Technology and marketing for a political activist group. Last summer we turned around our recruiting program. This is the story of deploying Marketo and generating 10x growth.
Mary Ann is real; the median and an ideal Sentinel. Sentinels do the hard work that advances conservative policy. They work with our team to reach their members of Congress. We find them, educate them, activate them, and serve them.
Our B to C sales funnel. Attract people with content, advertising & coverage. Site, events, & petitions convince them to subscribe. Emails ask educate subscribers and ask them to take action (contact congress, for example). Activists are Sentinel leads.
Old way send active subscribers invites to Sentinel. Those two emails were sent every ten days. They linked to this page—a comprehensive list of Sentinel program features and benefits, a video, and a signup form. One-size fits all marketing with one behavioral trigger—based on our priorities.
Old way worked. Then it crashed—one-size-fits-all is boom/bust. My theory: we knew more about people than we reflected in how we asked them to join Sentinel. It wasn’t personalized or timely or helpful to them. Back to drawing board.
New strategy and better tactics. Started with customer (strategy), not technology (tactics). Strategy: field/political team helped understand customer—what motivates activists? Tactics: fundraising marketers at Heritage helped us think like marketers; Marketo rollout broadened what’s possible.
12 local political staff work with 300-500 Sentinels. Their brainstorm gave us six Sentinel motivations—deep needs the program fills, what activists want. Being a part of a program isn’t the goal for activists, it’s a means to an end (opposite of our old marketing). Answered need/value/substitute/offer these using a simple customer need template.
Six motivations make people take political action. Our public tools serve their needs ok. But without being a Sentinel core need unmet over longer term. There’s an opening for us to show activists that being a Sentinel really helps them.
Marketo via database integrations and Munchkin lets us listen for these actions—the full range of motivations. The sales pitch can be set up to talk to people where they are, real personalization, and huge potential. Triggering appropriate messages next step.
We connect six core needs to six email/landing page sets. Each reframes Sentinel to address activist need. Motivation connects to each message via triggers, emails, and pages, all personalized to activists.
Campaign launched August. Immediate 10x growth. This lasted as we gathered more leads in the top of the funnel. Strategy: start with the customer; tactics: full personalization; results: real growth.
Marketo campaign allows clear look at the performance of each message, as well as the performance of each page, and actual conversion. (Separate reporting campaign created later.) Room to improve the Join team email and page.
Who should be involved? Good utilization of Marketo—wide-ranging triggers and campaign flows—took more than my team. How do we personalize? Personalization is powerful if you can go beyond merging data into the email. Do we need to start over? Robust Marketo usage gives us a lot more to measure and thus improve.
Who should be involved in strategy? On-the-ground people have deep knowledge, marketers have data, thus both. How do we build a strategy? Customer motivations first—big to small, not small to big. Biggest mistakes? Viewing marketing as our problem—that causes blast emails; get in customer shoes to solve.
Now That's Growth: How We Used Marketo to Grow Activist Recruiting 10x
How We Used Marketo to Grow Activist Recruiting 10x
April 15, 2015
Tech & Ad Director
Heritage Action for America
Now That’s Growth
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What is a Sentinel?
• Mary Ann, North Carolina
• Politically conservative
• Semi-retired grandmother
• Highly Politically Active
• 5,000+ Twitter Followers
Now that’s growth:
Jan Mar May July Sep Nov
Email Name Sent Opened Clicked
Email #1 Reintroduction 115,315 47% 2.8%
Email #2 Ladder Diagram 105,045 46% 2.3%
Email #3 Insider Access 99,818 43% 1.3%
Email #4 Join the Winning Team 94,379 41% 0.6%
Email #5 Empower Your Activism 81,576 43% 1.2%
Email #6 Inside/Outside 79,820 40% 1.2%
Total 575,953 44% 1.6%
Lessons Learned: Marketing Tactics
• A cross-department marketing team creates more robust
• Personalization isn’t <<FIRST>>, it’s talking to people
about deeper needs they feel.
• Good marketing campaigns set the stage for continuous
Lessons Learned: Customer Strategy
• Involve the customer serve team to learn real lessons
• Understand customer motivations before thinking about
• Customer needs, goals, and expectations are the source of
real strategic insight (not your goals/needs/expectations).