PLATFORMS: Federal Express (FedEx) marketing has a 500GB Oracle data mart running on a Sun 6000 server utilizing various open, front-end tools for accessing data.
BACKGROUND: Over the last few years, FedEx has transitioned from product-focused marketing to customer-focused marketing. In making this transition, FedEx reengineered its database marketing process to focus on analyzing segments, executing campaigns and assessing performance.
PROBLEM SOLVED: To best leverage its new marketing processes, FedEx needed a tool to automate and accelerate its database marketing process. ValEX was chosen as that tool. ValEX mapped to the new marketing processes very well and fostered mass customization. Before ValEX, the marketing specialists had to depend on a few skilled analysts to do customer segmentation, list pulls and campaign management, as only a few people could leverage the tools and information. The ease of use of ValEX made it possible for marketing specialists to independently execute marketing campaigns. This also freed up the analysts to actually start analyzing data and developing predictive models.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ValEx uses the Value Exchange Optimization methodology for optimizing customer value and profitability. The query module helps define the target customers for the campaign. The other modules can be used to design and execute marketing campaigns, to do standalone list pulls of prospects or customers, to extract data for campaign fulfillment, campaign history or to define methods for partitioning customers (dividing into control and target groups). The campaign module lays out the entire target group and segments it on different parameters and communication strategies. The extract module also has the ability to store predefined formats for list pulls.
STRENGTHS: ValEX is built on open systems and is very flexible. It works with any database that supports an ODBC interface. The data mart is constantly evolving and the strength of ValEX lies in its ability to easily adjust to the changed database and adapt to a new level of information as it becomes available for users. It has an easy-to-use GUI interface, which is ideally suited to non-technical marketers. In addition, the internal campaign tracking mechanism prevents duplication of campaigns and thus avoids data integrity issues.
WEAKNESSES: It does not integrate well with other ad hoc query and modeling tools, although Exchange Applications plans to develop such product integration.
SELECTION CRITERIA: ValEX was selected because it was the first tool of its kind to function in a completely open environment.
DELIVERABLES: The software has helped the company meet its corporate objectives for moving from a product to a customer focus and had enabled the company to obtain an 8:1 return on its direct marketing investments. ValEX, along with the changed marketing processes, helped reduce direct marketing campaign cycles from twenty-six to eight weeks.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Support from Exchange Applications has always been great, and they have been very receptive to customer requests and suggestions.
DOCUMENTATION: The user and administration guides are very well written and easy to understand.
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