initiated online, up from 26%
Devise a digital strategy fully based on member input
Improve member satisfaction by enabling easier, more personalized self-service online
Achieve a higher return on investment for marketing spend through more impactful campaigns
Capture a higher proportion of revenue through cost-effective digital channels
#1 nationwide digital satisfaction ratings, up from #14 in AAA federation
25% boost in revenue, making digital the top channel for new business
45% of new memberships initiated online, up from 26%
11x ROI for every dollar spent on new digital experiences
People want their travels to be as smooth as possible, with unexpected events dealt with easily and efficiently. Knowing that there’s help along the way when motorists take to the road is important. That’s why more than 59.7 million people across North America are members of AAA—a name synonymous with world-class roadside assistance.
AAA Northeast is one of the association’s largest clubs, serving 5.7 million members in Rhode Island, and also providing service in significant parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The club knows its success depends on keeping members satisfied, which goes far beyond providing world-class roadside assistance, insurance, financial services, travel agency services, and discounts and rewards. It also means paying attention every time a member or potential member interacts with the club, a process that increasingly happens online.
“Responding to members’ needs has been a driving force behind reimagining our digital experiences,” says Mark Pelletier, Vice President at AAA Northeast. “Members often need to reach us immediately, whether they’re looking for roadside assistance or simply want to renew a membership or pay a bill.”
A few years ago, the organization launched a full-scale transformation of its digital channels to better address member demands for a fast, effortless website experience and easier access to helpful online interactions. AAA Northeast set out to create a digital experience driven by members, as well as supported by a dedicated team with the power to experiment and adapt. The organization calls it the Permission Based Digital Experience (PBDE).
Vice President, AAA Northeast
“Our disciplined approach, internally dubbed Permission Based Digital Experience (PBDE), is designed to make sure any changes we make to digital experiences are driven by our members, 100% of the time,” says Pelletier. “As a member organization, our commitment is to our members, so this strategy is perfectly suited to our model.”
The initiative started with dramatic cultural and organizational changes, producing a cross-functional digital team primed to be entrepreneurial, data-driven, and agile. Success depended equally on organizational readiness and deploying the right technology.
“We needed an environment that offered strong AB testing, personalization, and advanced analytics as part of a broader solution to address our digital marketing goals,” says Pelletier. “Adobe provided the most powerful, integrated platform for delivering digital experiences. We started with Adobe Target for optimization, Adobe Analytics for insights, and Adobe Experience Manager as our content management solution, launching all three in less than nine months.”
AAA Northeast would go on to add Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Campaign to the mix, while integrating Adobe Experience Manager Forms with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for lead management. In addition, the company created an end-to-end analytics integration between Adobe Analytics and Microsoft Dynamics 365, offering ROI calculations right down to the tactic level based on connected offline sales activity. These Adobe and Microsoft products work seamlessly together, giving AAA Northeast a powerful end-to-end platform for listening and responding to members’ changing needs.
Vice President, AAA Northeast
If member satisfaction can be viewed as a journey, then the PBDE is the vehicle—and experimentation and measurement are the headlights. Determined to continuously improve member experiences, AAA Northeast chose the Adobe and Microsoft solutions for their strong testing and analytics capabilities.
Adobe Experience Manager acts as the content management system, allowing the digital team to push content to the website with speed and flexibility. But the real advantage comes in its seamless integration with Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, enabling digital teams to respond to customer needs with targeted experiences.
“With Adobe Experience Manager as our foundation for content, we can use Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics to experiment with new ways of reaching members,” says Pelletier. “We are constantly testing different parts of the experience to validate whether or not our content and transactional funnels are as effective as possible. Adobe and Microsoft provide a full end-to-end solution for measuring our marketing tactics, not just to the sales lead, but right through to the offline sale.”
In fact, AAA Northeast has used Adobe Target to run more than 450 real-time AB tests on its website over the past 18 months, measuring every interaction with Adobe Analytics so the team can rely on solid data to make informed decisions about the digital strategies that work best.
For example, the team performed extensive testing on the “join” landing page to increase the number of people who complete the membership process. By adjusting the hero image, call to action, and ways of displaying membership benefits and fees, the team increased the percentage of people signing up for new services from 26% to 45%, bringing in thousands of new members online.
