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How Egencia cleaned, built its email marketing list

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Business travel management company Egencia decided to rein in a bloated email marketing list in 2009. The company had been using modern content tools including webinars to generate new leads, but it had no automated system in place to connect registrants to names already in its database. “Every webinar created duplicate leads,” said Cate Vanasse, senior marketing manager-customer success at Egencia. “It wasn't mapping back to the original contact record. Our database was a mess. There was no segmentation. It was just batch and blast.” The company partnered with marketing automation company Marketo in 2010 and cleaned up its list before launching an “Awaken” campaign. The quarterly initiative is designed to improve the quality and flexibility of the Egencia list while also helping marketers and the sales team deepen connections with the customer base. “Awaken” helps the company manage about 434,000 contacts, Vanasse said. Egencia sends targeted messages that direct each contact to a custom landing page. They can update personal information, manage subscriptions and recommend additional contacts within their organizations. “In the complex b-to-b sale, this could make or break us,” Vanasse said. “Our day-to-day contact could take a new job tomorrow, and the person who is then cast with managing business travel may not know Egencia. The more people we have within the folds, the more likely we are to grow the account.” Egencia makes the request simple, enabling contacts to complete the forms with two or three clicks. Customers who have already subscribed to receive email messages may get an incentive to update their information and suggest colleagues. The “Awaken” campaign delivers a series of alerts to sales managers. Suggested contacts trigger a notification, and the sales team follows up with a phone call. They score the lead so marketers can assign a content track and work to obtain an opt-in request. Requests to unsubscribe also trigger an alert. “Often it means they left the company, so we need to figure out who is our new "champion,' ” Vanasse said. The focus on building an opt-in list is a forward-thinking step, said Jon Miller, VP-marketing content and strategy at Marketo. “It's new for b-to-b to be thinking about trust and engagement with their list.” Marketers need to think about how they are acquiring the names on their list in the first place, he said. They need to manage and maintain the list to keep information up to date, and they need to offer recipients the ability to opt out of the list. The quarterly “Awaken” initiatives have helped Egencia improve its list on several fronts, Vanasse said. One quarter, customers recommended 250 new contacts. Another quarter, clients updated more than 1,500 pieces of personal data. And in another quarter, the company expanded its opt-in list by 14%. “It's priming the pump for a renewal and making sure we have the contacts and everything in place,” Vanasse said. “So much of the renewal is having our champions active and present.”
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