A Case Study on Effective Collaboration – Maximizing your Agency Relationships

The Challenge

LG is a global electronics manufacturer that bridges multiple categories: Home Entertainment, Home Appliances, Mobile Communications, and B2B, each with a vastly different target market.  How do you create an email program that encapsulates the LG promise to, ‘enrich people’s lives with technology innovation’, appeal to multiple and diverse target markets, yet speak to individuals in a personalized and relevant fashion? 

And more importantly, who are the stakeholders required to realize such a vision, and what processes are needed to facilitate a successful outcome?

Incepted in 2011, the LG Canada monthly email program, LG Life’s Good News, targeted subscribers acquired through a variety of sources (website, microsites, Facebook, contests, and product registration) but lacked a true content and communication strategy.  Content focused on the promotion of contests, new product launches, and helpful tips across a variety of LG products, reflecting information that the brand had readily available, but did not necessarily always speak to the consumer in a meaningful way.   LG challenged its digital AOR, Publicis, to evolve the email program in a manner that would build awareness of the LG suite of products and ultimately increase purchase consideration, all the while addressing the changing consumer expectation of receiving tailored messaging. 

The Audit

Before jumping in with both feet, Publicis performed an audit of the existing email program including an assessment of the creative, the database, and the current technology being used to deploy the LG emails.  In doing so, they determined that the email did not cater to users viewing LG emails on mobile devices.  Also, there were many questions surrounding the email database in terms of opt-in status, opt-in source, email address validity, and the Email Service Provider’s ability to demonstrate sound list hygiene practices.  They identified problems with email deliverability and a lack of effective and consistent email tracking.  Also unknown was the ESP’s power to serve up dynamic content.

The Recommendation

Publicis presented three recommendations to LG:

  1. Recreate the emails using Responsive Design.
  2. Retain a reputable ESP with experience in database management, overall email execution, an understanding of deliverability best practices and issue resolution, and a rich feature set empowering dynamic content.
  3. Lay the groundwork for future segmentation and content strategies.

The Approach

Understanding that the general population’s mobile usage was on the increase, and that the LG tech-savvy subscriber database skewed even higher for mobile adoption and usage, a responsive email template was designed and implemented.

Recognizing that LG had outgrown their email vendor, and having worked with Vigorate effectively in the past, Publicis endorsed Vigorate as the preferred email partner that would propel LG into the next phase of LG Life’s Good News.  Together, Publicis and Vigorate co-created and co-presented an aligned scope of work towards meeting LG’s program goals. 

This could only have been achieved with complete transparency between the three parties; Publicis brought Vigorate to the table with the client from the outset.  Both Publicis and Vigorate had access to the client background, strategy, and objectives and together they mapped out a course of action, capitalizing on the core strengths and expertise of each company. 

There were, however, areas of redundancy across the two companies, so creating a responsibility assignment matrix, or a RACI matrix, removed any confusion as to which organization was responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed across the organizations for each task required to effectively launch the new Life’s Good News program.  To determine who was best suited to lead vs. consult by task, Publicis and Vigorate considered what experience they each had in performing the task at hand, how efficiently it could be executed, and how much the solution would cost, all while keeping the client’s objectives and budget top-of-mind.  

Various tasks were led by Vigorate, with Publicis and LG contributing significantly, and Publicis led other tasks, with LG and Vigorate staying informed or acting as consultants.  For example:

  • Vigorate recommended strategies to address database concerns and prepare for the imminent CASL enforcement date (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation).  Publicis and LG were both consulted early on, to ensure the proposed solution could be implemented, met the program objectives, and was legally sound and approved.
  • Publicis led the creative and design of all website pages, forms, and emails with Vigorate having highlighted issues of CASL-compliancy and usability.  LG stayed informed and provided approval of the decisions before any action was taken, and ultimately of the end-product prior to launch. 
  • Vigorate recommended and implemented a sound email infrastructure and IP strategy, to increase the likelihood of emails being successfully delivered.  Vigorate also launched an email reporting dashboard, factoring for what Publicis and LG needed to evaluate both campaign and program success. 
  • While Publicis drove the future strategic segmentation vision, Vigorate assumed the responsibility of database hosting and management, and led the requirements gathering process for the data-mart.
  • The deployment of the emails shifted from LG (who was taking the Publicis-designed emails and deploying them) to Vigorate, effectively removing the operational burden from the LG marketing team. 

From the get-go, all three organizations placed a tremendous amount of importance on the upfront collaboration, communication, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities in order to optimize the outputs.  Together, they identified the requirements and current gaps of the program, and developed a road-map that all parties could confidently get behind.

The Results

Program Results:  Deliverability increased from 90.8% to 99%+ after deployments shifted to Vigorate.

A net new program referred to as The Owner Communication Program, which targets new users of certain LG products with highly personalized content, specific to their LG purchase, sees on average:

  1. 75% Open Rates (compared to 23.8% industry average).
  2. 46% Click Through Rates (compared to 2.7% industry average)

Lessons Learned

Get in a Room. During certain phases and discussions, it was determined that phone calls simply weren’t enough.  Regular face-to-face meetings and intense white-boarding sessions proved to be more effective in soliciting feedback from the entire team and eliminating potential confusion.  There was something about seeing the whites of each others’ eyes to ensure a level of understanding and collective agreement.

Involve the Client. The client’s contribution was critical during the requirements phase.  At minimum, a weekly status call between the 3 partners was essential to success.  LG was always informed and required to buy-in every step of the way, so there was no need to back-track, which proved to be an efficient process.  “Measure twice, cut once” was an important philosophy that everyone lived by.

Leverage each Partners’ Expertise. With the shift of the email deployment from the client to Vigorate, LG could now focus on their strategic marketing role.  Other benefits of doing so included improving the overall speed to market and producing a better end-product due to Vigorate’s proven expertise in this area.  Speed to market was also improved by establishing a more efficient email asset hand-off process, whereby the final email creative could easily and effectively be updated by Publicis without negatively impacting timelines.

A database audit, cleanse, and other strategies resulted in a clean, valid, opted-in, and engaged database.  A user-friendly reporting dashboard was launched to provide the client and AOR ongoing visibility into email campaign and program activity, and the ability to evaluate results on their schedule.  A true reflection of product registration, opt-in source, and email engagement/click activity now exists, setting LG up for the introduction of a sophisticated segmentation strategy.

A Final Word on Collaboration

The key to the success of this program was selecting the right mix of agencies committed to working together. The combined expertise and experience that Publicis and Vigorate both brought to the table, to meet the client’s objectives and to exceed expectations, has been a resounding success during both the program build/launch, and in the ongoing maintenance and optimization phase of the program.

 A quote from Raj Patel, Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing at LG Electronics Canada Inc.,:

“We always had a vision of what the Life’s Good Platform would evolve to be, and I truly believe having these two powerhouses working on our business has given us that platform we envisioned – and much more. It has made our email program one of the best in our industry I believe. With the tailored content and meaningful data we receive on consumer behavior within our email program, it gives us great ongoing insight and items to action for ultimately a better customer experience.”


Jennifer Balogh: AVP Strategic Solutions, Vigorate Inc.
Michelle Perez: Business Unit Director, Track DDB

Jessica Balter: Group Account Director, Publicis
Raj Patel: Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics Canada Inc.

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