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The rise of the cloud has been transformational for modern business, making it possible for brands of all sizes to build and grow their digital operations effectively at a global scale. And as one of the major players in the cloud computing space, it’s important for IBM to build and maintain strong relationships with the businesses and other organizations who use the more than 150 products and services that make up its IBM Cloud suite.

The rise of the cloud has been transformational for modern business, making it possible for brands of all sizes to build and grow their digital operations effectively at a global scale. And as one of the major players in the cloud computing space, it’s important for IBM to build and maintain strong relationships with the businesses and other organizations who use the more than 150 products and services that make up its IBM Cloud suite.

In order to serve up brilliant experiences through their audience’s customer journey, IBM needed a built-for-purpose marketing technology stack that could support data agility, in-depth analysis, and the ability to take timely, effective action on customer insights. To make that vision a reality, they turned to Braze and Braze Alloys technology partners Amplitude and Segment.

The Brilliant User Journey: Nurturing IBM Cloud Users Throughout Their Lifecycle

Every IBM Cloud user has their own unique journey with the suite—and it’s important to IBM that they deliver assistance and value throughout that journey in a seamless, automated manner. That process begins with educational onboarding outreach, continues with messaging based around key engagement milestones like account setup, and includes targeted win-back campaigns for users who start to engage less often.

While IBM has long had rich, behavioral data about their users and how they’re engaging and converting in connection with the IBM Cloud, disconnected systems complicated efforts to take that data and use it to inform effective, relevant lifecycle messaging campaigns. But by using Braze in concert with Segment and Amplitude, IBM has been able to create an interactive data feedback loop that supports deeper customer insights and more effective messaging.

To ensure that they’re reaching users effectively throughout the lifecycle, IBM leverages the Braze platform’s support for coordinated cross-channel messaging and key user data insights piped in from Segment to send targeted emails and in-app messages designed to help today’s new customers grow into tomorrow’s power users. And because IBM is able to seamlessly export campaign and Braze Canvas data from the Braze platform into Amplitude for in-depth analysis, they’ve been able to create comprehensive dashboards providing insights into key KPIs and conversion rates, including:

  • Milestone conversion rate as comparison to a control group who received no educational messaging
  • The marginal impact of a Braze Canvas
  • Revenue generated by the IBM Cloud onboarding experience

“Building the cohorts that matter and then leveraging segmentation for ‘it’s so accurate, it’s freaky!” messaging makes our work so much more memorable...We can get the right messages, reminders, and code in front of [users] so they can continue to [demonstrate] their equity,” says Neetika Bhargava, Customer Marketing Manager at IBM. “Today smarter, tomorrow sooner...That’s the kind of attitude we try to bring to the table, with the vehicle being the terrific three: Braze, Amplitude, and Segment.

A Mutual Exchange of Value: What Success Looks Like

For IBM, a healthy customer relationship is one built on shared success. And IBM has found that if you want to grow your business, it’s essential that you first build a brand/customer connection that provides mutual exchange of value between your business and your customers. To ensure they’re accomplishing their goals, IBM measures success on 7 key areas of focus:

  • Engagement
  • Retention
  • Advocacy
  • Expansion
  • Churn prevention
  • Satisfaction
  • Customer delight

When it comes to moving the needle, targeted lifecycle marketing using Braze is an essential part of their strategy. As part of their nurture programs IBM sets up conversion events around key user actions—for instance, “Viewed [X] Page,” “Created New Service,” “Created Object,” or “Has Rated Usage > $0 USD.” By using emails powered by Braze, IBM has been able to drive 7% higher conversion rates among message recipients, compared to users who received no emails, and ensure that 64% of the users in their largest PayGo flow perform at least one of their top four conversion events.

IBM also leverages data on each user’s billable actions to automatically move them between segmented “Power User” and “Lapsing User” messaging streams, allowing their marketing outreach to speak to each recipient in a more relevant, personalized way. By creating fully automated emails with Braze, they’re able to ensure that the moment a user “Creates a New Service w/ Watson Assistant” or “Has Monthly Rated Usage > $0 USD,” they’ll receive a relevant triggered message designed to nudge deeper engagement with the IBM Cloud’s suite of services.

The use of Braze, Segment, and Amplitude in tandem has democratized data access and made it possible for IBM to vet and assess a number of longstanding hunches. For instance, IBM was about to build a cohort of users in Amplitude, triangulate what strings of behaviors indicated were associated with an abandoned cart, then leverage those insights in Braze to effectively target users in that group who failed to complete an order. This campaign successfully drove cart revivals in connection with one of their most lucrative businesses, with one lifecycle email flow boosting conversions by 5x compared to a control group who received no messages and driving $800,000 in annual recurring revenue.

Final Thoughts

Insights are essential—but they can’t reach their full potential if you don’t have the ability to take action on them. By allowing IBM to assess conversation rates, product adoption, and billable usage in connection with the IBM Cloud and related services like Watson, Kubernetes, and Cloudant, and then leverage that information to drive smarter, more effective lifecycle marketing campaigns, Braze, Segment, and Amplitude are supporting data-driven marketing, stronger user loyalty, and higher revenue. When it comes to what’s possible, the cloud’s the limit.