Innovative Digital Marketing in the Cloud

The Client

Boston-based ClickSquared is a global provider of cross-channel cloud marketing software and services.

The Challenge

With innovative offerings ranging from self-service campaign management and email to fully managed customer engagement and loyalty programs, ClickSquared’s pioneering Cross-Channel Marketing Hub enables marketers to orchestrate and deliver analytics-driven, relevant and personalized customer communications across email, direct mail, social, survey, mobile and web channels.

An effective marketing campaign management system needs to have the ability to identify and select target audiences; assign correct offers/treatments; define attributes for personalization; perform elementary analytics; execute, track and report each campaign; manage customer contact history; and finally, develop business rules — all without the need for programming.

Moreover, a successful platform will need to have an extremely easy to use and intuitive interface geared towards non-technical marketing professionals to facilitate adoption and ensure a short learning curve. The new generation of ClickSquared’s pioneering cross-channel cloud solution christened “The Hub” incorporates all these features in a winning combination.

In order to bring The Hub to market in the desired timeframe, ClickSquared realized they needed to quickly expand the R&D team with a provider that had a deep understanding of the subject matter. First Line was selected as
ClickSquared’s development partner in December 2010.

First Line's Solution

First Line’s the US-based development team was responsible for the implementation of some of the key components of the core platform. The new solution incorporates the following functionality:

  • Better customer insight through consolidation of all customer data into a single, multi-dimensional marketing data mart
  • Cross-channel orchestration (i.e. direct mail, e-mail, SMS, social media, etc.) enabled via one interface, based on a common set of business rules
  • Analytics-driven campaign creation, leveraging built-in segmentation and modeling tools
  • Ad hoc customer analysis and data visualization tools powered by a business intelligence engine (allowing marketers to “slice and dice” campaign-performance data in order to understand the key factors that drive campaign success — or the lack thereof )
  • Automated, cross-channel, multi-wave campaigns (allowing the results of the first campaign to automatically guide or select the subsequent marketing treatments)
  • Management of campaign execution lifecycle: a web service for robust management (execution, pausing, sopping, resuming, and cancellation) of marketing campaigns
  • Table catalog (client metadata): Data mapping abstraction implemented via the mapping process that produces a logical map of the physical data source with specific access rights and additional business logic considerations Graph manager that creates and manages execution graphs for client access (asynchronous execution of request with optimization for possible parallel execution)

In the process of developing the new platform, First Line’s experts have overcome some non-trivial technical challenges, including:

Results

Although the development is still ongoing, and the product is being continually enhanced further, the new version of the platform incorporating many new features was successfully deployed for the first select clients in the fall of 2011. ClickSquared started migrating customers to the new platform in 2012.

Technologies

C#, MS Silverlight, WWF, WCF, ADO.NET Entity Framework, Telerik, IBM Netezza

Project statistics

Team size: 13

Total effort: over 150 person-months

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