Customer case

How to develop a personalization model in Direct Marketing

Wed 27 Sep 2023

Why and How to Develop a Customized Marketing Plan?

With the arrival of data and the development of AI, Orange's ambition was to develop a resolutely customer-centric Direct Marketing personalization model, going beyond the usual commercial recommendation, in order to switch 100% of business campaigns from a classic PMR (Plan for Marketing Relationships) to a PMI (Plan for Marketing Individuals), while retaining at least the same performance as previous campaigns in PMR format.

The execution of these campaigns within a PMI framework hinges on fostering creativity through detailed storytelling, which demands additional time in the initial stages and during project oversight. The objective is to deliver more tailored content to the customer. PMI employs a customer-centric approach, now relying on offer appetence scores, which are more refined and qualitative, in contrast to the PMR mode. Previously, in PMR mode, whenever there was a promotional offer, the campaign was sent to ALL eligible customers.

Given that direct marketing is a potent driver of business, expectations were very high, especially since most of PMR's historical campaigns had already achieved good sales performance. Consequently, we had to facilitate a shift in the marketers' perspectives. This was imperative, especially as their routines were evolving (they were embracing new tools and transitioning from a predictive to an incremental approach). They needed to be reassured of the potential gains before taking the plunge (and not just in terms of sales but also customer satisfaction), and historical marketing silos were preventing a global, customer-centric vision.

In addition to facing resistance to change, transitioning to a new cloud environment brought about technical limitations. It demanded specialized skills, a mastery of the ecosystem and seamless integration with an existing on-premise system. Starting with a legacy system and upgrading it came with its own set of restrictions and associated risks. Finally, the challenges encountered during the implementation of the new technical solution, along with its management — including significant and intricate evolutions — were substantial. This was especially true with regard to deploying the NBOA engine to the teams.


A Proven Method

Faced with constraints and hesitations, Sofrecom’s consultant collaborated with the Direct Marketing team in developing a strategic roadmap, taking into account both the challenges and the feasibility. On the communication side, a communication kit was created outlining the new deployment methods for a PMI campaign and widely disseminated in advance to familiarize various departments. This was complemented by daily meetings and more formal instances (sponsorship meetings/an operational committee) to ensure:

  • The successful delivery of the new PMI-format campaigns
  • The protection of the addressable client base
  • The monitoring of highly anticipated business performance

For the customer and all the Direct Marketing professions, Sofrecom's project team facilitated a genuine assimilation of the PMI concept and a thorough adoption of these new working methods, despite the initial obstacles. The implementation of business campaigns in PMI format, resulting in anticipated time and resource savings in the long run, resulted in a significant boost in sales volume and turnover for this sales channel.

To date, several projects have been completed:

  • Deployment on various digital platforms (including the homepage)
  • Deployment at the Orange notification center
  • Gradual rollout of PMI in direct marketing
  • Implementation in CRM for all customer advisors in Orange boutiques


Moving Towards a Customer-Centric Ecosystem of Personalized Recommendations

The aim of this project was to initiate a paradigm shift, transitioning from a "rules-based approach"* to recommendation personalization to a fully "AI-driven"** approach. The objective was to reshape the existing ecosystem into a personalized, customer-centric, automated system for recommendation personalization — one that is self-learning.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool that allows us to streamline daily tasks, enhancing cost-effectiveness, performance and efficiency in lead times. AI accelerates the processing of diverse data and provides more accurate responses to customer expectations. Hence, the challenge for the Perso/Reco workgroup was to generate greater value through a customer-centric approach, incorporating end-to-end performance evaluation.

The goal was to transition to an automated digital marketing campaign where, following an initial setup phase, messages could be delivered automatically without human intervention. This is based on the principle of marketing automation, resulting in significant gains in the end!

The goal was to transition to an automated digital marketing campaign where, after an initial setup phase, messages could be distributed automatically without any human intervention, based on the principle of marketing automation, resulting in substantial gains in the end!

The objectives of this phase of the project were manifold: to create a comprehensive and tailored solicitation plan for each customer, enhance customer satisfaction, achieve an incremental margin of several million euros and, ultimately, improve NPS by 3 to 5 points;

* The rule-based approach is a methodology used in artificial intelligence and expert systems to make decisions or provide solutions in response to problems.

**The term "AI-driven" describes a process that relies on the ability of artificial intelligence to analyze large, complex data sets and produce information rapidly.


Agility at the Heart of This Approach

To bring this project to fruition, the Sofrecom team, leveraging its expertise in agility, assisted in establishing a SAFe train and developing a product vision centered around the personalized recommendation ecosystem. Additionally, business needs were thoroughly examined before defining the optimal macro solution.

A significant portion of this project encompassed:

  • Fine-tuning of the detailed solution and its implementation.
  • Oversight and coordination meetings during solution implementation.
  • Lastly, monitoring and coordinating the activation of production pilots.

For the customer, aside from the successful launch of three pilots and the industrialization of score/priority production along with the activation tools' supply chain, this undertaking resulted in a demonstrable increase in sales and cross-channel sales volumes.