Trend Micro's Wilson Lau on Using SaaS Data Integration to Manage E-mail
Deploying 5 million e-mails a month to North American consumers would not only be difficult, it would be impossible without help from its software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, says anti-virus Internet security software company Trend Micro. In fact, using an SaaS approach helped Trend Micro create its e-mail strategy a couple years ago, says Wilson Lau, the online marketing manager for the Japanese company with a Cupertino, Calif., home base in the U.S.
A few months away from adopting a new product from San Bruno, Calif.-based Responsys, the on-demand e-mail and marketing automation solutions provider Trend Micro hired about five years ago, Lau explains why SaaS is a good fit for his company. (Trend Micro already uses Responsys Interact, the campaign management platform, and plans to add on the new product, Responsys Interact Connect, another data integration tool that will allow Trend Micro to manage more of its own data.)
Target Marketing: What measurable results has Trend Micro seen from using SaaS data integration during the past two years?
Wilson Lau: It's huge. ... Before we had done that integration, we didn't have any e-mail campaigns for consumers. ... If we wanted to launch an e-mail, we pretty much needed to manually pull the data and manually upload it to Responsys. And because of the volume of the consumer business, I don't know if it's technically possible to do it manually. And also, even if we can do that, send out an e-mail blast, we won't be able to do the timing and the data and subscription cycle-driven e-mail messages like we're doing today. ... We get new customers every day, and existing customers may renew the product so that their subscription ... will change. ...
TM: How does Trend Micro manage e-mail campaigns via the SaaS data integration tool?
WL: … All the campaigns make use of our customer data. And the customer data is initially created and maintained in our in-house database. So in the equation we created a couple years ago, [the SaaS tool] allows us to push the customer data and send updates to Responsys every day so that Responsys, inside the Interact platform ... has almost an exact copy of our customer data. And with the campaign, and with all the accessibility, like data analysis and [the] extraction tool within the Interact platform, we are able to slice and dice and pick up just one tiny piece of customer information that we need for each particular campaign. So that we can send out very targeted e-mail at a predecided schedule and time to the customers.
TM: How does the SaaS data integration tool allow Trend Micro to segment and target its audience?
WL: Right now, we target our e-mail campaigns and customer base on two major elements. One is the product, and the other is the subscription cycle and the expiration date. We send different messages to different customers. ... For renewals, it's all based on their subscription date, and we try to message them in a different way and at different frequencies, when they're getting close to the expiration. ... In the future, when we are planning to do more, say, customer surveys, or doing profiling surveys, or maybe if we would be able to acquire or purchase additional data, from another third party and data agencies, then with Interact Connect it would be a lot easier for us to bring that information together. ...
TM: As a marketer, what is the advantage for Trend Micro to use an SaaS data integration tool vs. keeping it in-house?
WL: The volume Responsys can handle. ... As a marketer, we need to be able to track the delivery rate, the respond-to-open rate or respond rate from the customer so that we can continuously fine-tune our program. That's another thing that Responsys, as a service provider, allows us to do without putting in a lot of infrastructure and initial investment cost. ...
TM: What percentage of Trend Micro's B-to-C business is generated by e-mail campaigns?
WL: Within the consumer online business ... about 20 [percent] to 30 percent ... [of the] e-commerce business is triggered by e-mail.