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High, Wide, and Deep: Creating a Sponsorship Success Story

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In a previous blog, we looked at three definitions of data cleansing and talked about why your marketing program should include them all.

The same rules apply when you reach out to sponsors, current and potential. To build relationships that bring you significant investments from committed partners, you need the right information. That means doing the right kind of research.

If you think of sponsorship development as a sales process, a couple of things become clear. You need an accurate, up-to-date contact list, and you want to make sure everyone on that list feels appreciated. But going back to the three definitions of data cleansing, you also want to make sure the right contacts are on the list. Here’s what you can do to fully align your organization with every sponsor and prospect:

Go High: You may have identified your lead contact for a specific sponsorship opportunity, but what will you do if they suddenly change jobs? Entrench yourself in the company by developing a relationship with that person’s colleagues or supervisor.

Go Wide: If you’ve built a relationship with one department in the company, chances are there are conversations you could be having with other departments. Your main contact might help you figure out who else to approach.

Go Deep: If your contact is a director or a vice-president, they probably don’t handle the administrative side of the sponsorship, and they may not be onsite at your conference or trade show. The partnership will work best, for your organization and theirs, if you can build relationships with everyone involved.

It takes time and effort to build and maintain a healthy sponsor relationship. But as that relationship grows, you and the sponsor will both get more out of it…which makes it that much more likely to continue year after year. Count that benefit against the effort of replacing a sponsor who steps away, then start investing time in your most promising sponsorship success stories.

Canadian Pharmacists Association Executives Visit Greenfield Services Inc.

The CPHA Team Meets The Greenfield Team
On Thursday, August 16th, the Greenfield Team welcomed Susan Clarke & Patrick Tessier of the Canadian Pharmacists Association

This meeting was to further solidify the member retention and renewal program that Greenfield will be executing for CPhA. 

Greenfield Member Care Specialists have been tasked with contacting CPhA members whose membership is up for renewal.  The proactive outreach ensures that members are aware of new products and services, and facilitates the membership payment process.  They work towards reaching members at a time where they can have a conversation, and the renewal process is taken care of in one conversation, versus the member having to do research on their own time.

We look forward to the continued success of the partnership, and welcoming the CPhA team back to visit again soon!

What is Data Cleansing?

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Data cleansing is becoming a household term for association managers, online marketers, and database managers. But it can mean different things, depending on who you talk to or which website you visit.

Data cleansing software can help you standardize and correct your mailing list, to make sure your message reaches your target list.

De-duplicating (or “de-duping”) software flags possible matches in your database or spreadsheet, based on criteria that you set, to help you combine two or more lists and eliminate duplicate records (“merge and purge”).

Data cleansing is also about knowing who within an organization should be in your database, and whether they’re the direct sales contact, the ultimate decision-maker, or a supporting contact.

These three definitions support and complete each other. By standardizing and correcting your data and eliminating duplicates, data cleansing software makes you more effective and saves you money.  But how much more impact could you have if you knew your list contained precisely the right contacts for every organization?

In a previous blog, I wrote about the mailings I receive from a company that was right to treat me as a business prospect…until things changed. Their programs and services focus on project management, and for a long time, that was my role at Greenfield. But times change, and I’ve moved on. If they had reached out to cleanse their list, the company would have learned that someone else had been in that role for more than a year—and that she should be on their list.

Their subject matter is valuable and relevant. My replacement would probably attend the occasional program, course, or seminar. But I hate to admit it—there are only 28 hours in every day, eight days in every week (I know…it’s a calendar thing), so I discard the mailings when I receive them, rather than passing them on. Data cleansing software won’t catch the problem, because the mailing address is correct. But the information isn’t reaching the person who needs to see it.

If you want to stretch your marketing dollars, maximize the impact of your next mailing, and eliminate the cost of duplicate distribution, you should make direct outreach a regular part of your data cleansing program. With business information stale-dating at a rate of at least 30% per year, it’s a lot harder to boost conference attendance, raise exhibit or sponsor revenue, or recruit new members with lists that aren’t quite all they can be.

Dodging Ground Zero: Are You Visible Enough with Your Sponsors?

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The moment will come eventually, whether you’re ready or not: You reach out to one of your major sponsors, only to find out that your usual contact has left the organization.

Finding their replacement may be as simple as asking who’s taken their place. Engaging the new contact might also be easy, if you’re the only association they deal with for a particular purpose. But if you’re not their only sponsorship option, or if the new contact doesn’t see the value you bring to the table, the relationship has to restart from ground zero, and that part of your non-dues revenue may be in jeopardy.

Could you have avoided the problem? Probably. With many organizations facing high staff turnover, you’re in danger if your relationship with a company depends on a single contact. Without stepping on toes, there are ways to stretch your relationship within the organization and entrench yourself as an irreplaceable partner.

Step One: Ask your current contact. They may not be the only person involved in deciding on sponsorship investments.

Step Two: Resilience is a two-way street. You may not stay in your current job forever, so invite your contact to meet your executive director, your marketing and communications manager, or some other key contact, in person or via conference call.

Step Three: Make it an occasion. Suggest a larger group (from your organization as well as theirs) to review the value you both get out of the partnership and explore any new opportunities on the horizon.

If you aren’t sure your contact will share the information you need, do your homework. Most associations list their staff teams online, and LinkedIn is the ultimate network—you can see what a company says about itself, find out who works there, and usually view your contact’s online connections. That way, you’ll be prepared for a bit of name-dropping (“Should I include Ms. Smith in the communication, as well?”), in case you need it. Even if your research turns up the wrong name, your contact will be more likely to give you the right information.

Everyone needs internal champions—in that sense, you represent your association’s value to its sponsors, just as your corporate contacts are the front-line face of your non-dues revenue. You need each other to succeed. And your organization’s funding is at higher risk if you don't know whom to call when—not if—your main contact eventually leaves the company.


Getting It Right: A Member Survey That Worked

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Survey fatigue is a risk for any association that wants to understand its audience, but this is the story of an organization that did all the right things when it needed information and advice from its members.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) reached out to its members to find out whether it should invest the time, money, and effort to develop a national conference. CALA engaged Greenfield Services to conduct the research. Here’s what made this survey the most successful we’ve ever worked on:

The Announcement: In its quarterly newsletter, CALA announced the survey and let members know they’d be hearing from the third-party organization that was conducting the research.

Professional Tools:  CALA had us develop the survey questions and distribute an invitation to participate.

The Platform: An online format made the survey easier for participants to complete, and for the research team to analyse.

The Follow-Up: Members who missed the survey, or missed some questions, received a series of follow-up calls encouraging them to participate.

The Report: A detailed report gave the CALA management team and Board of Directors the strategic intelligence they needed to make a decision.

The CALA survey achieved a blockbuster response rate of more than 50% . Members wanted to share their input because CALA did all the right things to position the research: they made it clear that they had a bold, new idea that might benefit their members, but they needed those members’ advice before they could proceed. The survey did reveal a solid base of support for a new event, and CALA is now planning its first national conference for 2014.

This case study will give you details and data on the process we undertook for CALA and the mix of online and telephone services that made the survey such a smashing success.