APEX Award Winner Q&A – Focus on the Family

Every year, we recognize Customer and Alliance Partners of Aprimo who use Aprimo solutions to drive marketing excellence at their respective companies and in the Aprimo community with the Aprimo Excellence (APEX) award. This blog series highlights this year’s APEX award winners.

Non-Profit Streamlines Marketing, Improves ROI

Focus on the Family, a faith-based media organization, has been using Aprimo for over a decade and leverages both Productivity and Campaign Management, streamlining project management, the creative process, reviews and data segmentations. According to Janice McKaughan, her Marketing Operations Team relies on Aprimo to better organize their marketing communications, resulting in a quicker time to market and the ability to demonstrate those results to key stakeholders and maintaining legal and brand compliance.

Who: Janice McKaughan
Aprimo Solutions: MRM (Productivity Management); Campaign Management; Plan and Spend)

What challenges did Focus on the Family face before using Aprimo solutions?
Before we implemented Aprimo, we had incredibly manual marketing processes. They were spread out over emails, manual job folders, spreadsheets. Our process was pretty undefined. The manual components were so time consuming that jobs could take two to three weeks to get approved. We needed developer-level skills to create marketing audiences and it was difficult to measure performance of our content because everything was so scattered. In short, we lacked a single source of truth. We didn’t know where projects were in any given flow or where those projects might be hung up. And we didn’t have a simple process to kick-off projects, so, start to finish, we had plenty of trouble. It was process spaghetti which basically put us into crisis mode all the time.

Which Aprimo solutions did your company implement? What were the results?
We started with Productivity Management for our creative team. We came up with a simple ingest process for our jobs, a digital way to route jobs and get approval for jobs. Then, as part of an ecommerce expansion project, we started heavily using offer management and product tables, finally adding Campaign Manager on top of that because we saw the value of using a tool that’s connected to our data warehouse to provide our audiences whether direct mail, emails, lookalike audiences for social and web campaigns, etc.. We also have Plan & Spend, but we’re not using it extensively yet.

Now, we’re looking at a situation where we can see 95% of our ongoing activities. We’re managing over 2400 marketing activities a year. The intake process, the approval processes, everything has been streamlined. There’s a set process for everyone on almost every team to start and track jobs. We’re pulling 70-80 new, targeted marketing audiences for our campaigns per month, in addition to managing all the offers going to those audiences. Along with managing multiple nurture campaigns daily.

Aprimo enables Focus’s programs, activities, metadata, offer structures, to all go into our data warehouse, giving Focus a comprehensive reporting structure where we can connect responses to associated campaigns.

How does having all those reports at hand, having all those processes figured out benefit Focus?
It makes us a well-organized marketing operation, with all of the associated benefits. We drive higher results because we’re more effectively allocating our resources. Everything’s happening in the right channel and reaching the right audience. Our message is getting out more effectively than ever before, getting our donors motivated, getting our good content out. All because our marketing operations are better organized.

Another piece is that compliance is simpler. Having these processes in place, we can stay within brand guidelines and within legal compliance better. We want our message to be consistent and, obviously, we don’t want anything of ours to go out that could put our non-profit status in jeopardy.

Results, effectiveness, compliance. Those are the three big benefits of having these processes up and running.

Have your specific business cases changed or improved since you’ve become an APEX winner?
Well, the specific department that we wrote up for our use case was able to demonstrate their ROI, using data they pulled from Aprimo and the responses and donations from our constituents, and go to another department with that ROI and successfully ask for additional marketing budget. Our organization is recognizing that having an organized marketing arm actually helps them achieve their goals. People are realizing that we aren’t just giving them busy work when we have them fill out forms.

Have you identified other strong business cases for using Aprimo at Focus?
To make us really rocket fast, we have a huge business need for a DAM (Digital Asset Management). We’re finally getting some traction on that. We’re making a strong case that we could get even faster to market if we had an integrated DAM, like the one Aprimo offers.

How are people feeling about using Aprimo?
We’ve been able to make some progress getting people to understand that Aprimo isn’t just a separate technology, but that it’s a part of their world. Which is something a lot of legacy organizations struggle with. Many legacy organizations still think that technology is something IT does, but we’re making a lot of strides in that area with fresh approaches. We constantly have change management in mind and are always trying to make everything less complicated for our users.

Every once in a while, someone says “just go around the Aprimo process and you’ll get it done faster.” But what we’ve found is that they usually filter into the process one way or another and they learn that if they would have just adhered to the process from the beginning, it would have taken them half as much time to complete. No matter who a team reports to, they still have to go through legal, they have to go through brand, they still need the marketing support teams to pull off their communication. So going around the process just doesn’t help. But that’s the nature of the adoption curve at any organization.

Do you have any more examples of how Aprimo has helped your team better measure results of campaigns?
Over 85% percent of our marketing performance reports are relying on Aprimo data in some way, shape, or form. When someone needs to know how effective a campaign was, how many new names did we get, how many people converted to their next transaction—the majority of those reports are reliant on Aprimo data. And that’s a pretty big deal.

We’re leveraging the Campaign Management tool, too. The piece that allows us to look at a job and then tie specific offers to individuals within the audiences of a job is extremely important. That information flows into our data warehouse so a person in our call center or on our ecommerce platform can see which campaign a customer responds to. So we get a clearer view of what campaigns work for which audiences and which customers. Aprimo gives us really good analytics about what motivates the people in our files.

Submit Your APEX Nomination

Aprimo presents the Aprimo Excellence award every year to customers who use Aprimo solutions to drive marketing excellence. Want to learn more about how to win an APEX award yourself? Contact your Aprimo CSD to get started.

And if you know a company in the Aprimo community who deserves an APEX award, please nominate them for one!

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