Gartner and 1to1 Customer Award Winners: Marketing Optimization


Gold Winner: EMI Music Embraces the Digital Customer Revolution

EMI Music is in the midst of a transition. The record company must build a brand new business model in this digital era of iTunes and MP3s. To compete, it created a multichannel, customer-based marketing strategy to reach consumers with relevant and personalized messages via their preferred channel, and to allow them to be part of the creative process with such EMI artists as Coldplay, Kate Perry, Moby, and Robbie Williams.

"We want to improve our knowledge of consumers and get a 360-degree view," says Guillaume Pech-Gourg, director of content and consumer relationships for EMI Music.
In the past consumers interacted with mass market retailers when purchasing music. By working with enterprise marketing software vendor Neolane, EMI Music created a centralized, opt-in customer database of 3 million consumers it can now interact with directly.

The company uses email, print ads, websites, and mobile channels to hold contests, surveys, and offer promotions, at the same time requesting that consumers register to hear more from EMI artists. It even sends messages via artists' MySpace and Facebook pages to encourage customers to register. And the company's Opendisc program pops up a registration screen when the consumer loads a CD into a computer. "We get several
thousand consumers every month [to opt into the database]," Pech-Gourg says.

Once in the database, EMI marketers can access the data in real time to create individual profiles based on customers' media habits and preferences, musical tastes, online behavior, shopping habits, and sociodemographics.

EMI sends relevant artist information, surveys, promotions, and more via each customer's preferred channel-print, email, or mobile-totaling nearly 100 targeted campaigns each month. The company offers presales on new music, coupons, members-only downloads, ringtones, and more to boost revenue.

Pech-Gourg says another goal of the program is to learn from consumers. "Consumer tastes evolve all the time, and we keep listening to them," he says. "CRM is a great research tool. Consumers really love to give their opinions and be part of the music industry." For example, EMI created a cross-channel campaign for 80,000 Robbie Williams fans, promoting a digital video player giveaway in return for completing an online survey. The campaign had an open rate of 41 percent, a response rate of 24 percent, and 52,800 click-throughs to EMI's site, exceeding the company's expectations.

And this year EMI expanded its mobile channel. "More than 25 percent of our database wants to be contacted via mobile," Pech-Gourg says. "It's very important to segment and personalize the messages via mobile because it's a more intrusive channel." EMI sends SMS messages to alert fans about upcoming events, provides links to artists' websites, and offers ringtone and wallpaper downloads.

In the 18 months since deploying the consumer database, EMI Music's digital revenues nearly offset the decline in physical sales. The company is on track to meet its projected goal of ensuring 25 percent of sales revenue comes from legitimate music downloads by 2010. The database is growing, and opt-out rates remain low.

"CRM is a new revenue stream," Pech-Gourg says. "It has bottom-line impact. It's great to get insight, but we also need to speak to the business objectives."

Silver Winner: Bell Canada Shares Customer Insight to Boost Retention

For Bell Canada the term "Max+" represents an entirely new way of interacting with customers. The Canadian telecom connected its siloed operations in a centralized, customer-focused system that gives all 13,000 employees visibility across the enterprise, and enables them to improve the customer experience and retention.

Working with Infor's Epiphany Inbound Marketing product, the Max+ system collects more than 300 customer attributes, including line of business, opportunity value, retention, geography, demographics, and churn score. The information is stored in a central database and incorporated into the inbound marketing system.

Now, call center agents have a holistic view of who calls in, including customer history, products in use, and service preferences. The system pops up suggestions of only relevant messages.

Before Max+, customers might be offered the same product every time they called, or be offered something they just cancelled, says Peter Brugnatti, manager of development and implementation of CRM for Bell Canada. "Now we can track offers, and take them away from a specific customer screen once they become irrelevant," he says.

"Our biggest success has been in the retention area," he adds. "When customers call in threatening to leave, we can provide rich offers to high-value customers and appropriate offers to the lesser-value customers."

As a result of these efforts, retention rates are up by 40 percent in the TV division and 47.5 percent in the wireless division. Other results include increases in per-call revenue (by 35 percent), new offer sales (by 18 percent), and response rates (from 10 percent to 50 percent).

For next steps, Brugnatti wants to combine inbound and outbound marketing in more business units to further leverage the CRM database. "Every few weeks we keep coming up with new ways to serve our customers and execute campaigns efficiently," he says. "The flexibility is limitless given the right support."

Bronze Winner: United Methodist Communications Gets SMART With Email Marketing

United Methodist Communications (UMC), the communications arm of the United Methodist Church, has created an advanced email strategy to improve relationships with its constituents.

As one of the church's 13 agencies, its main function is to provide marketing and communications resources, tips, and tools to about 34,000 United Methodist Churches worldwide. UMC has many different teams, including news services, donation management, creative services, ethnic resources, education, and scholarships. Until this year each team used email in different ways to send product promotions, resource information, and event updates, for example. With more than 1 million emails going out per year, constituents would get numerous messages per day in some cases.

In early 2007 the organization created the Strategic Marketing and Research Team (SMART) to understand e-marketing trends and how they could be applied to the organization. Poonam Patodia, e-marketing manager for UMC leads the eight-person team, which is responsible for sending all emails that go to constituents. "We make sure it goes to the right audience with relevant messaging, and that the messages include consistent branding," she says. UMC worked with nonprofit software vendor Kintera to create a centralized database and email tools.

The database now has information on 8,500 constituents, segmented by job codes and interest areas such as global health, youth programs, giving, education, and new worship tips and resources. When sending communications, Patodia's team can now track, and share with other teams, analytics like deliverability, open rates, and click-throughs, and match them to individual constituents.

In addition, the organization created the monthly MyCom e-newsletter in February 2008, which has 2,300 opt-in subscribers. Each UMC team submits content, which is incorporated into the newsletter, consolidating what would have been numerous emails. Open rates are at 62 percent, with 48 percent clicking through for more information.

Next year UMC plans to add new email features, like a forward-to-a-friend link. It also plans to expand its e-marketing strategy to its 12 sister agencies. "We're all going after the same audience, so it makes sense to centralize the communications as much as possible," Patodia says.