BACKGROUND: Fort Knox National Company (FKNC) is a pioneer in the electronic payments industry, processing over $1 billion in payments annually for companies such as General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Chrysler Financial Services, Household Finance and others. The company is the only high-quality, custom payment processor in the U.S. and has been active in e-commerce for fifteen years.

PLATFORMS: For FKNC, Aprimo is providing Aprimo Marketing via an application service provider (ASP) model. Aprimo hosts the solution, which is accessed by FKNC via a standard Web browser over the Internet.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With plans to aggressively expand its current online solution to conduct business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to- business (B2B) transaction processing via the Internet, FKNC needed a better way to market to current and prospective customers. Like many organizations, we based our marketing decisions on what we did in years past without thinking strategically about which activities or campaigns helped us achieve our organizational and corporate objectives. Without a central marketing platform, it was virtually impossible to approach our planning strategically. We looked for a solution that would help shorten our marketing planning cycles, increase our ability to execute quickly and proactively, and facilitate the development of strategic, knowledge-based marketing plans that deliver bottom-line results. Aprimo Marketing addressed our strategic issues.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: FKNC uses Aprimo Marketing to gain a strategic, real-time view of all marketing activities. With its comprehensive strategic planning, execution and performance analysis modules, we are able to manage our overall marketing budget and that of each individual campaign and tactic; streamline the approval process via the Web ­ ensuring everyone who needs to approve a concept or campaign can do so online no matter where they are; ensure activities are completed on time and on budget; access accurate information quickly for spur-of-the-moment campaigns that help us seize market opportunities; and conduct various analyses of activities and campaigns to quickly determine whether a campaign should be continued, halted or expanded due to its success rate and impact on the company's bottom line. We can justify our entire mix of marketing activities including trade shows, public relations campaigns, customer case studies and other tactics, and ensure they are in line with our corporate objectives. This helps us secure budget dollars for subsequent projects and helps us to highlight our contribution to the success of the company.

STRENGTHS: Aprimo Marketing enables us to plan, execute and analyze a variety of campaigns and marketing activities in a collaborative manner in real time. The product's Web-based architecture speeds deployment and reduces strain on IT. The real-time analysis functionality eliminates hours of manual research and provides information critical to developing strategic, cost-effective marketing programs. ROI is now much easier to determine, making it possible to eliminate campaigns that are a drain on company resources and enhance those campaigns that are successful.

WEAKNESSES: There is information and terminology that is homogenous across the marketing world. Aprimo Marketing does prepopulate the solution with some of these fields; however, I'd like to see more.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected Aprimo Marketing because it is the only solution that addresses both the high-level strategic issues and the day-to-day tactical aspects of marketing. With three complete modules ­ strategic planning, execution and performance analysis ­ Aprimo Marketing provides a truly centralized marketing platform that links the entire marketing organization in real time.

DELIVERABLES: Because Aprimo Marketing is Web based, we can provide access to as many people within FKNC as necessary. The system is integrated, so changes made to a document are reflected throughout. The automated workflow allows us to create templates of frequently performed activities which automatically populates due dates and tasks. The reporting/analysis feature utilizes up-to-the-minute information captured from various areas within Aprimo marketing, allowing us to analyze individual activities or compare multiple activities.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Aprimo's support has been exceptional. Their staff has always been very educated on the product and extremely responsive.

DOCUMENTATION: Aprimo's documentation is complete and easy to understand. They've also included a help button on every page with comprehensive instructions on each of the product's features.

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