AutoPoint Automates Marketing Strategies for the Entire Customer LifecycleRESOURCES

AutoPoint Automates Marketing Strategies for the Entire Customer Lifecycle

CASE STUDY

US automotive marketing and services provider helps clients connect with drivers at every step of their vehicle ownership journey.

With PersonalEffect Enterprise Cross Media, XMPie APIs, and XMPie’s Email Service, AutoPoint built an advanced and fully automated email and print marketing retention platform to give it the edge over its competitors.

AutoPoint

Background

AutoPoint, owned by Solera Holdings, is an industry-leading automotive marketing and services provider, offering services that improve sales, service revenue and customer retention for dealerships and aftermarket vehicle care companies.

AutoPoint has used XMPie print and email personalization software since 2010. By taking time at the start to create highly versatile direct mail and email templates and define the campaign logic, the templates can be used to send hundreds of different, highly targeted communications to drivers that speak to their specific vehicle needs and are branded by the dealership.

Challenge

 

AutoPoint needed to build an email and print marketing retention platform that was scalable and could fulfill incredibly fast in order to help their manufacturer and dealer clients to connect with drivers at every step of their vehicle ownership journey.

To ensure a competitive edge, AutoPoint wanted to build the platform in-house and automate as many workflows as possible. To achieve this goal, the system needed a powerful document composition and management engine, an email marketing service and a robust and scalable platform.

There were several critical specifications under consideration as AutoPoint designed its platform:

Robust Email Service: High speed email delivery for sending millions of emails in hours.

Lights out automation: API integration was critical to automate as many workflows as possible.

Single platform: A single vendor was needed to power the platform behind the scenes and drive the omni-channel experience (rather than multiple vendors).

Support variety of output formats: The solution needed to generate standalone output files in a large variety of standard and propriety print formats.

Complexity: The solution needed to handle thousands of variable objects.

Redundancy and high-availability: Multiple Server-based so that it could be setup for redundancy.

Fast print and email file generation: The composition engine needed to handle extreme complexity to allow campaigns to go to market as fast as possible.

InDesign end-to-end workflow: Special brand representation features such as custom fonts and Pantone colors were needed to assure clients that brand identities would be protected at every touchpoint.

"For a platform like this to succeed we had to use a fast, almost instant, print and email file generation server. To achieve that speed, there had to be a single source of data and logic – something that could share the design resources across the channels flawlessly."
Aasif Bagdadi
VP Software Engineering at AutoPoint

Solution

AutoPoint built its portal and user interface in-house by integrating with XMPie’s PersonalEffect Enterprise Cross Media and the XMPie Email Service (XES). These XMPie solutions are powered by the core PersonalEffect architecture and featured all the critical specifications that AutoPoint needed.

An all-in-one solution for creating and launching integrated, personalized campaigns across every channel. It merges design, data and business logic from a central server to either the print output format of the user’s choice (such as PPML, PDF, PDF/VT and more) or a digital channel such as email or a webpage.

It includes the InDesign Server for harnessing InDesign’s advanced design capabilities, in addition to XMPie’s own composition engine.

It also provides fault tolerance and high availability for the solution which is mandatory for this scale of operation.

commercial-grade solution for email delivery and tracking. It has advanced personalization and segmentation capabilities, automation and analytics capabilities for users to develop their dynamic email content and delivery.

AutoPoint built its portal and user interface in-house by integrating with XMPie’s PersonalEffect Enterprise Cross Media and the XMPie Email Service (XES). These XMPie solutions are powered by the core PersonalEffect architecture and featured all the critical specifications that AutoPoint needed.

AutoPoint developed its own web portal, using XMPie’s APIs to integrate the system’s capabilities of content and production with its own internal systems and processes.

Because the same data and logic are used for both print and email, AutoPoint didn’t need to move data or logic between solutions or duplicate resource or effort. The print templates are created by AutoPoint designers with the uCreate Print plugin to Adobe InDesign. The email templates were created with the designer’s preferred tools using shared data and logic between both print and email channels.

