How Reuters revved up ROI and funnel optimization by building a Demand Generation engine

Chuck Leddy

Founded in 1851, UK-based Reuters is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide each day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, global media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers. 

Brief overview: A disjointed Demand Gen infrastructure

The media company had a fractured demand generation digital infrastructure when a large part of its business was “spun out” to become Refinitiv. To plan and execute campaigns, Reuters required time-consuming, error-prone manual operations, and struggled to track campaign performance and gain full visibility into its customers’ journey. 

Reuters had 10 different websites and 120 forms. Every time Reuters had an email campaign, for example, it had to build a new audience (email list) manually from scratch by pulling email addresses from disjointed systems and loading spreadsheets into Eloqua. Moreover, there wasn’t a single strategy and plan that addressed the multiple stages of the buying journey, let alone alignment with sales. 

When Juan Mejia arrived as Director of Demand Generation in February, 2020, Reuters’ goal was the transformation of its disjointed infrastructure - integrating its digital assets, unifying its website, and connecting all customer data to its Salesforce CRM and Eloqua MAP. Ultimately, Mejia and his team completed the project in about 6 months, during a global pandemic, and in a remote work environment. 

Reuters’ digital transformation strategy

Because a large part of Reuters’ business was being “spun out” into an independent entity (Refinitiv), almost everything on the demand gen side needed to be rebuilt and reconfigured. Reuters’ infrastructure was disjointed, lacking the integration required to provide either a unified vision of the customer journey or alignment with Sales. 

“We had no visibility into our customer’s journey across the funnel and we couldn't measure anything,” said Mejia. All the measures Reuters used were isolated within different channels and disconnected systems. “We’d send out a campaign and since our 10 websites with their 120 different forms and our various social media assets had isolated metrics, we couldn't connect the dots to determine how many marketing qualified leads (MQLs) we were generating or where those leads were coming from or what content might have driven them.” The strategy was to ultimately create an always-on program. 

In the beginning of 2020, Reuters was restructuring their marketing team and created a new team for Demand Generation. As part of that process, they carried out an assessment with an external consulting company that allowed the new Director of Demand Generation to decide how to help shape the infrastructure. As can be seen in the chart below, the starting point was at a very basic level. 

Image 1: Demand Creation Functional Maturity analysis by Inverta

 

Objectives of transformation

The objective was to create and deliver an end-to-end always on digital demand generation strategy. One that drove incremental marketing impacted revenue for the business using all digital channels and stages of the customer journey. Reuters also worked on sales and marketing alignment by defining a new integrated marketing and sales funnel. This would allow the teams to better understand performance across the entire process.

Ultimately, Reuters needed to transform its disjointed demand gen infrastructure into an integrated demand generation engine supported by its Eloqua MAP connected to its Salesforce CRM. The team also needed to integrate all the other systems and platforms involved, including: website, paid media, online events, interactive content and more. Reuters simply had too many manual operations for launching campaigns.

The objectives included unifying Reuters’ 10 websites into one, enabling it to collect all customer data in both CRM and MAP as “a single source of truth” to enable campaign planning, execution, and reporting/attribution. Reuters also had to standardize its customer tracking and reporting, allowing it to continuously monitor and improve demand generation efforts.

“We created an Always On program that aligned to the stages of the buying journey for each of our products including: email, website, social media assets, paid search - all of which were consolidated and connected to our Salesforce CRM and Eloqua MAP,” said Mejia.

Working with Sojourn Solutions, the Reuters team integrated and standardized/harmonized its assets and infrastructure, gaining a unified view of its customers across channels (omnichannel visibility), as well as automating its campaigns. Reuters could measure channel effectiveness and boost ROI (for example, evaluating the efficiency of paid search). 

Results

Reuters built an integrated, automated demand generation engine that fuels improved campaign planning, execution, and attribution, as well as closer alignment between marketing and sales. By aligning all channels through a newly-mapped customer journey, they created an always-on program that includes paid and organic media, website, email automation, and more, delivering on a 70% growth in marketing generated revenue between 2019 and 2020. The newly-built Reuters demand gen engine provides:

  1. Targeting. Data has given Reuters a better understanding of its customers and enabled improved targeting. “Where before we’d send campaigns of 200,000 emails, all with the same message,” explains Mejia, “now we can get more targeted by messaging micro-segments of 5,000 customers.”

  2. Alignment. Pre-transformation, someone from Sales would make a request and marketing would merely execute the order. Marketing is now a data-powered partner that consults with Sales on strategy, tactics, and funnel optimization. 
  3. Automation. Most of the campaigns Reuters ran pre-transformation were product specific (often email blasts). Now Reuters has shifted to “always-on” nurturing campaigns based on customer behavioral data. As Mejia explains: “the always-on is essentially an ongoing, customer-informed journey where we respond to customer intent signals with relevant content.”
  4. Attribution. Reuters can now connect demand gen investments to ROI. “Before the change,” says Mejia, “we might have been losing money for months without even knowing it.” Now Reuters can track results, as well as optimize spend and tactics on the go. Marketing has also gained more credibility and influence with senior leadership.

Timescale and milestones

  • Eloqua Design and Implementation Launch, Phase 1 & 2: Q2 & Q3 2020 

  • Lead Scoring: Q2 2020

  • Integrated Sales & Marketing Funnel Design & Implementation: Q2-Q4 2020

  • New Multichannel Campaigns Launch: Q2 2020

  • New Integrated Website Launch: Q3 2020

  • Always On Launch: Q3 2020 

  • Automated Data Cleansing: Q4 2020

  • Integrations for ON24, Splash, Hive9, Tableau: Q4 2020

  • SFDC Sales & Marketing Dashboards: Q1 2021

  • Reporting Insight, Measurement and Enhancing: ONGOING

Customer summary 

“We've built a demand generation machine nearly from scratch, completely changing the role of demand gen. Before, we were a tactical team that just responded to business requests and had very limited ability to demonstrate value. Today, we’re a strategic partner who creates significant value for our customers and for Reuters.” -- Juan Mejia, Demand Generation Director, Reuters

To learn more about how your organization, like Reuters, can build a demand generation engine to improve revenues and marketing performance, reach out to us today. 

 

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