How is implementing enterprise marketing automation like fine dining?

Picture this: It’s your spouse’s birthday and you go out for a surprise dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. You’ve read the reviews and they’re all off the charts for preparation and presentation. It’s just the two of you with no kids and no responsibilities and you’re ready to enjoy your first night out in months. Your server helps explain the French menu and makes recommendations. You order and look forward to a world class meal but moments later they wheel out a cart with the ingredients for your meal. Sure, they grilled your meat and sautéed your vegetables, but they expect you to prepare your salad, create the sauces, season the food, artfully arrange and garnish it on your plates, and clean up when you’re done. When you ask questions they provide you a French cookbook which you also cannot read. Oh, and they warn you that the special wine you brought is incompatible with your meal.

So, how was your date?

As ridiculous as this sounds, it is a pretty good description of most complex software implementation experiences. Which is why they don’t go so well either.

Think about it. Say you’re a bank. You know all about financial services, your customers, marketing, promotions, et cetera, and you even have a highly capable IT department. You do campaigns with manual processes and links into various data sources and delivery engines, but you don’t have the experience, or the inclination, to build this into a larger, more dynamic, world-class content and personalization solution, and you certainly don’t want to spend resources sustaining it. Yet, more often than not, you either have a choice to buy the various solution ingredients and figure out how to integrate them together with your existing systems and infrastructure, or you hire someone to build a one-off solution which you have to maintain forever. There has to be a better way.

Recently a large, financial services institution was in this very situation. They had a manual process for doing marketing for customer acquisition and retention but were struggling with the typical challenges of having a highly manual process which drove a lengthy cycle time involving handoffs between a large number of people which, in turn, created a lengthy and expensive cycle time. They needed to continue to tie into existing external systems and services. And, they wanted to become more customer-centric which meant they needed to scale targeting and personalization. None of this was practical with their existing processes but they didn’t want to be their own “chef” because they wanted their “meal” to be exceptional and to keep their focus on their business.

They hired West Monroe Partners, (www.westmonroepartners.com) as business consultants to analyze how all the major software options stack up and to map the functionality available to deliver the workflow needed by the bank. The West Monroe Partners’ team of consultants specializing in customer experience, advanced analytics, and operational excellence researched the market and analyzed their findings. They determined that what this bank needed was a dynamic offer and content management platform. This needed to be an end-to-end technology ecosystem with:

  • Core modules which met their needs for campaign specification, offer management, dynamic content and personalization
  • Proven integration with many of the external systems they already used including the bank’s multiple core providers
  • Services to assist integrating with internal or non-standard systems including end-to-end testing
  • A system to streamline proofing and approvals

The challenge presented which the bank asked West Monroe to assist with is consistent with where marketing is moving more generally. Thanks to the availability of innovative new technologies and the ability to drive insights and predictive analytics from large amounts of data quickly, the advent of personalization at scale is upon us. But this transformation is not to be underestimated; for large financial institutions with significant investments in complex information architectures, migrating to an agile, flexible, platform approach is neither cheap nor easy. Layer in increasing regulation and compliance requirements and the challenge can seem daunting.

So what does this new world of marketing look like? Well, let’s return to the restaurant for a moment and imagine that the proprietor has a marketing relationship with a specific credit card issuer, or even one of the partners of the credit card, say via an airline affinity card. The restaurant has an offer in place whereby diners who pay using their airline credit card get double points and a 10% voucher for the proprietor’s new sister restaurant across town. As a customer you were not aware of that offer as you had not opened a recent email offer from the card issuer, so using geolocation as a trigger, the card issuer sends you a personalized message via the card issuer’s app when you enter the restaurant with more information and an opt-in link. The voucher is placed in your app and the points are posted to your account once the transaction is authorized. The restaurant sees the activity via their dashboard in the airline’s community portal.

Layer in predictive analytics and machine learning and the opportunities become greater still. By leveraging all available data; transaction data, household information, demographic data, social listening, etc, it is possible to predict a customer’s desired outcome, beyond just the material transaction being made. This way financial services companies can align marketing and services according to the needs of the customer.

West Monroe approached the challenge by starting with developing a single ‘level 1’ business process that enabled all marketing campaigns for the bank, covering prospecting, existing customer marketing, segmentation campaigns and triggered, close to real-time messaging with individual customers. Next, West Monroe developed a full set of capabilities required to enable these processes, across marketing automation, data architecture, and technology infrastructure. A market scan of marketing automation providers followed, the results of which showed that there are a myriad of options available. West Monroe concluded that a platform play makes most sense, enabling the bank to choose a small number of key partners that bring holistic solutions and stability to future proof investments.

One such platform provider is Naehas, a provider of marketing automation that focuses on regulated industries, and especially financial services. Naehas provides the rails that enable effective personalization at scale across multi-channel environments while operating in control, with integration points into other capabilities such as offer management, audience data, rewards fulfillment, and existing enterprise content. Naehas may not be the one-stop-shop provider, however, the umbrella of compliance support makes Naehas a solution that all financial services providers should consider when architecting a new marketing environment.

The bottom line is that West Monroe’s client now has a roadmap that will deliver a dynamic offer and content management ecosystem that helps them take marketing to a new level: highly personalized, predictive offers while delivering world-class financial services. The client didn’t have to piece it together. It didn’t have to rely upon its own, internal software programmers to build it. It found what it needed and had the experts prepare it to perfection.

Date night’s looking better than ever.

Image courtesy of mrsiraphol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net