How a 118-year-old trucking company drove its CX transformation

Profile picture for user Angela Wells By Angela Wells February 14, 2018
Mack Trucks drove through a CX transformation for its launch of the Mack Anthem. Oracle's Angela Wells maps its journey to reinvent the customer experience

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Mack Trucks is synonymous with strength and power. Founded in 1900, the company is one of America’s most iconic brands and its larger-than-life presence has been imprinted on the nation’s colloquial language. Mack Trucks built America, its slogan reminds us – a legacy that still drives the US economy today.

Along with that reputation comes a challenge. Mack is tasked with continuous innovation while remaining true to its century-old brand. At the core of the company is the promise of ‘application excellence’, which means providing products and services specifically designed for the needs of the customer. As John Walsh, VP of Global Marketing, explains:

We want to take care of them in a very personal way. That’s what makes Mack stand out from other brands.

Mack saw an opportunity to renew this customer promise, and increase its market share, with the launch in September 2017 of a new 18-wheel highway truck, the Anthem. The Anthem would be an impressive testament to American engineering, and needed an equally innovative customer experience strategy to propel it into the marketplace.

Mack Trucks drove a CX transformation

For five years, Mack prepared for the Anthem’s launch, putting the customer experience at the heart of its strategy. It had been over 15 years since the company last debuted a highway truck, and the marketing and buying landscape had dramatically changed. Back then, less than half of U.S. consumers owned a mobile phone, high-speed internet wasn’t mainstream, and Facebook was a figment of Mark Zuckerberg’s imagination. To reach its customers, Mack historically relied on three marketing channels – dealership brochures, ads in industry publications, and trade shows. At the same time, the company’s communications efforts were fragmented. They employed different channels to serve diverse markets, and were unable to track how their campaigns affected sales.

To fulfil Mack’s brand promise of a personalized customer experience, the company needed to revolutionize the way it marketed its products. It needed to rethink how it engaged with its consumer base, and how it would interact with a new generation of truck drivers. It also needed to converge previously fragmented communications channels into a single, co-ordinated platform.

Mack underwent a CX transformation in partnership with Oracle, expanding its marketing ecosystem to include a centralized customer and prospect database so it could co-ordinate and automate marketing across multiple digital channels. Meanwhile, the company needed to reach a proud and loyal fan base who have long since traded in their CB radio monikers for Twitter handles, and their highway lingo for 140+ characters. Oracle’s social listening, engagement, and analysis platform gave it the tools to help grow its social media presence organically.

A big launch for the Mack Anthem

To build momentum, Mack invested in compelling content. The company partnered with Khalil Mack, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, actor Channing Tatum, and country music star Steve Moakler to inspire its followers. With the help of these authentic influencers, Mack slowly teased out clips of the Anthem truck in a series of YouTube videos. Whether it was a quick snippet of a redesigned steering wheel or a shot of the bronze bull dog, 7,000 followers entered their email address for release alerts, eager to see the next piece of the Anthem puzzle. Collectively, the videos saw over 2 million views, and Mack quickly grew its social following by 40,000.

To drive its message home, Mack literally staked its highway claim with roadside billboards. These instilled confidence in buyers that this once-in-a-generation truck was worthy of their attention, whether on their digital screens or through traditional channels. And when it came down to revealing the 18-wheeler, Mack threw a party in its hometown Allentown, Pennsylvania to give attending customers, prospects, and drivers a first-hand look inside the highly anticipated Anthem. They even streamed the reveal live, delighting their 3,700 social followers who tuned in to view the exclusive content. That’s a remarkable stat considering the new product’s six-figure price tag.

“If we can put people in the truck, they will buy it,” Walsh wagered, despite only having 12 actual Anthems on the road. Unhindered, Walsh’s marketing team solicited customer input in return for a chance to receive a free Google Cardboard virtual reality set – virtually putting an interested buyer in the driver’s seat. Impressively, over 6,000 enthusiasts from across the world responded.

Mack’s campaign content was irresistible. Over 9,300 people digitally opted in to receive more information about the Anthem. Whether they filled out a form on or liked a Facebook post, Mack tracked these digital interactions as data points, helping build out the profiles of 175,000 potential customers in the Oracle Eloqua marketing database. Based on this activity, Mack further engaged this targeted audience with personalized content throughout the campaign, moving them through the sales funnel. Ultimately, the marketing team handed off 1,700 qualified leads to Mack’s complex network of independent dealerships across the U.S.

Reinventing the CX journey

According to Walsh, “sales people are skeptics by nature, they’re a ‘show me’ bunch.” And more often than not, they’re selling more brands than just Mack. They need proof that selling a $100,000 plus vehicle is worth their time. By reinventing the customer experience journey, Mack replaced what used to be a handshake between marketing and sales with intelligent and proven data.

Mack realized that not all sales interactions start and end in a dealership, at a tradeshow, or even online. In an era where consumers have innumerable combinations of channels to engage with a brand, being able to intelligently connect these interactions in real-time is not only a differentiating factor for the customer, but also for Mack’s sales teams.

This data-driven handoff between marketing and sales teams extended a connected, contextual, and consistent customer experience to the retail level. It armed Mack’s independent sales professionals with the information to deliver a customer experience that embodied Mack’s 118-year history. Decades ago, personalization was part of Mack’s DNA, and it perseveres today through digital connections.

That’s a big win. A heritage brand, rooted in a traditional B2B industry underwent a CX transformation. The result? Mack didn’t just reinvent its highway hauler, it reinvigorated its company to mass appeal. Millions of dollars in qualified leads flooded the company’s sales pipeline, illustrating the ROI of what a four-person marketing team could do with a little digital faith and the right tools.

Want to hear more about Mack Trucks’ transformation? Mack Trucks will detail their CX success at Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience show from April 10-12, 2018 in Chicago. For new registrations only, diginomica readers using the promo code DMDIG2018 can register at a special rate of $1,295 through April 9, 2018.