Oxyma supports Kluwer Law with improving its client segmentation

22 June 2017 Consultancy.uk 11 min. read
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Improving client understanding and targeting is becoming increasingly important for organisations. In a bid to enhance its client segmentation approach, Kluwer Law, the legal wing of information services company Wolters Kluwer, tapped in the expertise of Oxyma, a Netherlands based specialist in marketing en omni-channel werken. Joyce Rivers, Director of International Marketing at Kluwer Law, reflects on the her experiences in developing a segmentation model for her clients and on the cooperation with the consultancy firm.

What was the question you asked Oxyma; what was the problem you wanted to solve?

At our company, a go-to-market center of excellence was started 2 years ago, within our division (legal & regulatory). The purpose of this center is to achieve more efficiency and efficacy in sales and marketing. Everything needs to be more aligned, for example, which software is used worldwide. The operation in the Netherlands was taken as the framework for all the other countries and developed into a playbook for, e.g. lead-generation and campaign management. Each country does an assessment first. Based on this, we identify gaps and then create a step-by-step plan. For us, one of the steps was to create a central marketing database. In addition, we had to answer the question of how we would use this data to conduct fact-based and focused campaigns. One of our actions was the application of segmentation, which enabled us to reach clients much more effectively; not just for marketing, but also for sales. 

Within the framework of Wolters Kluwer, you need to obtain certificates as a country/organisation. These certificates impose certain requirements on your operation and in this way help to move marketing and sales to a higher plan worldwide. In this case, our main goals were the bronze status, approaching clients more effectively and more efficiently and earning money fast(er). Another factor was that we recently changed to a new sales organisation. There was no coherence before. Sales was doing their thing, and so was marketing. A customer was sometimes approached several times a week, and when that happens, you have an unhappy client. A secondary goal for us was therefore increased customer-satisfaction.

Kluwer Law taps Oxyma to support the improvement of its client segmentation

How did you choose Oxyma; what determined your choice?

We had to decide whether we wanted to enter into this process with the party that created the database for us, or with a party that could tackle the segmentation question. Through Wolters Kluwer Nederland, we were introduced to Oxyma. They had been working with them for some time. We immediately clicked with Oxyma; they gave us many examples and the sense that they could help us not just with the segmentation, but also with generating insights and translating this into fact-based campaigns for marketing and our internal and external sales.

Did you have very specific objectives in this?

Yes, and we discussed these with Oxyma in advance. What did we want to accomplish? The final goal was to organise the clients, segments and purchasing behaviour. And, of course, our bronze certificate, which we would be able to safeguard through this.

How did you start your project?

The framework within which the go-to-market center of excellence was developed for the segmentation model, provided us with a lot of direction. The Oxyma team had familiarised itself with the framework and the documentation about the data model. In a kick-off session, they interviewed our sales and marketing people to get a clear understanding of our market. With books, loose-leaf systems, subscriptions, online products and a global scope, this market is complex. Oxyma translated our business into the framework we used at Wolters Kluwer and converted this framework to fit our business. Before this, we had already clarified the objective, with the team of Oxyma, our sales director and myself, so we were very clear on what exactly we wanted.

The segmentation process started with the delivery of the data and agreements about what we would analyse within that data. 

We had some polluted data, which needed to be cleaned up. We initially decided to look at the associations. We look at characteristics, such as how many products do customer buy, where do they come from, etc. Oxyma’s market analysts worked with this data, along with our database marketer. At the same time, our sales director and I had already figured out what the different servicing concepts should be for the segments.

Using this information, Oxyma did some tests to see if these segments were possible. This happened surprisingly fast; I had never experienced that. Within one month after Oxyma had started, they could already tell, in concept, which segments we should focus on to get the fastest profit. This confirmed a number of assumptions we already had and also taught us a lot of new things about our customers. Now it is easy for us to develop a plan: how are we going to approach these people through marketing and sales? How do they align with each other? After all, you want to create a full-circle approach. Just like other companies, we have healthy tension. Marketing is always conducting commercial actions; sales is a lot about the relationship with the customer. This relationship must not be disturbed by marketing actions and the two must be in alignment with each other. That was one of the reasons we wanted to outsource this.

