BACKGROUND: AEGON Special Markets Group specializes in the sale of life and health insurance via direct response.

PLATFORMS: Protagona from Recognition Systems supports a full range of hardware and software platforms such as IBM mainframe, UNIX servers and Windows NT. The review site is an IBM 570 running AIX OS and Sybase RDBMS.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The implementation of Protagona (originally named ideas Solution) was driven by a variety of strategic objectives for AEGON. All of these were considered mission critical given the fundamental nature of the AEGON business model. Business objectives that were critical to the go-ahead decision: decreased costs by moving campaign management function in house (system paid for itself within four months); increased response rates (initial objectives have been exceeded); centralized data and control (results have met expectations); and increased speed to market (results have met expectations).


  • Marketing campaigns can be designed using any element in the database.
  • Application provides tools such as splits and nth selects to support campaign design.
  • Templates can be built to facilitate control and increased productivity.
  • Application provides centralized control over the entire campaign process.
  • Reports can be generated for a variety of purposes.
  • Lists and database tables can be generated in a production environment to support the execution of direct marketing activities.
  • Results can be tracked back to specific campaigns and reports enable the evaluation of campaign effectiveness.


  • Contact management rules to ensure that prospects are not over promoted.
  • The construction of "campaign streams" (sequences of promotions) for specific marketing segments.
  • The use of the ranking tool to identify the best product and/or offer for a particular customer.


  • Provides strong centralized control over all of our campaign management functions.
  • Delivers a user interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate, enabling our users to be very productive.
  • Delivers a high level of flexibility to construct a wide variety of campaigns.
  • Works well as standalone product and integrates with other systems in our marketing architecture.
  • Scales to support very large database and high levels of production access.
  • Provides a variety of modeling methodologies and modeling approaches. Allows access to a variety of parameters ­ is not a "black box."
  • Provides fast answers for ad hoc queries and campaign planning.

WEAKNESSES: Some very complex queries have had to be run outside of the product, and the application builds interim table space that requires large temporary files.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose Protagona because of its strengths. Additionally, we wanted a vendor that understood what we were trying to accomplish in the overall project.We found Protagona to be the only system that integrated modeling, scoring and campaign management into one application.


  • Reports ­ costs, response, ROI, wave reports.
  • Models ­ scores and all associated reports including gains tables.
  • Queries and counts.
  • Output lists and tables.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support has been excellent. Recognition Systems demonstrates a high level of understanding of our needs, and they have helped us implement a custom system. They also provided excellent training to supplement the documentation.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is helpful for all basic application and administrative functions. The documentation has sometimes lagged behind the addition of new functionality.

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