Business Challenge

To reach bold growth targets, OTTO aims to win shopper loyalty by providing highly targeted offers. Fragmented data and systems made this process slow and costly—threatening to derail the firm’s plan.


OTTO deployed a solution for targeted, multi-channel campaign management, enabling it to manage every step of the marketing processes and see the cost and return of each campaign.


Boosts sales

by pinpointing the best offer, time and delivery channel for each customer

Gives insight

into which campaigns yield top returns, increasing marketing effectiveness


the firm’s competitive edge by cutting the time-to-market and cost of campaigns

Business Challenge Story

Tailor marketing for fast growth

OTTO is a company with ambitious expansion plans. Having grown from a mail order business into Germany’s leading online fashion and lifestyle retailer, the firm now has set its sights on continuous and substantial revenue growth.

To achieve the objective, the company cannot rely exclusively on recruiting new customers. Instead, it is targeting increases in customer loyalty and repeat purchases. But as shoppers have more options of how, when and where they purchase, OTTO knew it was essential to differentiate itself from other retailers.

Dr. Gottwald, Head of Customer Engagement and Format Management at OTTO, takes up the story: “We wanted to enhance the customer experience by delivering offers relevant to individual needs and preferences. But an obstacle was blocking our path: customer and marketing data was scattered across multiple parts of the business—making it difficult to understand the effectiveness of each campaign, and which offers entice which shoppers. Moreover, relying on spreadsheets and emails made campaign management time-consuming, expensive and error-prone.

“To prevent rising costs that would eat into profit margins, we set out to find a solution that could help us to better organize our marketing activities and reduce time-to-market for campaigns.”

Our IBM solutions are putting us on track to boost the effectiveness of our multi-channel marketing.

Dr. Gottwald, Head of Customer Engagement and Format Management, OTTO

Transformation Story

Adopting streamlined, targeted marketing

Joining forces with IBM and IBM Business Partner b.telligent, OTTO deployed IBM® Campaign, a sophisticated solution that enables rapid design and delivery of personalized marketing messages across all channels. Next, the company implemented IBM Marketing Operations, a unified platform for collaborative marketing management that tracks budgets, costs and returns of each campaign.

“The IBM solutions weren’t just technically excellent—they had clearly been designed with the needs of a large marketing function like ours in mind,” explains Dr. Gottwald. “From previous projects, we knew that b.telligent were extremely competent and reliable. They worked closely with us for over a year to complete the implementation and train our staff on how to use the new solutions.”

Using IBM Marketing Operations, OTTO established clear, automated and streamlined processes for its catalog, website, telephone, email and field marketing. By centralizing customer and marketing data, OTTO gained a clear view of budgets, costs and returns of each campaign.

“Users in the customer selection department value IBM Campaign as an extremely useful tool to increase the automation of campaigns,” adds Dr. Gottwald. “Templates and macros helped us to standardize proceedings and implement them more safely than would be possible with laborious manual programming.”

Results Story

Delighting customers with personalized offers

With the new solutions in place, OTTO can tailor its marketing messages to suit each shopper’s individual needs and preferences.

“As we transfer more data into IBM Campaign, we are developing a much clearer picture of the best way to reach each customer,” remarks Dr. Gottwald. “By understanding which offers appeal to which customers, and choosing the right timing and delivery channel, we can provide a superior shopping experience.

“We have also launched event-triggered campaigns such as birthday and shopping cart abandonment campaigns, which we could not run before. For example, if customers add items to their online basket but terminate their session before purchasing, we remind them about the goods four days later. These services encourage customers to shop with us, and help us grow revenues.

He adds: “We can now see the ROI on each campaign, and use this insight to form our future strategy.”

Streamlined processes and automation have dramatically accelerated time-to-market for new campaigns. By reducing manual work, OTTO can run far more campaigns than even before—without increasing headcount. And looking to the future, OTTO plans to further intensify the use of IBM solutions.

Dr. Gottwald concludes: “Enterprises as large as ours need efficient, scalable marketing processes—that’s exactly what the IBM solutions allow us to achieve. As a result, we expect huge time and cost savings and massive improvements to the effectiveness of our multi-channel marketing in the months and years to come.”

OTTO logo


Founded in 1949, OTTO is Germany’s largest online retailer for fashion and lifestyle, selling over 2.1 million items online each year. The company employs approximately 4,350 people and is headquartered in Hamburg.

Solution Components

  • Marketing Platforms: Campaign Management
  • Marketing Platforms: Marketing Operations.
  • Retail: Digital Experience

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