BACKGROUND: Exelon Energy, an unregulated affiliate of PECO Energy, offers competitively priced energy to residents and businesses in several Northeast states. Locally, Exelon Energy is one of the largest non-utility electric suppliers in Pennsylvania and is rated world class in customer service. Based just outside of Philadelphia, Exelon Energy has additional offices in Pittsburgh, Boston and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.
PLATFORMS: Sun Enterprise 3500; Oracle7.3.4 is the relational database management system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: With the deregulation of the energy industry, Exelon Energy found itself competing with many electric supply companies in a multi-state region. Such heavy competition required a state-of-the-art marketing system capable of managing, tracking and evaluating direct marketing campaigns. Exelon Energy needed to build a database marketing program utilizing direct mail campaigns to both businesses and consumers. To get the marketing database and sophisticated data management tools needed, Exelon Energy approached Epsilon to configure a relational database with a campaign management tool. Epsilon Campaign Manager (ECM) was a solution that helped Exelon Energy get into this highly competitive market more quickly.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ECM has lived up to our high expectations of what a campaign management tool should do, especially with its robust segmenting capability. We immediately came to rely on Epsilon Campaign Manager to coordinate and execute our direct mail programs. Basically, everything we needed Epsilon Campaign Manager to do, it handled in stride. One mailing, in particular, had complex requirements for segmentation and used many unique promotion codes, but Epsilon Campaign Manager executed this well. We appreciate the high performance, open architecture and flexibility. As Exelon Energy grows and as new technological advances become available, they can easily be integrated into this scalable environment.
STRENGTHS: Epsilon Campaign Manager's main strength lies in the way that it manages mutual exclusivity in using criteria-based as well as sampling-based (random and nth select) segmentation. The segmentation tree feature is particularly strong because it lets us visualize the segments as they happen. In addition, a change made to segments only affects the local nodes and does not require a recalculation of the entire tree. Epsilon Campaign Manager's output engine uses a parallel optimizer that is very fast and efficient. This gives us the flexibility of assigning multiple output formats on the same campaign.
WEAKNESSES: The original version did not allow us to output ASCII fixed field file layouts. The new version, to be released early next year, includes this option. We also experienced minor technical glitches which have been addressed.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Epsilon Campaign Manager had all the features we were looking for, in particular its segmentation tree with mutually exclusive segmenting. Because of its hierarchical nature, you can build a tree down to individual branches and leaves to visualize how segments are distributing themselves.
DELIVERABLES: Epsilon Campaign Manager gave us a central system to run our direct marketing campaigns and the ability to have multiple programs running simultaneously. The automated system gives Exelon Energy maximum control over creation and execution, particularly in scheduling tasks. It gives us the time to concentrate on strategic planning. Epsilon Campaign Manager helped us get to market faster in a highly competitive industry. The tracking and reporting system lets us learn from each campaign.
VENDOR SUPPORT: When we work with Epsilon, we consider them part of our team because of their strong commitment to Exelon Energy. They resolve problems quickly and take the time to teach us new techniques for using the tool, which helps us better understand the product and deliver our campaigns more efficiently.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation and online help is average; but after training, our use of documentation has been minimal because Epsilon Campaign Manager is intuitive and easy to use.
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