How to Avoid Pain by Integrating MailChimp with your CRM

Posted on 22 December 2014

Many companies use email marketing tools, like MailChimp, to communicate with their customers and run email campaigns. Keeping your CRM and MailChimp in synch with the latest up to date information on marketing list members can be painful if it has to be done manually.

The Pain

It’s painful when the data you need about your customers is in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system but you also need the data in MailChimp. Once the data has been transferred across to MailChimp, there is still an ongoing need to keep both sets of data up to date.

Typically you’ll need to update MailChimp when, for example, a new customer is added, a customer’s preferences change, they buy a product, or when any other business rule changes, for example, if a list member changes payment details or reaches 18 years of age.

The CRM system will require updating when, say, a newsletter list member unsubscribes or if they have indicated they downloaded a white paper.

It doesn’t take long before manually keeping both sets of data up to date becomes a painfully tedious process.

Morphine! More Morphine!

Fortunately most marketing tools like MailChimp have a rich Application Program Interface (API) – this is an interface that external programs can use to interact with it.

Recently we wrote a program for a client that watched their system for changes in their data, such as a new member or a change in preferences, and updated MailChimp automatically.

Our program also periodically checked MailChimp to see if any members had unsubscribed and updated their system accordingly.

Ahhh, that’s better…

After we put the new system in,

  • MailChimp is always up to date with the latest customer information. As a result, they can better target their email campaigns;
  • Everything runs smoothly in the background with no need for manual intervention, saving them a lot of time and avoiding much tedium;
  • The CRM system remains the ‘source of truth’ on their customer information. Accurate, up to date customer information is no longer scattered across their systems and MailChimp;

Since the logic and data integration has already been completed, it won’t require much effort to modify the system to accommodate another email marketing system if they wanted to change providers.

In this article we talked about MailChimp but the principles are the same for any other email marketing tool.

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