Tech in marketing: Harnessing customers and content

Plan International reveals how its new CRM and CMS platforms will enable greater customer insight and might even boost fundraising to a new digital level

Metrics, metrics, metrics

Given one of Plan’s board members is a senior manager at Google Australia, there are high expectations around the ROI metrics generated by both the CMS and CRM platforms, plus the team’s ability to use them as the basis for good, solid customer decisions.

Right across the marketing spectrum, marketers are increasingly trying to measure things that weren't feasible to in the past, Holgate said. “For example, we’re looking to ascertain all sorts of metrics and proxy measures in relation to the number of times and quality of engagements we have with constituents, be they major donors, journalists and so on. We are trying to make sure we have a clear picture to make sure all the things we do are in some way being measured.

“The great thing about fundraising as a discipline is that it makes the metrics straightforward – you know how much money you are raising from which donors and when, and there’s a canon of experience in how you use that knowledge to improve the yield from those donors. We are good at that. But in other areas like retention, external engagement through PR, media and advocacy, it has been much harder to measure and we’re now finding ways of measuring that too.

“The more the transactions become digital transactions, the more hard data we can use to get a sense of how these things are working.”

Holgate also claimed many charities are still grappling with how best to tackle the mobile space both in terms of interaction and its influence, using apps as an example. “A lot of charities in our space have tried to rollout apps and on the whole, they haven’t been that convincing in terms of the value they provide to the organisation or the user,” he claimed.

“We don’t think it’s right to launch an app unless we think it’s going to be something someone is going to need. But clearly it’s something we need to look at.”

Whatever might appear on the digital horizon, Holgate believed marketing and technology are synonymous, drawn together by dramatic changes in consumer behaviour led by online, mobile and social media. “It’s absolutely critical that we become fluent in using digital technology and that we’re also sufficiently adaptable to account for how that technology use is changing radically as time progresses,” Holgate warned.

“I have been around long enough to see the arrival of the Internet and been able to look back at how much things have changed in that time. If it changes the same amount in the next 15 years, we’ll be living in a totally different world. Marketers have to adapt to that.”


One of the rising challenges for marketers as they utilise more and more technology platforms is their relationship with their IT department. Both McDermott and Holgate agreed working collaboratively with their own IT team was key to achieving the best result for Plan International during its CMS and CRM overhaul.

Plan’s IT team was involved in the website redevelopment from the get go, McDermott said, although the project was led by the marketing and communications division. Activities ranged from workshops together to scope out the project to ongoing management.

Because of the size and significance of the CRM deployment, the project was managed by a control board that had representatives from right across the organisation, with project management then driven by the IT team.

“We are greatly invested in the success of what they [IT] were doing,” Holgate said. “The fact that both projects went to market precisely when they were supposed to, and more or less within budget, is a testament to the fact that there was close collaboration in our two areas.”

To be truly effective as a marketing director, you should be speaking to the CIO on a daily basis, Holgate claimed. “In the rollout of two fairly major pieces of technology – the CRM and the CMS – we’ve literally been interacting daily and we’ll continue to do so.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Well done, team at Larsen. Fantastic story of how to continually invest in customer experience.

Adam Frank

A designer jewellery brand's take on customer relations

Read more

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...


Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...


Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Blog Posts

Why marketing technology utilisation is taking on new urgency

Disparate data sources, fragmented technology and a lack of funding has left many brands struggling in the battle for online customer attention amid a global pandemic. Now more than ever, brands need to focus on unlocking the value of their marketing technology.

Suzanne Croxford

Marketing technology partner, Wunderman Thompson Australia

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Sign in