American Endowment Foundation’s Nimble Team Leverages Act-On’s Platform and Professional Services to Attract a Broader Customer Base

Industry: Wealth Management
Highlights 
  • Increased ability to report on key metrics
  • Able to expand and implement a robust digital marketing strategy with the help of Act-On’s professional services team
  • Equipped with the necessary tools to attract and engage a broader consumer-based audience

The Challenge

American Endowment Foundation (AEF) is the United States’ largest independent donor-advised fund. Founded in 1993 and based in Hudson, Ohio, AEF helps donors administer funds and assets to the charitable organizations and endeavors of their choosing.

Historically, AEF has been heavily focused on using direct sales tactics to banks, individual financial advisors, and financial custodians at investing firms like T.D. Ameritrade. However, within the last five years or so, potential donors have begun educating themselves on the process more and more.

For AEF, this has meant targeting a broader consumer-based audience online and through their outbound marketing efforts. Subsequently, they’ve begun creating new digital materials with the donor audience top of mind — specifically pieces that relate to educating donors about the process and how to get their funds and assets to their preferred charities in the safest and most efficient way possible. The challenge, then, has been to get that messaging in front of their target audiences.

American Endowment Foundation’s small marketing team is led by their VP of Marketing & Communications, Eric Kinaitis, who works closely with a team of relationship managers and direct sales staff to pursue new donor accounts and make inroads with financial advisors. When it comes to content creation and outbound communications, however, Eric is doing most of the heavy lifting himself, which means he needs a powerful marketing automation platform to help him prioritize his objectives and conserve resources while avoiding duplicative work.

The Solution

American Endowment Fund has been using Act-On since before Eric came on board in 2014. Prior to moving to our marketing automation offering, AEF had been using the Infusionsoft email service provider to send emails to prospects, but it didn’t have all the necessary components they were looking for, so they decided to start weighing their options.

They were using Salesforce as their CRM (and continue to do so today), but they hadn’t built out their marketing department yet, so they weren’t sure about which direction to turn. They had a good relationship with their main Salesforce integrator, so they asked him who they should be considering and what they should be looking for, and he strongly recommended Act-On (no doubt due to our native integration with Salesforce).

“There’s a lot of complexity that goes into some of these campaigns in Act-On, so we wanted to engage with customer support to explain what we were trying to accomplish. Once they understood our objectives and what we were trying to measure, they explained all of the steps involved to get an accurate snapshot of our progress.”

ERIC-KINAITIS

ERIC KINAITIS

Director of Marketing & Communications

Eric has extensive experience with several marketing automation platforms (including HubSpot), so he’s familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of the different offerings available. Although Eric inherited the Act-On platform when he began working at AEF, he’s been impressed with the breadth of Act-On’s capabilities and is committed to continuing to use the platform in the future. Thanks to Act-On’s ease of use, he’s built a strong familiarity with and knowledge of the platform which has empowered him to fully leverage all of its capabilities.

According to Eric, “Act-On is the primary tool we use to link and report on key metrics and present that information in a way that is easily accessible to others within our organization.”

American Endowment Foundation’s Small Team Leverages Act-On’s Platform and Professional Services to Attract a Broader Customer Base

“Any tool can make whatever claims they want to about how productive or advanced the technology is, but if you don’t have the people behind it to finesse it, then you’re constantly going to be running into shortfalls without anyone to help you clear those hurdles. And that’s something I’ve never felt with Act-On. Their people make the technology excel.”

ERIC KINAITIS

Director of Marketing & Communications

The Result

Over the past five years, American Endowment Fund has experienced great success with Act-On. Eric and his team were initially using Act-On to facilitate AEF’s outbound email communications to targeted audiences but quickly realized the power and simplicity of some of the platform’s additional features.

Eric began experimenting with the progressive profiling functionality in Adaptive Forms to gate content assets (all of which are stored in AEF’s Act-On Media Library instance) and strengthen and improve the company’s outbound efforts to generate more leads and drive ROI. From there, he began leveraging Act-On’s sophisticated reporting and analytics tools (such as Data Studio and Engagement Insights) to actually measure AEF’s progress. This allowed him to then develop customized lead scoring programs to better understand the user journey, optimize email campaigns based on prospect behavior, and pass quality leads to the sales team.

Perhaps most importantly to Eric is Act-On’s support team’s willingness to lend a hand whenever he has questions about how to use the platform. When Eric first began with Act-On, he reached out to the Professional Services team to explain how he wanted to use the software and pick their brains about the best way to achieve those goals.

“There’s a lot of complexity that goes into some of these campaigns in Act-On, so we wanted to engage with customer support to explain what we were trying to accomplish,” said Eric. “Once they understood our objectives and what we were trying to measure, they explained all of the steps involved to get an accurate snapshot of our progress.”

Eric feels that Act-On’s staff is so helpful because they are dedicated to empowering marketers with the best possible products. As a company providing solutions for markets by marketers, Act-On stands out from other marketing automation vendors thanks to its knowledgeable and empathetic approach to the daily challenges of our customers.

“Any tool can make whatever claims they want to about how productive or advanced the technology is, but if you don’t have the people behind it to finesse it, then you’re constantly going to be running into shortfalls without anyone to help you clear those hurdles. And that’s something I’ve never felt with Act-On. Their people make the technology excel.”

Eric’s words are a true testament to Act-On’s commitment to delivering a product that is powerful and easy to use and –– in those rare instances where our customers stumble or have questions –– provide clear answers that will help them reach their marketing goals. We’re glad to see American Endowment Foundation getting so much out of the platform and our Professional Services, and look forward to continuing to deliver innovative solutions and support as they continue to expand their reach.

About American Endowment Foundation

Founded in 1993, American Endowment Foundation(AEF) fills a unique role as America’s largest independent donor-advised fund program – a national, public charity.

American Endowment Foundation’s Small Team Leverages Act-On’s Platform and Professional Services to Attract a Broader Customer Base