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30-Second Summary

  • AAA Northeast completely transformed their approach to CX — The shift to a digitally entrepreneurial eBusiness unit enabled AAA Northeast to focus on creating a personalized digital experience for their customers.
  • AAA Northeast does not make any changes unless it’s fully tested and confirmed by users. Adobe’s suite of CX tools enabled AAA Northeast to analyze and optimize customer experience on the website and closely collaborate with the marketing team to collectively create a more consumer-driven digital experience with very positive results.
  • The Northeast division sees unprecedented growth. 22 months after the new platform and personalized approach were implemented with Adobe, AAA Northeast has seen an increase of 45% in memberships, a 25% growth in revenue, an 11x ROI, and increased customer satisfaction

AAA has nearly 60 million members across North America. AAA Northeast, which serves 5.7 million members in six states, is one of the largest clubs across the association.

As a membership organization, AAA Northeast recognized a need to become digitally relevant so they could better serve existing members and prepare for the millennial generation. President and CEO, John Galvin wanted the club to focus on a member-led approach, which became the preface for AAA Northeast’s digital transformation effort, dubbed their Permission Based Digital Experience (PBDE).

The goal of the initiative was to completely transform AAA Northeast’s approach to member experience so they could better—and more quickly—address member demands for a seamless website experience and improved access to online interactions.

ClickZ spoke with Mark Pelletier, VP of eBusiness at AAA Northeast, about the PBDE initiative and gained some further insight into why they selected Adobe’s integrated CX platform to help them achieve their goals.

A company-wide initiative

The PBDE initiative was built around giving AAA Northeast members a voice in their digital experience. Galvin, recognizing the need for a digitally savvy business group, created the eBusiness Unit headed up by Pelletier.

AAA Northeast changed their approach to everything everything they were doing. They launched the PBDE initiative with a team of tech savvy digital entrepreneurs as a separate division that worked together with the marketing and business units. Pelletier’s team reports directly to the CEO. The final piece of the puzzle was technology.

Says Pelletier, “At the highest level, we needed to make sure that we could listen to our members, personalize the experience for our members, and test with our members using the best tools available.”

The eBusiness unit is the largest source of new lead generation for AAA Northeast. Their goal is to make sure the web site is as optimized and as highly productive as possible.  They work very closely with the marketing team whose focus is on driving more people into that highly optimized, efficient experience.

The consumer takes the lead

The center of everything AAA Northeast does between marketing and the eBusiness unit is focused on analyzing, then optimizing, based on what their consumers are doing online.

Pelletier’s team does this via on site, real-time A/B testing using Adobe Target, an experience optimization application that can perform robust tests (A/B and MVT), do powerful targeting and automate personalization.

“Optimization might include A/B testing of search engine marketing campaigns,” explains Pelletier, “or what users do on the website when they’re going through steps to convert. We will not make a change to the website or app unless it’s been tested or positively confirmed. That discipline is what supports our goal to let our members lead the way.”

Before working with Adobe, AAA Northeast used Sitecore, a CX platform that provides content management and marketing automation software. As they went through the process of improving the personalized digital experience, they realized they needed a new tool.

Says Pelletier, “In selecting Adobe, we went through a six-month process where we worked with Gartner, including looking at Gartner’s magic quadrant results. We ultimately decided on Adobe because their integrated technology suite brings together technologists, business leaders and marketers. It was the one solution we found had all of these pieces together.”

Technology that focuses on optimization and personalization

It didn’t take long for AAA Northeast to implement Adobe’s solutions once they made the decision to switch to the new platform. Pelletier gives most of the credit for a relatively quick and painless migration to Adobe.

“We needed to do this as quickly as possible,” says Pelletier. “We saw the Adobe approach as more of an acquisition model versus Sitecore which is a homegrown built-in model. Both have pros and cons, but in the end, we needed something that could connect pretty quickly.”

Pelletier reviewed how the various Adobe solutions worked together to achieve his team’s goal of delivering better—and more personalized—online experiences for their members and prospects.

As noted above, Adobe Target was key in helping AAA Northeast optimize member experience. The tool enables A/B and multivariate testing, AI automated personalization, and has other capabilities to help provide a great user experience.

“If you have a discipline around optimization, you really can’t fail,” says Pelletier. “You’re adjusting things based on actual consumer behaviors, how they go through the user experience, how many steps in a funnel to complete a transaction or where the button should be on the page. As you do that, you’re increasing lead generation, reducing the amount of time in the funnel (which creates great customer satisfaction), and increasing the business for the organization.”

AAA Northeast sees record growth

AAA launched Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Target in mid-2017, with 2018 being their first full year utilizing these tools.

Since Pelletier’s team has implemented the PBDE initiative, including the installation of Adobe’s products, they’ve seen a 25% boost in revenue, a 45% increase in new memberships and an 11x ROI.

Their customer satisfaction levels are equivalent to much larger digital-first organizations. Within AAA, the Northeast division is ranked 18th in the AAA Federation for satisfaction. They have now been first for almost 22 months in a row.

“For us, it really is about the member first,” says Pelletier. “We don’t make any changes without their voice. We’re a membership organization, so we must listen.  Everybody’s looking for a magic solution that’s technical in nature that fixes everything. For us, we found the people and process were as profound as the technology. When people and process don’t happen, companies won’t get the same results with the technology that we’re seeing.”

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