ABOUT THE VENDOR
Unica Corporation provides enterprise marketing management solutions. Hundreds of businesses worldwide rely on Unica's software and services. Customers include Lands' End, Merck-Medco, Bank of Montreal, Nordstrom, ABN AMRO, Cintas, Scotiabank, Choice Hotels and Nationwide. Unica is a privately held, global company with offices in the U.S., London and Singapore, and a network of partners, including Acxiom, Compaq Computer, Braun Consulting, IBM and PeopleSoft.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
Orlando Sentinel Communications, publisher of the Orlando Sentinel, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tribune Company, Chicago. In addition to newspaper publishing, the company is involved in direct mail, niche publishing, interactive online services and commercial printing. Orlando Sentinel Communications is a partner with Time Warner Communications in Orlando's 24-hour local news channel, Central Florida News 13.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
Unica's Affinium Suite offers the entire marketing organization a unified platform for planning, budgeting, managing and measuring the entire marketing operation. Affinium enables marketers to gather and analyze knowledge from multiple data sources, identify customer wants and needs; plan, execute and manage tailored programs for interactions through multiple touchpoints; and measure and optimize all aspects of their marketing initiatives--people, money,
Orlando Sentinel Communications needed a solution to help them manage, personalize and target the content of email newsletters for each subscriber, enabling them to deliver the most relevant and up-to-the-minute news and offers to each individual. With Affinium, the Orlando Sentinel has the ability to design, test, implement, manage and evaluate both text and HTML, permission-based email campaigns and newsletters, as well as manage instant messaging. SearchCRM spoke with marketing information manager Chuck Farraj about the project.
SearchCRM: Why did your company decide to evaluate CRM solutions?
Farraj: We wanted to define a standard solution for the company's 11 daily newspapers. We also used the process to educate senior level marketing and technology professionals in the company on the capabilities and value that these solutions could bring.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a CRM vendor?
Farraj: We were looking for an industry-leading provider that was stable and could demonstrate a clear track record of success and generating return on investment for its customers. The solution had to be user friendly and allow us to easily access data from several different business systems.
SearchCRM: What made you choose Affinium?
Farraj: We found Unica's Affinium suite to be very comprehensive and user friendly, and it fit well with our previous technology investments. In addition, we considered the sound financial position the company is in, the reasonable implementation time frames we were told to expect (and have seen), and the flexibility that their technical approach provides in accessing data from several different platforms.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the technology evaluation?
Farraj: Our review team included members from most of our 11 daily newspapers, each having different levels of experience with database marketing and marketing technology. We spent time educating each other on best practices being used inside and outside our industry.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the implementation?
Farraj: We worked hard to make sure that most of the management team understood the capabilities we were bringing in, but we had trouble foreseeing the organizational impact. We are now considering ways to realign our marketing teams around customer segments instead of marketing channels, which is a big change for a company with a long history of managing by channel. Reengineering our marketing processes was a difficult task; however, implementation of new processes across the organization was necessary to fully leverage the capabilities of Affinium.
SearchCRM: What training issues did you have?
Farraj: We had a very limited budget for the project and did not spend enough on training. We have tried to educate key individuals on the software and have them train others in the company as we roll it out, but it would have been better to invest in more upfront training.
SearchCRM: What internal resistance did you encounter?
Farraj: The necessary redesign of some of our marketing functions has been politically problematic. Initially, it is hard for anyone to give up control over certain responsibilities or resources, so we are working to lay out a proposal that people can understand and accept, without feeling a loss of control.
SearchCRM: When do you expect to see ROI?
Farraj: Most of our payback was projected to come from cost savings from moving our email marketing in-house from outsource and we have started to see those savings, but we are starting to see the benefits from reduced costs in our customer acquisition efforts as well.
SearchCRM: What is the most rewarding result of the CRM solution to date?
Farraj: We have seen a dramatic reduction in the effort necessary to create timely and cost effective multi-channel, multi-wave campaigns. We are much more timely in our communications, and because most channels are cheaper to manage using Affinium, we can afford to do more marketing.
SearchCRM: What advice would you give to other companies just beginning a CRM project?
Farraj: Work more on the business processes before you bring in the software. It's really hard, but we've seen a lot of willingness from Unica to work with us on this.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
This was first published in May 2002