Business challenge

To help leading global brands drive customer engagement and acquisition, HelloWorld needs to share millions of personalized emails simultaneously. How could it boost the scalability of its service?

Transformation

HelloWorld uses IBM Watson Campaign Automation to build, run, and analyze the results of large-scale email campaigns—all without sending operational costs soaring.

Results

100%

availability enables HelloWorld to deliver consistent, high-quality client services

Sends millions

of emails simultaneously, creating headroom for future growth

Empowers

HelloWorld to add AI solutions rapidly via APIs, adding value to its services

Business challenge story

Targeting growth

Whether it’s welcoming a new customer to a loyalty program or reaching out to a prospect with an exciting new promotion, many brands rely on email to engage with their audiences. Since 1999, HelloWorld has specialized in delivering enterprise-class campaigns for some of the world’s best-known brands.

Lauren Pietersen, Director, Products and Partnerships at HelloWorld, A Merkle Company, begins: “Our goal is to help our clients nurture engaged, loyal customers. Digital marketing is a powerful way to inspire people to join the conversation, and we partner with clients across a wide range of industries, including retail, consumer packaged goods and automotive.”

Many of HelloWorld’s clients have millions of customers, and the company often drives campaigns at international scale. As its growth continued, HelloWorld realized it needed to increase the scalability and availability of its digital marketing communications platform.

“We were recently acquired by Merkle, which creates even more opportunities to engage with major new clients,” Pietersen explains. “Our previous email marketing provider was at times unable to handle our largest volumes, which can total millions of simultaneous email sends. As a result, we sometimes had to stagger our email sends over a 24-hour period—and in worst-case scenarios, even take down the service altogether.”

To create the headroom to expand the reach of its programs and to add new clients, HelloWorld decided to look for a new approach to digital marketing communications. The aim was to adopt a platform that could grow in step with the company’s ambitions, and with the rock-solid reliability to ensure HelloWorld could deliver its clients’ messages on time, every time.

Thanks to IBM Watson Campaign Automation, we’re reliably delivering millions of personalized messages on behalf of the world’s best brands.

Lauren Pietersen, Director, Products and Partnerships, HelloWorld

Transformation story

Enabling scalability

To achieve its digital marketing goals, HelloWorld selected IBM Watson Campaign Automation—an AI-powered solution delivered via the cloud.

“We initially started using IBM Watson Campaign Automation to deliver push messages for a mobile app we’d built for one of our clients,” Pietersen recalls. “Based on our positive experiences with IBM, we were keen to include the solution in our vendor evaluation for a new email marketing solution. IBM Watson Campaign Automation performed with flying colors. Not only did the platform offer practically unlimited scalability for high-volume campaigns, it also delivered these capabilities extremely cost-effectively.”

She continues: “We were certain from the start that we wanted a partner who understood how important email is to our business, and with IBM we knew we’d gain the responsive, high-quality support we’d targeted. And with a major brand like IBM powering our digital marketing services, we knew current and prospective Fortune 500 clients would have the confidence that we can deliver on our promise.”

Working together with IBM, HelloWorld integrated IBM Watson Campaign Automation into its campaign workflow. Today, the company feeds all content for its transactional emails into the IBM platform via application programing interfaces (APIs). For marketing communications and loyalty program emails, the company uses the IBM solution’s built-in personalization capabilities to shape messages that resonate with each recipient.

“We see that people react best to brands who communicate with them in a personal way, particularly when it comes to loyalty messages,” explains Pietersen. “We’ve been very impressed with the efficiency and reliability that the IBM solution has brought to our digital marketing process. Today, our sales and project managers no longer have to worry about the technical risks of running high-volume programs. Instead, they’re free to focus on high-value strategic work such as personalization and analytics.”

To measure the performance of its campaigns and report back to clients, HelloWorld created a reporting feed to pull millions of email events from IBM Watson Campaign Automation into the company’s analytics platform.

“Our analytics team really appreciates the granularity and timeliness of the data we receive from IBM Watson Campaign Automation,” Pietersen adds. “Data from the IBM solution is helping us enrich the insights we provide to our clients, which contributes to more productive, valuable conversations about marketing performance.”

Results story

Delivering on time, every time

With a highly reliable and scalable platform at the heart of the email marketing lifecycle, HelloWorld is creating the capacity it needs to continue to grow its business.

“In the past, we couldn’t guarantee that all the messages in our largest programs would go out at the same time—but now, that’s all changed,” says Pietersen. “With IBM Watson Campaign Automation, we have the confidence that we can share millions of emails simultaneously, day after day. We recently completed our largest ever campaign in terms of both traffic and volume, with over 11 million transactional emails delivered for a program that reached over 3 million people. In fact, in a single hour during this program, we served 306 million requests and over 19 TB of data, peaking at 19.8 thousand hits per second and a bandwidth of 10.5 Gb/s. Despite these massive volumes, we’ve never had any issues with the availability of the IBM platform—it’s always there when we need it.”

She adds: “Before we started working with IBM, our personalization teams would often spend hours in back-and-forth discussions to resolve technical issues with uploading email templates or dealing with large payloads. Today, all those issues have disappeared, which empowers us to focus on delivering the optimal results for our clients.”

Looking ahead, HelloWorld sees potential to augment its offerings with AI and machine learning solutions.

“Another great benefit of the IBM platform is the easy access we have to cutting-edge AI technologies like IBM Watson,” comments Pietersen. “In the future, we believe virtual assistants will play an important role in building deeper engagement with customers, and thanks to our partnership with IBM we’re ready to offer those capabilities to our customers.”

She concludes: “We have an ambitious growth strategy, and we never want to have to turn away a potential project because we don’t have an optimal solution. Thanks to IBM Watson Campaign Automation, we’re reliably delivering millions of personalized messages on behalf of the world’s best brands.”

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About HelloWorld, A Merkle Company

HelloWorld, A Merkle Company, is a digital marketing solutions company, building promotions, loyalty programs, and engagement strategies for the world’s leading brands. 

Take the next step

To learn more about IBM Watson Campaign Automation, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/digital-marketing-and-lead-management

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