How to integrate Pega Decision & Adobe Campaign (Other suppliers are available!)
Who am I to write this article?
Well, I have over 20 years’ experience with the Pega decision engine, from way back when it was KiQ and similar with marketing automation/campaign management solutions. I have run and implemented a few! My experience is not just as a technologist though, but also as a marketer using these tools.
I am currently leading the implementation of this configuration at a large UK bank, case study will follow very soon.
Why do you need both the Pega decision engine and Campaign Automation/Management?
Pega doesn’t do campaign automation/management. Despite calling the decision management module ‘Pega Marketing’, it is not what experienced campaign managers need to execute campaigns as you are not able to design multiple stages, multiple channel executions and tracking etc. (Pega would argue that this can be done with their process model tools, but that is not designed for the task.) As a close follower of Pega, it is clear to me that they are of the belief that simply sending decisions as outbound communications is sufficient and that outbound communication is not as productive as inbound decision management anyway – just my opinion! At the beginning when decision management was new and everything was going very well, it felt like this was true and many projects have had brilliant results. But the world has moved on a lot, and especially digitally.
It is all very well relying on inbound if you have sufficient inbound traffic (not just to your websites but to your contact centres as well), but if not how are you going to get new customers to engage with you? If you do have enough inbound traffic, how long will it be before you “burn out” the segment of customers that do contact you inbound? (It is about two years in my experience, and then your results will start to decline sharply.)
While the decision engine is brilliant at closing the deal when you have an engaged customer on the inbound, simply sending a decision to a customer outbound doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because on the inbound you have the customer’s attention and they are ready for the conversation. On the outbound you must nurture and engage your customer, meaning you have to be more creative to appeal to them.
Of course, you will get some results if you just send decisions outbound; some people will respond to a deal being sent to them directly and cold. But for most customers you must engage with them and then lead them on a journey from their needs towards your goal. To do that you need to understand the customer’s buying process and map that, rather than simply mapping your own sales process – mapping the customer journey should be about understanding and supporting their end-to-end buying process not simply those parts of the buying process when they happen to be buying from you. By mapping the actual customer journey you can start to engage them with a campaign management solution. This is why many companies using Pega are now also implementing Adobe Campaign and starting the process of integrating the two. (There are of course other campaign management tools available!)
What is still missing when you have both?
Those of you who have attempted to integrate Adobe with Pega have probably done this by using your decision strategies to batch a list of next-best-actions, simply treating the customer context as “if they turned up now what would we offer them” and then sending this list to your campaign management tool for the execution. You may have broken this down into smaller parts and executed just part of your decision strategies for specific campaigns/products. You have then probably integrated the Adobe tracking back into the decision history to “teach” the adaptive models about the customers’ behaviour and keep your contact history aligned. While challenging, that is all fine technically but what neither platform can do for you is to map your customers’ buying journey so that you can then build the right content to support that journey.
If we are to treat our audiences rationally then the only way to do this is to bring outbound and inbound together through content. After all, content is the means by which we engage customers whether it is an ad, an email, a blog post or a brochure. To maximise the use of Pega it should be informing next-best-content based on adaptive modelling on the customer content engagement behaviour. It can’t do this directly into Adobe, it needs context – i.e. content journeys to exist to do this. Adobe is then able to track digital engagement and nudge your audience forwards in ways that Pega can’t. Again, Adobe can’t do this directly, it also needs the content journeys mapped and the next-best-content path to be defined.
The glue that brings these two platforms together is customer engagement mapping. This is why my partners and I developed Odyssiant.
The larger question of Inbound & Outbound integration
We have always aimed to put the customer first, but technology can create silos that inhibit rather than support this cause. By joining Pega and Adobe appropriately we can remove the silos and put the customer first. We do this by putting the customer in the middle and starting with their un-met needs.