Back in 2012, economics professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok founded The Marginal Revolution University, an online education platform that works under the belief that economics have the power to change the way you see the world. Their mission is to “provide a world-class economics education to everyone, everywhere for free.”
What started as a YouTube channel is now an active resource among high school teachers and university professors.
Marginal Revolution University (aka MRU) is using PieSync to keep their outreach and digital marketing teams aligned. Their chosen platforms are marketing automation leaders Drip and Salesforce, one of the largest CRM solutions on the market.
According to Justin Dile, Partnerships Manager at MRU, most of their users are either professors or students.“We want our product to be as easy to use as possible, so we don’t require anyone to sign up for an account in order to use our website. Not being able to collect something as simple as their name or if someone is a professor or student makes it challenging to understand who our audience is,” says Justin.
Next to the challenge of not knowing exactly who their viewers were, there were different people inside the organization working with all of the data. The problem was that each person works with their isolated island of data. Each team had their specific app and their own database, so the contacts were not the same everywhere.
“That made everything complicated– there was a lot of out-of-date information. Our users received emails that were not always relevant for them, or for instance if someone had stopped teaching or started teaching a different topic, the information was not shared between teams,” remembers Justin.
They decided to centralize all data in Salesforce and share specific users’ information with Drip, for marketing purposes. “We needed a bidirectional sync to share the segmentation we had in both Drip and Salesforce. The rule-based sync enables us to get people on the right list if we change their status in Salesforce. We are also able to decide whether or not we want Salesforce to dictate a certain tag or a certain campaign,” says Justin.
A 2-way Solution
Nowadays, MRU keeps more than 10 different groups in sync according to the type of educator or learner, their interests, and their engagement.
“We are releasing a new course called econometrics. If someone had expressed interested in that, they’d have a specific tag in Salesforce. Thanks to the sync, we can send them the free course when it’s available,” says Justin.
Another important factor for MRU is to offer personalization.
“We make sure the names we collect are in Drip, so when we send out an email we can make sure it’s personalized. We believe it makes a big difference to start an email with “Hi Jane” instead of just an impersonal Hello.”
Ultimately, PieSync is helping Marginal Revolution University unify their software stack.
“It allows us to have everything in one spot. I don’t have to go to four different platforms to have up-to-date contact information across my apps. We update in one app and we can rely on that information for our email campaign later on. It’s definitely saving us a lot of time,” says Justin.
In a team of only seven people, time plays an important role.
“I work on a variety of projects from marketing to accounting for MRU. If at the end of a conference, I get 200 sign-ups, it’s going to take me a lot of time just adding the information into my apps manually. The fact that I’m working with PieSync saves me at least two hours on that project,” says Justin.
For Justin and his team, PieSync adds value to both applications as it helps them work together.
“I always keep an eye on the new apps you launch. For me, PieSync’s 2-way sync is perfect because I can get the best out of both worlds,” says Justin.