E-mail case study: PeopleSoft

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CHALLENGE: PeopleSoft wanted to boost attendance for its annual user conference, PeopleSoft Connect, by 20% this year. "We had a pretty aggressive objective, considering we are not really seeing events getting huge attendance increases," " said Kathy Herzog, director of global Connect conferences at PeopleSoft. "So we had to do things differently." PeopleSoft launched an integrated campaign to drive attendance to the show, which was held in San Francisco Sept. 20-24. The campaign included direct mail, Web site marketing, telemarketing, e-mail marketing and e-newsletters. While PeopleSoft had used e-mail in the past, it got a lot more targeted with this year’s campaign, Herzog said.

SOLUTION: PeopleSoft used its own e-mail application, which is part of its CRM software product, to target users with relevant content and customized follow-up messages based on response or nonresponse. It targeted the e-mails based on product families—such as Enterprise, EnterpriseOne and World—product lines, geography and industry. Within the e-mail, PeopleSoft delivered content and offers relevant to each group. For example, it offered new customers and international customers a $200 discount on the conference price of between $1,595 and $1,995. Using its software, PeopleSoft identified four "decision trees" of users: Those who opened the e-mail, clicked through to the Web site and registered (group A); those who opened the e-mail and clicked through, but didn’t register (group B); those who opened the e-mail but didn’t click through (group C); and those who didn’t open the e-mail (group D). For each group, PeopleSoft delivered different response e-mails. For group B, a follow-up e-mail was sent with content specific to the user’s industry. For groups C and D, PeopleSoft experimented with different subject lines and content to drive response.

RESULTS: The e-mail campaign delivered an overall response rate (those who registered for the conference) that was 1.5 percentage points higher than last year’s e-mail response rate. Even more important, PeopleSoft far exceeded its goal of boosting attendance at PeopleSoft Connect by 20%. The final show attendance was 15,100, up 50% over attendance of roughly 10,000 at the 2003 conference.

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