The digital team also modified the login process, having received feedback that it was too cumbersome. Behavioral data in Adobe Analytics showed that the multi-step process was discouraging people from renewing memberships.
“Using Adobe Target, we found that a simple guest login option made the process much easier,” says Pelletier. “The change improved online renewal rates by 13%—and at 5% of the cost of traditional channels such as the call center.”
AAA Northeast’s commitment to using data to innovate even led to a surprising decision to start accepting promotional join codes issued by other AAA clubs. “People were dropping out of the join process after having their codes rejected. Fewer than 20% actually signed up for a membership,” says Pelletier. “With a more nuanced understanding of people’s behavior through Adobe Analytics and some AB testing in Adobe Target, we boosted clickthroughs to 62% and grew membership by 10%.”
With its PBDE, AAA Northeast aims to consistently deliver more relevant experiences—translating complexity behind the scenes into simple, compelling interactions with members. Adobe Audience Manager and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales play an increasingly larger role in creating personalized digital experiences for different audiences.
“Our wide range of offerings can be overwhelming to members,” says Pelletier. “With Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Adobe Audience Manager, we’ve started mapping content and offers to different audiences based on what we know about them, so we can more effectively use the limited space on our website.”
With Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics, Adobe Audience Manager combines website analytics with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales records and third-party data to paint a clearer picture of members and potential members—including their propensity for interest in certain products. With more detailed segmentation, AAA Northeast can become more targeted with the content delivered through Adobe Experience Manager.
Pelletier extends the value of his investment with Adobe and Microsoft, which he says provide “cutting edge tools that use AI to optimize processes that empower us and grow our own digital transformation. For example, Adobe Target leverages AI with Microsoft Dynamics data to perform real-time personalization and automation.”
AAA Northeast knows the digital experience goes far beyond the website. With that in mind, the digital team integrated Adobe Experience Manager Forms with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for lead generation and management, using Adobe Campaign to drive traffic to landing pages.
The integration is a key part of the overall vision for an end-to-end digital experience. “By integrating Adobe Experience Manager Forms with Microsoft Dynamics 365, we gain full visibility into our digital marketing efforts, so we know which campaigns drive leads and which leads turn into memberships or other sources of revenue,” says Pelletier. “Our partnership with Microsoft has focused on lead management from the online channel, connecting those leads to offline business and ultimately improved ROIs.”
Vice President, AAA Northeast
With its transformative approach to the digital experience, AAA Northeast is seeing impressive results in membership numbers, revenue, cost efficiencies, and member satisfaction.
“Thanks to the PBDE and Adobe technology, our nationwide digital satisfaction ranking in the AAA federation rose from #14 in 2017 to #1 in 2018,” says Pelletier. “Members are happy, and it shows in how they engage with us online.”
The digital experience is now the company’s number one sales channel for new business, with digital revenue up 25% year over year. Plus, repeat visits to the website have increased 60%, which means the content is hitting the mark. More people are also making purchases online, driving digital transactions up by 30% year over year.
Pelletier points out the gains far outweigh the investment. “For every dollar spent on the PBDE model, we earn 11 times that in revenue,” he says. That ROI is allowing AAA Northeast to expand its team and amplify its efforts to deliver member-centric digital experiences. As the digital team grows, Adobe and Microsoft solutions are helping to solidify the team’s focus on experimentation, data-driven insights, and rapid delivery.
But the advantage goes beyond technology. Pelletier appreciates the Adobe and Microsoft partnership, saying, “We have a level of confidence in getting the help we need. Finding partners that don’t constantly compete is key. Here I feel like we can build strength on strength, creating business impact and a Microsoft data foundation to power success.”
The AAA Northeast team is excited about the road ahead. “We see two things for the short-term future,” Pelletier says. “Using Microsoft Dynamics in tandem with Adobe Target and Adobe Audience Manager to assist in proposing the right offer to the right member, and enabling the connection to Adobe Campaign for real-time event-based triggers based on online and offline lead business. We can’t wait.”