Quote Joyce Rivers, Director International Marketing - Kluwer Law

What have the results been, so far?

Joyce believes that people still think primarily in terms of the product. With the segmentation model, you are forced to think from the point of the view of the customer. We also used this to show colleagues that we sell a lot more than just subscription products, for example, books. When you add this to what you are offering the current customer, this helps the upsell options. For example, you can offer people who buy only books an upsell for an online product. We have now made this much more comprehensible. And we have a much better picture of what the customer needs, instead of just pushing products. You can show what is of interest to the customer. 

Using the segmentation model in practice.

So far, we have been happy with the segmentation model; it is much more efficient than the way we used to work. In the past, our entire marketing database was outsourced, so when you asked for a list selection, you would get literally everything. Now we can target customers much more specifically. If you have a book for professionals, you select only professionals in a particular segment. Then you can also apply the right language for the customer. Between sales and marketing, this is what we are working on. A professor, for example, will use our content in a different way than a lawyer would and so we have to make adjustments for this in our messaging. That is how you prevent people not reading their emails, because they are not related to their needs. This segmentation model also changed our entire way of thinking in terms of sales and marketing. The customer comes first, and the product next, instead of product first and then see how we can sell it. The customers are also noticing that the emails are much more personal and are directed to them. 

What are your next steps?

The next step is to further expand the model with a lot more data, for example, with online user behaviour around our products. In addition, we are working on good integration of our marketing automation and sales systems. As part of our marketing actions, we are also developing our customer contact strategy. Certain customers should not be approached too often; we’re also looking at the customer’s online behaviour. Corporates, for example, are very difficult to reach by email; we need to look for that contact offline. All this has to be brought together into one overview.

Wolters Kluwer Nederland also has a very good segmentation model and currently holds the silver status. We should also be able to have silver status by the end of next year, because we are now able to shift gears much faster with Oxyma. 

Has your customer demand for a clear segmentation model been answered?

Yes, absolutely! We didn’t give it too many guidelines and let Oxyma have free rein. We had some servicing concepts, but we also asked them for their opinion on those, so they were evaluated in the process. 

The new client segmentation model is more efficient and effective than how we worked previously

How did you personally benefit from the model?

With this segmentation model, we had to go for bronze this year. This was my goal for 2016 already. There are still a lot of companies within WK that have not yet achieved this, so I’m very proud of it. And proud of the company, because this is something we accomplished through sales and marketing. This could be a great next step for other countries. It is shared. We took time to observe Wolters Kluwer NL and now we invite other countries to look at what we have done. I hope our segmentation model is picked up by other countries and, so far, it is being shared throughout the Wolters Kluwer organisation.

How could other countries benefit from this model?

Every country has its own way of doing things. But if we can learn from other divisions, they could learn from us too. Within the sales organisation, we don’t have a lot of staff, so a lot depends on the marketing actions and campaigns being conducted. I see that, within other divisions too, people are looking at how to make it even more efficient and maybe they can look at us for that, because they could do the same thing with the help of the model and Oxyma’s approach. Within Wolters Kluwer, they are looking for best practices. Other countries will pick up something from several good ideas and make it into something that works for them. It works for us, so why not for them?

Did you encounter any obstacles during the process?

The only problem we have is with our data quality. Sometimes this makes a bit of extra work, but this is something we’ve been dealing with from the beginning. That taught us a lot, however. We didn’t even know exactly what some of the product groups in the database were, for example. 

Are you satisfied with Oxyma’s services?

Our satisfaction has a lot to do with the people at Oxyma. They made us feel very comfortable and we trusted them, because we knew that they are the experts. This trust was great to have. After the data transfer, I had no doubt they would deliver it properly. The interim updates also helped with the satisfaction; both sides knew the other one was on the right track. I very much enjoyed working with Oxyma, virtually from the moment I approached them. The proposal, the collaboration, the plan; everything ran very smoothly. We were served expertly, including through their own initiatives. Oxyma is the expert that guides us in the steps we want to take within our data and customer contact strategy. For any other projects like this, I would definitely go to Oxyma again, because of the great collaboration and good results.