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Fortis Bank customizes e-mails for diverse, international audience

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Challenge: Each day, analysts at Fortis Bank Global Markets prepare multiple publications for the financial services provider’s 10,000 clients. Markets, sectors and securities are among the topics covered in the daily reports and analyses.

The information the research papers provide varies, as does each client’s needs. Some want information from a specific sector. Others only want to read about what’s happening in certain areas of the world or at one particular company. Fortis Bank’s clients are busy professionals who don’t have time to wade through content to get the information that’s most relevant to their needs.

With offices in the U.S., Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, Fortis needed to find a way to customize its e-mails to ensure that each time a client opened one, it held something they were interested in reading.

“We have lots of different requests from clients to get only the research they want, nothing else,” Project Manager Christophe Juillard said from the Paris office. “We need to assist them. We need to precisely know the content of each of our research [reports] that we publicize and define to which client we want to send it. So we needed to find a system that could handle this flexibility to be able to send a research document only to the client who has requested to get it.”

Solution: The daily reports must be delivered to each client before the market opens, Juillard said, so not only did Fortis need a flexible system, it needed one that could deliver information across different channels in a short period of time. Neolane, a company that provides solutions for customer-oriented marketing and outbound communications, met that need with subscriber-profile management, segmentation, personalization, distribution, tracking and reporting.

When Fortis executives began using Neolane software two years ago, they wanted the ability to write specific messages to clients and they wanted something they could install in their own environment, not a Web-based application. Neolane offered both.

“We chose Neolane because it was the most flexible solution we found,” Juillard said.

Each document Fortis sends is classified based on different criteria, including economic sector, company, language and market. As the documents are routed through Neolane’s E-Delivery module, they are matched with customer requests and sent through a delivery work flow that includes publishing to the Fortis Bank Web site.

Result: Fortis documents are delivered through different channels, meaning clients connect with the documents in a variety of ways—from personalized e-mails to specialist data vendors such as Bloomberg and Reuters. The Neolane system tells Fortis how and when clients read the e-mail, something Juillard said is critical information they didn’t have with their old system.

“Anytime, anywhere we can find the document we published, who has received it and how did they get it,” Juillard said. “The feedback we had from the application was very important to know if the client has read the research. Did he open the pdf? Did he open it under Bloomberg?”

The Neolane software has reduced the time it takes Fortis to send out its research each day, Juillard said. There is no internal system to maintain, and there’s no need to check and see if the documents have been sent. Neolane does that. “We have a stronger product which evolves with the market needs, and every development is outsourced,” Juillard said. “That is also a great thing for us.”

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