Gauging customer sentiment: LexisNexis’ content marketing and automation journey

Deploying marketing automation and a content marketing strategy is lifting customer engagement rates and generating plenty of surprising data for the global publishing giant

Content marketing is on the tip of most marketers’ tongues right now, but it wasn’t until a decision to implement a marketing automation solution that the team at LexisNexis understood why.

LexisNexis is a global content publishing company specialising in products and services for the legal and financial services markets. Its products range from printed books to online resource portals and research platforms, workflow and back-office solutions.

Customer experience manager and former marketing and communications manager for LexisNexis Pacific, Kerry McGregor, (pictured) told CMO its centralised marketing team was historically limited to “product pushing”, restricted by a manual email blasting tool.

Globally, the company had started looking at how to deliver campaigns and customer communication more effectively. Rather than wait for head office to roll something out, however, the Australian business opted to invest in an automated marketing platform.

“Marketing had to change the way it was conversing with the customer. The impetus was to have better and higher quality conversations with the customer, and at the right time,” McGregor said. “We wanted to change the customer experience and by automating, allow for greater efficiencies in doing so.”

Following a market evaluation process, LexisNexis chose Eloqua’s marketing automation platform. McGregor highlighted Eloqua’s flexibility, along with strong systems integration, reporting, event-based marketing and lead generation, as key reasons. Its global presence and support, and the capabilities of local implementation consultancy partner, Sqware Peg, were also a plus.

“We wanted to be able track and manage all the [customer] touch points, which we couldn’t do before,” McGregor said. “Everything had been running separately – PR, campaigns, social – and having a marketing automation suite allowed us to integrate these elements. We also wanted a way customers could trigger conversations with us, and include social as well.”

One of the immediate benefits of marketing automation was tracking things from a behavioural point of view. “Before we couldn’t understand the signals customers were sending us because we weren’t across that data, and we also weren’t looking for them,” McGregor said.

“We couldn’t even work out what type of communication was effective, and who would become a warmer lead. We had been shooting in the dark and didn’t have the data that showed how they were interacting with us. Eloqua solved that with the depth of reporting available.”

This reporting functionality allows marketing to share its insights across the business, as well as better support the sales team to understand what and when to talk to the customer and prospects.

But McGregor is quick to point out marketing automation is a tool, and that it’s the customer engagement strategy that leads to success. For LexisNexis, the learning curve proved to be embracing content marketing.

“There was no point in doing things in the same way as previously with our old system, so our success depended on understanding the benefits of content and value-added information, rather than asking people if they wanted to buy our products,” she said.

As a company, LexisNexis had access to a lot of content from customers for free. Various solution lines started actively pursuing content marketing programs, and investing heavily in creating content based on customer insights.

“It got people thinking about content as a good internal promotion tool as well as external one,” McGregor said. “People realised without content, all we have is asking for the sale. Customers have demonstrated clearly that they are happier to talk to us if we are not simply asking for money and gone beyond the transactional way of selling and talking to them.

“This also elevates us more as experts and gives us a way of showcasing our capabilities as a publisher in the industries we serve.”

RELATED: Marketing predictions 2014: Targeted and more effective content marketing
7 CMOs share their content marketing dos and don’ts
LÓreal goes back to the future with content marketing agenda

The Eloqua implementation kicked off in February last year and was initially based on two flagship product campaigns. “Seeing the success of these campaigns was a shot in the arm for all of us in marketing,” McGregor said.

“That was when everyone realised this way of working actually works. People became real advocates not just of marketing automation, but content marketing and deliver superior customer service.”

We could see the customers engaged right down the marketing flow. People started trusting more in what was coming through and engaging more with us and our content.

Radically improved customer engagement was the result. Previously, email open and click through rates sat at 20 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. By leading with tailored and engaging content, using marketing automation to trigger a multi-step approach based on behaviours and different stages of the customer cycle, campaign averages rose to 28 per cent and 4 per cent, McGregor said. In some solution lines, email opening rates hit 50 per cent.

“We could see the customers engaged right down the marketing flow,” she said. “People started trusting more in what was coming through and engaging more with us and our content.

“We tend to take customers to trial first, and we started to see a large shift in engagement rates there. People were also taking trials in products they had never trialled before or were expected to be interested in.”

McGregor also cited more downloads of content, case studies and whitepapers. “This change has triggered better communications, better calls to action, and allowed us to be in a conversation, not just selling,” she added. “Customers are opening more, doing more, and staying with us for longer.”

The next phase

One year on, LexisNexis is now exploring lead scoring functionality and further process and operational improvements. At present, the team is using basic lead scoring model to track touch points and customer segments including its website, but McGregor said integrating Eloqua with its CRM platform is vital in improving its lead nurturing capabilities. A delayed global CRM upgrade project put a temporary hold on these plans, but she expected integration to become a reality in 2014.

Expanding content from a campaign tool to longer-term brand contributor is another critical step. “We have been using content marketing in a very limited sense so far for campaigns, but we haven’t properly explored it as a retention tool for those leads that don’t go anywhere when we give them over from a campaign,” McGregor said.

The most notable sign of the marketing automation deployment’s success is LexisNexis’ proposal to take Eloqua global. Besides Australia, the platform is also already used to manage subscription offers by its Philippines team. “It’s been exciting to be able to share with our overseas colleagues just what we have been able to achieve,” McGregor said.

Yet she admitted LexisNexis still has a long way to go to maximise the comprehensive capabilities available in Eloqua. “Before we had some information, but not at a behavioural or content level,” McGregor said. “One of the big surprises for us was the depth we could plumb. We’ve not leveraged data effectively before or had the insights before.

“Some segments behave in ways that are unexpected – barristers for example behaving in the same ways as sole practitioners. We could also see for the first time how often we touched decision makers versus influencers in a holistic way.

“Now all of this data and insight is being fed back into product development and various other teams to better inform what they do.”

This article originally appeared in CMO's first magazine edition in March 2014. To subscribe to your free copy of our exciting new print title, visit: cmo.com.au/subscribe.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Hey there! Very interesting article, thank you for your input! I found particularly interesting the part where you mentioned that certain...

Martin Valovič

Companies don’t have policies to disrupt traditional business models: Forrester’s McQuivey

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

The biggest concern is the lack of awareness among marketers and the most important thing is the transparency and consent.

Joe Hawks

Data privacy 2021: What should be front and centre for the CMO right now

Read more

Thanks for giving these awesome suggestions. It's very in-depth and informative!sell property online

Joe Hawks

The new rules of Millennial marketing in 2021

Read more

In these tough times finding an earning opportunity that can be weaved into your lifestyle is hard. Doordash fits the bill nicely until y...

Fred Lawrence

DoorDash launches in Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Highlights of 2020 deliver necessity for Circular Economies

The lessons emerging from a year like 2020 are what make the highlights, not necessarily what we gained. One of these is renewed emphasis on sustainability, and by this, I mean complete circular sustainability.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Have customers really changed?

The past 12 months have been a confronting time for marketers, with each week seemingly bringing a new challenge. Some of the more notable impacts have been customer-centric, driven by shifting priorities, new consumption habits and expectation transfer.

Emilie Tan

Marketing strategist, Alpha Digital

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

ABM has been the buzzword in digital marketing for a while now, but I feel many companies are yet to really harness its power. The most important elements of ABM are to: Identify the right accounts; listen to these tracked accounts; and hyper-personalise your content to these accounts to truly engage them. It’s this third step where most companies struggle.

Joana Inch

Co-founder and head of digital, Hat Media Australia

Sign in