How martech was used in the reorganization of Thomson Reuters

Reorganization of martech stack saves 600 FTE hours per month.

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2020 has been a year of change for marketers, but for marketers at Thomson Reuters, change has been a persistent factor since announcing a company wide reorganization in July 2018. 

For the business and financial information provider, that reorganization included a restructuring of their martech stack that has resulted in saving 600 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) personnel hours every month by putting in automation, defining processes, removing redundancies, and implementing common workflows and toolsets.  

“We had to create disciplines around digital tools and around marketing in a modernized manner,” Thomson Reuters Senior Director of Marketing Technology Steve Scotkin said at this week’s MarTech conference. “Our strategy is a balance of platforms, and investing heavily in platforms that enable end-to-end capabilities, but also having best in class solutions that help augment the capabilities we need to be able to go to market across our channels.”

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Stack strategy

In 2018 Thomson Reuters moved to a digital-first business model, highly influenced by AI integration as well as transitioning to a centralized marketing function. “We effectively took what was four or five companies and created one enterprise,” said Scotkin. “This included 1200 multi-discipline digital practitioners and over 550 marketers.” 

The mission of the new martech stack was simple — create operational efficiencies across five departments: news, print, media, tax and accounting, corporate and legal. 

The objectives included growth, beginning with collecting and leveraging internal and external data to identify new revenue opportunities; profitability led by a reduction of redundancy and operational costs by streamlining technology; and the deployment and integration of SaaS technologies for connected omnichannel experiences for customers and prospects.

There were also the aims of reduced costs and a seamless experience for employers and users across all channels. 

“Before, we owned a lot of tools with a lot of redundancy and we were not using tools consistently,” said Scotkin. “Our success is now aligned to marketing performance, digital performance goals and an adoption of the stack.” 

Adopting the new stack meant building connectivity for both new and old tools and platforms. The digital experience is now powered by AI across all channels. Personalization was increased by in-depth reviews of customer touch points across the entire customer journey. Assisting in the process was the integration of third party data and insight to assist with personalization and interactions across all channels.

The layers of omnichannel marketing

To increase internal operations efficiencies and to support new omnichannel marketing strategies, Thomson Reuters identified three layers required to optimize its new marketing performance. First, a data layer — the foundation — consisting of customer data management, third party data acquisition and integration, analytics and reporting as well as application and data integration.

Second, an orchestration layer, guiding the seamless experience made up of ABM, marketing automation, sales enablement, content activation, CMS and content syndication. Finally, an experience layer made up of touch points in the customer journey including social media, advertising, email, websites and blogs, chat, events, eCommerce, contact center, video and voice platforms and search campaigns.

To manage all three layers, Thomson Reuters implemented an operations hub that lets marketers and digital practitioners operate the machinery around the stack. 

Campaign and content strategy

Along with the reorganization of the martech stack, adopting a model for personas in the content and campaign stakeholder journeys were key in developing the plan that saves over 600 FTE hours per week. 

Campaign planning, demand generation and studio teams now work in an orderly process amongst the journey with transparency with tasks being performed and task status, as well as transparency in work flows. All team members can track the status of email campaign development, and the content strategy team making the shift to the content marketing platform Contently had a positive impact. 

Custom campaign content uses JIRA as the back-end for development, publishing and queue, pushing data in a Workfront instance to track progress. Campaigns publish to the website through Adobe Experience Manager. 

“This is a very complex process that has well-defined processes and handoffs and SLAs within each of the different teams involved,” said Scotkin, “but it would not be possible to do this without a facilitation capability. For us to put in place asset management, a content production capability, and a workflow were critical to enable this to work seamlessly and in a predictable manner.”

Assessing performance and progress

“Your martech stack is never done, it is always evolving,” said Scotkin. “It is an ongoing assessment, you never are done evolving with how your stack needs to operate in the future.” 

A large part of Scotkin’s ongoing assessment of his martech stack is a business enablement strategy that looks at: continuous operations improvements, financial spend and management, action-oriented dashboards, asset and content discovery performance measurement and recommendations, AI-driven content and personalization and marketing operations and publishing. 

Thomson Reuters’ top down approach on mandating that all employees adopt the workflow has driven the efficiency, and Scotkin recommends only reporting tangible results and avoiding results that are theoretical or hard-to-measure.

“What exactly are you saving by implementing your new martech stack,” he asks. “Is it personnel hours? Business cycles? Frustration?”

Although often impossible, Scotkin recommends that marketers try to integrate everything; by connecting one system to another, they can save both personnel hours and capital from budget line items, for a more cohesive marketing operations experience. 

“If you cannot integrate everything, at least have the mindset you should try,” said Scotkin. “Try to have all of your DAM systems, content systems and workflows operate together. People often look at the solutions but not how it fits into the systems. How it fits is important and that will solve the end goal needs.” 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Rodric Bradford
Rodric J. Bradford was an Editor of MarTech Today and has worked in the marketing technology industry as both a journalist and corporate project manager. Prior to joining MarTech Today Bradford served as Convention and Technology Beat Reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Business Press publication and worked as Technology Reporter for Global Gaming Business, the world’s largest casino publication. In the corporate world Bradford has served as Technology Project Manager for CNA, Cigna, General Dynamics and Philip Morris. Bradford is an alumnus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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