The entire workflow is executed with lights-out automation and is scalable depending on the client’s requirements when the campaign is launched.

The two key campaign products that AutoPoint offers as part of its marketing platform include:

AutoPoint’s flagship product is the Customer Journey which keeps the dealer connected with customers at every step of their vehicle ownership lifecycle. This is an automatic trigger-based lifecycle marketing program that sends highly targeted communications to drivers based on where they are in their ownership lifecycle.

The Customer Journey is managed by the AutoPoint product management team and communicates across the entire customer journey beginning the moment the dealer sells a car to a customer. The Customer Journey begins by thanking a customer for his recent vehicle purchase. It then focuses on key transition points throughout the customer’s ownership cycle, including purchase to service conversion, service retention, service reactivation, and service to sales conversion, where the customer is buying his next car. The Journey is designed strategically with a communications cadence of messaging and offers across different channels to keep everyone on cycle.

XMPie PersonalEffect software is key to the fulfillment of this goal. The dealer can see the tracking results through their portal and amend their campaign accordingly.

 

This is a self-service online marketing application that allows dealers to send ad-hoc marketing campaigns that are customized, targeted, and fulfilled quickly and easily. Campaigns can be initiated and launched directly by the client.

Rather than a full lifecycle campaign, like the Customer Journey, in this case each dealer logs into her own tailor-made and brand-ready marketing portal where, like a true service portal, she can see the choice of ready-made templates displayed. She begins by selecting a campaign type (email or print) and template, before setting the budget, selecting any coupons, offers and pricing, defining DMS (Document Management System) criteria and order quantities before reviewing, scheduling and sending the order. This is all done by the client with no intervention by AutoPoint staff which speeds up the process considerably.

Although the same templates are used across the board for all the dealerships’ stores, each portal only displays the correct template version that is branded and customized for that particular dealership. This relevancy is controlled by PersonalEffect and the logic is built into the templates by the designers.

Through the On Demand’s user-friendly interface, marketing campaigns can be created, customized, and distributed in minimal time. Direct mail can be sent to customers within one business day, while email campaigns can be launched within hours of approval.

"Because of the XMPie APIs, and our own in-house programming expertise, we were able customize the platform exactly how we wanted it. Because XMPie has an open architecture, there’s really no limit to what we were able to do and what we’ll be able to do in the future."
Aasif Bagdadi
VP Software Engineering at AutoPoint

Results

Bringing the XMPie solution in-house, combined with AutoPoint’s experience with XMPie gave it much more control over the output than if it had needed to rely on one or more third party vendors. It also allows AutoPoint to be print-vendor agnostic and provide many different print fulfilment options to its customers.

Since the platform went live, AutoPoint has:

  • Decreased turnaround times. In 2010 New catalogs took 8-10 days and would need manual deployment. Immediately after moving to XMPie in 2015 each campaign took less than four hours to set up and were deployed automatically.
  • Reduced cost by eliminating the need for custom creative and data cleansing.

Lessons Learned

  1. Choosing a partner with a flexible API and scalable architecture is critical for the success of a robust, omni-channel marketing program. XMPie provided the necessary infrastructure for a multi-tenant SAS program.
  2. Solve the problems of today while planning for tomorrow. It is critical to choose a forward-thinking innovator.

Critical Success Factors

  1. XMPie’s robust and mature APIs were critical to building an automated system.
  2. XMPie integration provides AutoPoint with a single platform for autonomously deploying and executing effective cross channel campaigns without any intervention.
  3. The system was scalable to accommodate a growing number of clients and amount of customer data.
  4. The email service was integrated into the same platform as the print. Working with the XES system meant that there was no conversion needed or extra work to simultaneously deploy across both channels. The high performance of XES also allowed AutoPoint to send more volume of emails within a set period.
  5. XMPie supports the Adobe InDesign workflow from set-up through preview and composition, enabling faster on boarding of templates, with fewer steps in the design workflow. It also offers full graphics support and color management (where others are limited) so that brands can protect their brand identity for every touchpoint.

 

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