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Italian Bank Taps Accenture and E.piphany for Marketing Muscle

Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Bank Increases Sales Figures Using Targeted Marketing.

Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Bank (CRF; Florence, Italy; $18.5 billion in assets) relies upon its central marketing department to design campaigns that reach over 600,000 customers across 270 regional branches, as well as the customers of five smaller banks within the CRF group.

In measuring the success of any particular marketing campaign, CRF looks at the "redemption rate," which it calculates as the percentage of customers targeted by a campaign who end up purchasing the product offered. But in mid-2002, the bank's internal analysis demonstrated that it was falling behind competitors on that metric, only reaching a redemption rate of 3 percent. That's when the bank called in Accenture (New York) to help it craft a new strategy.

Over the following 18 months, Accenture introduced new tools for sales force management, customer segmentation and real-time modeling of propensity-to-buy and customer acquisition. The solution consists of software from E.piphany (San Mateo, Calif.) running on an Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.) database.

With its new marketing system, the bank has been able to double the frequency of its campaigns, and most importantly, triple the redemption rate to 9 percent. Furthermore, the bank has adapted the capability to suggest a likely "next product" for any given customer, which it has successfully deployed at its branches to reach a redemption rate exceeding 30 percent for mass market customers, according to Stefano Puccioni, head of commercial planning for CRF

These capabilities allow CRF to go head-to-head with its larger competitors. Italy's five largest banks "probably have a system that is similar" to that of CRF, notes Puccioni.

Nevertheless, the bank's smaller size can lead to greater agility, including the ability to conduct monthly meetings with all of the bank's branch managers. "You can communicate a change very quickly," says Puccioni. "We have extended the system and we have trained all the branches -- in just three to four months."

As for CRF's smaller competitors, its latest technology push gives it a market advantage, relates Puccioni. "Our position is better than the banks that are of the same size," he says. "I don't think there are a lot of banks [in Italy] with 300 to 400 branches with this system."

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