Why leave FileMaker behind? To reduce overhead. Having a contact management system that’s separate from your publishing and distribution tools forces you to switch back and forth to have those solutions work together. Want to pitch some contacts via email? You’ll have to export them from your database. An email bounced? You’ll have to update it manually in your database again. That’s tedious and causes a lot of overhead.
As a PR professional you want to focus on creating stories and nurturing relationships. Not on copy-pasting content from one tool to another.
— Frederik Vincx, design director Prezly
There are a lot advantages integrating your contact database with publication and distribution tools:
- Less overhead/costs
- Saves you time
- Integrated analytics, giving you valuable insights of contact behaviour.
Here's what the Prezly team learned from analyzing the FileMaker databases of several PR agencies.
Only a smaller amount of agencies seems to have created tailor-made contact databases in FileMaker. That’s justifiable because it takes agencies a lot of time, budget and effort to implement and roll-out custom solutions.
Speaking with employees and stakeholders about their current FileMaker solution no-one seemed thrilled. We saw with our own eyes that the interfaces were sluggish and not very user friendly. The FileMaker software also has to get installed on your machine, which seems outdated in times of cloud based solutions and access on mobile and tablet devices.
It isn’t all bad though. A FileMaker solution has a lot of benefits over using Excel for contact management. For one, it’s a real database, meaning that it’s built to solve problems like these. FileMaker is a complex solution that lets you create custom forms, reports and user interfaces. While that allows you to create a tailor made solution, it also means less flexibility than with Excel: whenever you want an update, a specialist has to be briefed and payed.
What we can learn from these solutions
A lot of time and effort went into creating these FileMaker databases. Analysing them, common patterns arise that we didn’t see when reviewing the Excel databases.
- Influencers work for media (newspaper, blog, radio,..)
- Influencers are specialised in different sectors (health, technology, fashion,..)
- Advanced search functions helps create lists of people to pitch to
- Multi-user access allows colleagues to see who updated which content
- Contacts are categorised in a complex, tree-like structure (taxonomy)
Updates to Prezly
The Prezly team rolled out updates to reflect these learnings from the FileMaker databases.
Record which media types influencers write for
Store the types of medium that your contacts write for (print, radio, tv,..).
Drill down your contacts with advanced contact filters
Want to find all your english lifestyle bloggers? Easy. The new contact filters let you find contacts in an instance.
Find people within an organisation
Want to know who works at an organisation? Now the contact info of all employees shows up on the detail page of an organisation. Instantly get an overview of all their details and contact information.
Import complex contact lists
To be able to leave behind FileMaker the team made sure anyone can easily import existing data into Prezly. The contact importer became a lot smarter:
- Import tags and organisations.
- Import Gorkana contact lists.
- Smarter conflict handling, avoiding you to “overwrite” existing contact information and metrics.
- Options to handle large data sets more easily. (Skip all, overwrite all,..)
Export all recipients per campaign
Is your client interested in hearing about your contact list for a specific story or press release? Throughout all campaign reports it became possible to easily extract a list of recipients from that campaign.
See clear email campaign statistics
The reports became more to the point. It’s easier than ever to see the performance of your email campaigns. Now you can share them with your clients with more confidence.
This is just the start
This is just the start. More updates are in the pipeline.