Business challenge

To foster loyalty and inspire broader customer engagement across its services, Deluxe aimed to increase the frequency and relevance of its digital communications.


Deluxe upgraded to IBM Campaign and IBM Marketing Operations version 11, helping it streamline internal processes, identify deeper insights into campaign performance and refine its digital outreach.



customer engagement through more relevant, timely messages


relationships and expands brand loyalty via more personalized digital campaigns


smarter campaign planning via faster, data-driven marketing insights

Business challenge story

Relevant communications drive engagement

Deluxe aims to empower small business owners with the services and marketing tools they need to thrive. With multiple brands covering a comprehensive range of solution areas, the company’s offerings include logo and web design and hosting, branded apparel, print marketing, retail packaging, payroll services and more.

Nate Maki, Lead Business Systems Analyst at Deluxe Corporation, begins: “As we’ve grown by acquisition, we’ve built up a portfolio of more than 20 brands focused on the needs of small business owners. Offering such a wide variety of services creates valuable opportunities to engage with prospects and to win new business from existing customers. We are always looking for innovative ways to deepen our customer relationships.”

The digital channel plays an important role in Deluxe’s customer engagement strategy. For many years, the company has relied on various IBM Watson Marketing solutions including IBM Campaign, IBM Watson™ Campaign Automation and IBM Marketing Operations to drive its marketing processes. In the past, the company managed campaigns for each of its brands separately. As well as making it difficult to ensure consistent campaign messaging, this siloed approach increased the risk of contact saturation for customers with subscriptions to multiple Deluxe services.

“We are now moving toward one brand voice for the whole of Deluxe, and to achieve that goal we need to unify our approach to marketing,” Maki continues. “Consolidating customer data across all our brands will enable us to identify each customer’s individual needs and preferences and to reach out to them with much more relevant and timely offers. To lay the foundation for this project, we wanted to take advantage of the latest segmentation, personalization and AI-powered capabilities of IBM Campaign by moving to version 11.”

Maki adds: “Customer privacy and their preferences are our top priority. As we implement our vision for customer data consolidation, we will use various mechanisms to ensure data remains private and is protected.”

IBM Watson Marketing solutions provide us with the insights we need to build more personalized campaigns, foster customer loyalty and inspire deeper engagement across Deluxe’s ever-expanding portfolio of business services.

Nate Maki, Lead Business Systems Analyst, Deluxe Corporation

Transformation story

Gaining deeper insight into customer preferences

To help accelerate the upgrade from IBM Campaign version 9 to version 11, Deluxe engaged IBM Business Partner HCL Technologies.

“IBM provided us with the resources we needed to drive a fast upgrade, offering us a straightforward route to the newest version with the latest innovations,” recalls Maki. “By working closely with HCL Technologies in our test environment, we quickly identified the necessary upgrade process modifications to complete the task. In our production environment, we moved from version 9.1 to version 11 with just one business day of downtime for our users.”

Today, Deluxe is taking advantage of tight integration between IBM Campaign and Watson Campaign Automation to drive digital campaign execution, template design and more. By harnessing IBM Universal Behavior Exchange to continually send campaign execution-related events from Watson Campaign Automation back to IBM Campaign, the marketing team can evaluate campaign and message performance immediately and quickly identify the necessary changes to maximize results.

“The integration between IBM Campaign and Watson Campaign Automation is six-times faster than before,” adds Maki. “We can rapidly move large segments into Watson Campaign Automation to execute campaigns with virtually no delay, and on the back-end, we can receive fresh campaign data every five minutes. Without a doubt, upgrading our IBM Watson Marketing solutions has allowed us to be more responsive in our marketing programs, which is contributing to more effective nurture campaigns.”

Behind the scenes, Deluxe continues to rely on IBM Marketing Operations to support its agile campaign workflows. In parallel with the IBM Campaign upgrade, the company decided to move to IBM Marketing Operations version 11.

“IBM Marketing Operations empowers us to plan and allocate our resources and budgets effectively,” comments Maki. “We’re now live with IBM Marketing Operations version 11, and we’re keen to start exploring the new collaboration capabilities it offers us.”

Results story

Moving toward one-to-one marketing

Today, Deluxe has the future-ready marketing planning, design and execution platform it needs to realize improved campaign responsiveness and boost the impact of each customer interaction and communication.

Maki comments: “In the past, it was difficult to share anniversary messages with customers on the exact day of the month the anniversary occurred. Today, we have the granularity to send these messages to the appropriate customers on a daily basis, ensuring that the content is more personal and timely.”

Looking to the future, Deluxe plans to incorporate more granular web analytics data into its campaign process. The aim is to use online customer behavior to build even more fine-grained segments to capture and address each recipient’s unique, current needs.

“Gathering customer behavioral and preference data in one place will be key to achieving our business goals,” adds Maki. “In addition to readily identifying which of our services are most relevant to each customer, this approach will empower us to reach them on their preferred channel—whether it’s email, SMS or direct mail. We will also incorporate contact optimization rules to more easily control the number of emails a customer will receive in a set period—helping us avoid over-contacting customers who subscribe to multiple brands.”

Deluxe sees great potential in using machine-learning capabilities to augment its approach to customer analytics, modeling and segmentation. The company is currently deploying Watson Assistant for Marketing, an AI-powered capability that enables marketers to ask questions about their campaigns in natural language and receive insightful answers.

“Our journey with Watson Assistant for Marketing is just getting started,” continues Maki. “When the solution is live, we aim to save our campaign owners considerable time in their day-to-day tasks while surfacing valuable insights into the way we segment our customers and how our offers are performing.”

Maki concludes: “As we move toward a single brand voice across the entire organization, our digital channels will play an even more important role in our marketing mix. IBM Watson Marketing solutions provide us with the insights we need to build more personalized campaigns, foster customer loyalty and inspire deeper engagement across Deluxe’s ever-expanding portfolio of business services.”

Deluxe Corporation logo

Deluxe Corporation

Headquartered in Shoreview, Minnesota, Deluxe Corporation supports small businesses and financial institutions across the US and Canada  with marketing services, financial services and direct-to-consumer checks. With 4.5 million active small business customers and over 5,100 financial institution clients, Deluxe is rapidly expanding into Europe and South America through its Hostopia acquisition and e-commerce channels.

Take the next step

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Headquartered in Noida, India, HCL Technologies is a next-generation global technology company that helps enterprises reimagine their businesses for the digital age. With technology products, services, and engineering built on four decades of innovation, HCL Technologies operates across 39 countries and serves leading enterprises across key industries, including 250 of the Fortune 500 and 650 of the Global 2000. To learn more, please visit:

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