System integration enables DCI to adjust e-mail scale

Client: Drum Corps 
International (DCI)
Agency: Delivra
Objective: Streamline the process of sending out multiple newsletters a week for the nonprofit.

Founded more than three decades ago, Indianapolis-based Drum Corps International (DCI) has expanded to become a global nonprofit organization. Each 
summer, DCI hosts 100 music events in North America as part of its annual Drum Corps International Tour. More than 3,500 high school and college students perform throughout the tour for around 400,000 fans. DCI’s marketers were struggling with the organization’s scale.

“As a nonprofit, we’re working with a pretty small staff to begin with, so it was me and one other guy [who were coordinating 
multiple e-mail blasts to its nearly 60,000 subscribers],” says Chris Weber, 
communications manager for Drum Corps International. “To actually send a broadcast would take the better part 
of half a day.”

STRATEGY: DCI sends around three to four mailings a month for its 10 lists. The organization uses an in-house system to create, distribute and track e-mails, but its system was unable to efficiently manage the e-mail marketing program’s growth.

Late last fall, DCI looked to its 
e-mail services provider, Delivra, to help the organization grow its mailing lists in a way that didn’t overburden DCI or impede its ability to analyze response. “The problem that DCI came to us with was not being able to integrate with their current 
system: being able to pull information from their systems without having to do a ton of import and export,” says Carissa 
Newton, director of marketing at Delivra.

Delivra offset the load carried by DCI’s system via an API call that connected the in-house system with Delivra’s. “That’s what really streamlined the process of getting the subscriptions that they already have in their database plus growing the list so that they could mail on a regular 
basis,” says Newton.

Once DCI no longer had to worry about the scale of its e-mail program, it was able to focus on engagement. The 
organization began to place social media links in its e-mails, as well as multimedia content, such as video. Newton credits these additions with improving deliverability success, citing a 25% increase in clickthroughs.

RESULTS: The redesign cut the time DCI needed to dedicate to its e-mail program. Now “our main e-mail newsletter list is up to around 100,000 names and pretty much it spools through the whole thing in probably less than an hour,” says Weber. This year, DCI plans to employ the text-to-subscribe tool that Delivra launched in March in order to further grow its subscriber base.

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