, you must renew it;
  • Training: Here is our training program this year;
  • Advocacy: Our advisory committee requires your contribution;
  • Networking: Do not miss our traditional end-of-year cocktail party;
  • Holidays: Best wishes for the new year.


Now, from this list of typical association activities and communications, we can roughly imagine the following personas:

The Enthusiastic Member

He has been a member for a few years. He has purchased training activities and attends networking events from time to time. He has read at least two blog posts in the last 6 months.

The Apathetic Member

She has been a member for a few years, but has never purchased any training activities. She has read at least one blog post in the last 6 months.

The Apathetic Member at Risk

He has been a member for 6 months, but has never purchased any training activities. He is “at risk” because he could leave the association at the end of the year if he does not perceive any added value to his membership. He never opened an e-mail received from the association.

The Former Member

She was a member in the past but is no longer one. Since she has already agreed to receive solicitation e-mails explicitly, you are still able to contact her by e-mail.

Here, we can see a basic segmentation based on the business relationship that the organization has with an individual. But the additional value will lie in the behavioural segmentation of these same individuals.

Finally, imagine that your organization has a digital marketing infrastructure worthy of its title in 2018.

marketing automatisé | marketing automationIt will therefore include, as the case may be, a CMS, a CRM, an automated marketing solution, a website, and perhaps even a mobile application for your conferences. In this beautiful scenario, your website communicates with your CMS, which communicates with your CRM, which communicates with your automated marketing solution. Everything unfolds in a majestic choreography allowing you to always know, by the minute, who is present in which persona category.

And that’s where the fun begins. Configuring the perfect e-mail communication process (also called workflow) will allow you to optimize the number of annual memberships and revenue per member with minimal efforts over the year.

Marketing Automation Strategy

The Enthusiastic Member

For the enthusiastic member, the goal is to turn him into an ambassador for your association. The process we imagine would then be the following:

marketing automation | associationsThe Apathetic Member

For the apathetic member, the goal will be to get her motivated by working on her sense of pride, but especially by pushing her to participate in at least one activity. The imagined process could look like this:

marketing automation | associationsThe Apathetic Member at Risk

For the risky apathetic member, the goal will be to lead him to become solely apathetic. The process could be as follows:

marketing automation | associationsThe Former Member

For the former member, the goal will be to get her to become at least an apathetic member. The imagined process could be:

marketing automation | associationsThese are just examples, but as we can see, the same communications often come up again. The processes integrating them will vary according to your lead nurturing program and points or valuation system. Once your processes are defined and your e-mails and landing pages are developed, that’s it - you have automated your e-mail communications.

Of course, it is not so easy to implement such solutions. Technical difficulties can arise while integrating your systems and you need to get these e-mails out one way or another! However, the expected benefits are obvious.

We can help you identify a solution, implement it, and most importantly, assist you in optimizing your automated e-mail communication processes. Looking forward to learning more about your project!