Experian Partners with SmartReply to Improve Marketing Strategies

Marketers working with Experian can now add mobile and voice marketing to their multichannel marketing strategies, thanks to a new partnership between Experian Marketing Services and SmartReply, a mobile and voice marketing solutions provider.

The partnership—which pairs SmartReply's mobile, voice, and interactive voice response (IVR) marketing channels with Experian's existing offline and online marketing resources—allows Experian's clients to add SmartReply services.

Those new services include IVR, short message service (SMS), mobile marketing, multimedia messaging service (MMS), and mobile marketing and turnkey voice messaging.

According to Chandos Quill, Experian’s vice president of marketing and strategic alliances, SmartReply’s multichannel approach to marketing was a key to the partnership.

"One of the things that I think SmartReply brings to the table…is the fact that they work with their clients to navigate both voice and mobile and figure out what’s the appropriate use of those different technologies and channels," she says.  "And I think the benefit of this partnership is together we can talk to our clients about multiple ways to reach customers. Using voice technology and mobile technology with direct marketing and email—the value here is we can help clients figure out how to use those channels effectively to reach different customers.  And actually the interplay between them is really what’s going to be valuable…"

Combined with Experian's analytical and database marketing capabilities, SmartReply’s services allow clients to expand marketing campaigns across a wide range of traditional and emerging marketing channels.

"It felt like a nice extension to now be able to talk to our clients not only about multichannel strategies but to be able to execute those strategies through either Experian’s services or now SmartReply’s," Quill says. "We want to look at ways we can further expand the relationships that we have with our clients so this will provide us with another offering to help them reach their consumers or customers."

Additionally, SmartReply now can use Experian's list services, data hygiene, and append capabilities to improve data accuracy and identify additional marketing segments.

Mike Romano, executive vice president and co-founder of SmartReply, also praised the partnership, calling it beneficial for both companies. "From our standpoint, obviously Experian has a wide array of data products that our clients have an interest in from a data hygiene standpoint," he says. "Because we handle millions and millions of records on a daily basis, it’s obviously critical that we have the best data possible, that our clients have the best data possible [and] the ability to manage lists to do data retention and data management and analytics."

According to Romano, a collision of forces in the marketplace—the struggling economy, increased consumer control, and media fragmentation via TIVO and satellite radio—has resulted in consumers being able to avoid commercials almost entirely.  And this also led to the partnership with Experian.   

"Customers are finding it harder and harder to reach their customer," he says.  "So you have these three forces colliding. So we really think this partnership has a tremendous amount of potential because customers or clients are looking to drive down costs while at the same time increasing their response rates and ROI."

To that end, Romano embraces the concept of putting the consumer in control through a multichannel approach to marketing. "You decide, as a customer, what kind of marketing messages you’re going to receive," he says.  "What channel—you may want an email, you may want a text message, you may want a direct mail piece. We’re not advocating the displacement of any one channel, we’re just advocating using each channel as efficiently as possible."

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