• August 27, 2018
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Dell EMC Thaws the Frozen Crowd: A CRM Elite Customer Awards Case Study

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Dell EMC, part of Dell Technologies, is an IT services company that helps organizations modernize, automate, and transform their data centers using converged infrastructure, server, storage, and data protection technologies. The Austin, Texas-based company can create hybrid clouds and transform businesses through the creation of cloud-native applications and Big Data solutions. It services customers, including 98 percent of the Fortune 500, across 180 countries.


While its customer roster is indeed impressive, 70 percent of its marketable B2B contacts were inactive. In fact, 43 percent never engaged with marketing emails that Dell EMC sent. 

Dell EMC was faced with a decision to remove contacts or implement a CRM strategy to drive re-engagement and increase revenue. It chose the latter, and in November it paired up with marketing solutions provider Epsilon to identify trends involving its inactive segments based on campaign type. 

“When we were trending a quarter-over-quarter decline in our email metrics, we decided to work with Epsilon to leverage the power of engagement segmentation, which is how we discovered an iceberg of non-engagers and a correlating decrease in sales opportunities,” says Mercedee Hutton, omnichannel marketing senior strategist at Dell EMC.


This led to what Dell EMC called the “Unfrozen” program. It leveraged Epsilon’s proprietary email deployment platform. Using Dell EMC customer data and Epsilon/Dell customer engagement profiles, the campaigns were highly targeted.

Other Epsilon services leveraged by Dell EMC included strategic consulting, analytics, creative, account management, and campaign solutions.

“Unfrozen is our tailored strategy to either re-engage this dormant audience via alternative tactics, cadence, and messaging or simply and boldly ‘let them go’—the anthem from [the Disney musical Frozen, which was the inspiration for the program],” Hutton says.

Epsilon recommended and implemented a data-driven multichannel content and contact strategy that leveraged direct mail, email, and retargeting. Epsilon provided additional support around B2B messaging best practices, responsive-design creative, program execution, goal-setting, and benchmarks. It also created a sweepstakes strategy based on previous engagement and predicted return. 

For the campaign, Epsilon divided targets into Nappers and Dormants. The Napper track, targeting customers who last engaged within the previous three to 12 months, received a dimensional scratch-off ticket direct-mail piece and eight emails containing preferred content (based on data trends) and customer-focused messaging. The Dormant track, targeting customers who last engaged one year to two years previously, included a sweepstakes and permission pass email, developed as a last-ditch attempt to re-engage. 

At the same time, the company implemented a preference center where customers could share their frequency, content, and product interests. 

Dell EMC saw a 57 percent lift in re-engagement from its inactive Napper segment, well above the 21 percent benchmark seen by similar deployments. 

In addition, its email open rates climbed to 45 percent above the business-as-usual benchmark. Dell EMC also saw a 32.6 percent conversion rate on high-value direct mailers, and click-to-open rates that were 3.5 times above the benchmark. 

Dell EMC’s U.S. commercial business unit was in the initial test group, which yielded 6 percent higher revenue, 8 percent higher margins, and 5 percent higher units per buyer.

Based on its success in that group, Dell EMC is continuing the campaign, and the strategy is being rolled out to additional markets. Dell’s U.K. operations and its U.S. small-business unit will be adopting the program, and other areas of the business will be leveraging the creative templates that were designed as part of the program. 

The Dell-Epsilon digital partnership began more than a decade ago, and Dell designated Epsilon a Strategic Marketing Partner in 2015. Additionally, Epsilon was awarded Dell’s Partner of the Year in 2018 for the Consumer and Small Business Loyalty program, Dell Advantage. 

Real Results

  • A 57 percent lift in re-engagement from its inactive Napper segment.
  • Email open rates climbed to 45 percent above the business-as-usual benchmark.
  • A 32.6 percent conversion rate on high-value direct mailers. 
  • Click-to-open rates were 3.5 times above the benchmark.
  • 6 percent higher revenue.
  • 8 percent higher margins. 
  • 5 percent higher units per buyer.

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