Adobe Summit - EY uses Adobe technology to create marketing campaigns with a competitive edge

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels March 22, 2023
The consulting firm is already developing highly personalized content and it’s now thinking about how it can take its marketing strategy to the next stage.


EY is using a broad range of Adobe services to ensure it pushes the right kind of content to prospects and clients in a timely and effective manner.

In an innovation keynote at Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, Karen Hopkins, Global CMO at EY, explained how her marketing team is using the technology giant’s services to bring data sources together, to develop effective marketing campaigns and to create personalized experiences for the consulting firm’s customers:

We’re in a very competitive industry and we're all striving for the same thing, which is to deliver exceptional client experiences. From an EY perspective, we talk about being proactive, connected and insightful. And that is a very challenging thing to deliver to clients in a consistent way globally.

Hopkins says her marketing team gives client-facing teams a competitive edge by serving up useful insights and delivering personalised content in a quick and effective manner. Undertaking that kind of work, however, isn’t straightforward – and she says marketing to B2B customers is increasingly challenging in a multi-channel world:

Our clients do a lot of research online before they purchase and even before they're ready to purchase. And so that means that the digital touchpoints we create are very important for them to both evaluate our organisation and also the capabilities that we have. They expect content to be served up in a timely way in the formats they like.

Since becoming CMO in 2017, Hopkins has faced this challenge head-on. As well as focusing on content transformation and internal skills development, she’s used technology to give EY a competitive edge. Here, she points to a great bond with the firm’s CIO, the tech consulting team, and strong assistance from Adobe. Through this partnership, the marketing organization has shifted from legacy Lotus Notes technology to a modern, digital platform:

Our first step in the journey was to implement Adobe Experience Manager, which has been an absolute game-changer, both from a brand perspective, but also in terms of the experience that we can create for both recruits coming into the site and also our business buyers. The other big benefit is automated content translation, so we can flow through global content ino the local sites and actually – with a minimum amount of time – translate it into local languages.

The next step in 2021 was to introduce Adobe’s automation platform Marketo Engage, which allows Hopkins team to develop effective marketing campaigns:

We have one global database, so we can actually see the data across all of our countries and markets. But each country has its own workspace. And that's been really important, so that our teams can run local campaigns. There's a lot of local issues, whether it be tax or regulatory, where our teams need to have the opportunity to actually drive those campaigns.

The EY marketing department runs about 2,500 email campaigns a month, which includes invitations for large-scale and smaller events, newsletters, and personalised content. In total, the teams sends out about 250,000 emails each month. Hopkins says managing that volume of content effectively would not have been possible without Marketo Engage:

It's just so efficient. And when we've got events, we've also got automatic reminders, and the participation rates go up exponentially as well, with obviously a much smaller resource requirement from our teams.

Continuing to innovate

Last year, in the latest stage of EY’s application of Abode technology, the firm implemented Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP), which collects data from systems and creates unified profiles. Hopkins says the firm’s combination of Marketo Engage and Real-Time CDP means the business now has a single view of the customer and their marketing activities:

To enable exceptional client experiences, we needed to provide a consolidated view of interactions and behaviors across those different buyers in an account. In some of our clients, we may have between 200 and 300 executives across the world in that one company. So, for us to have one view is just tremendous.

Hopkins’ team has brought together 58 sources of data, which also helps EY to adhere to privacy and consent management concerns, which is crucial for a firm that operates in a highly regulated sector. So far, the marketing organisation has onboarded 32 of EY’s country teams to Real-Time CDP, which covers about 70% of the firm’s revenue. Hopkins says they’re already seeing great outcomes and she provides an example:

In one client, we could see over the period of a month that there was 27 different signals around cybersecurity. We could see different executives across the world were clicking on links to our newsletter, visiting the website, downloading some of our content, and also subscribing to our newsletters. That insight enabled our account team to proactively reach out to the client and have a conversation around cybersecurity that resulted in a big engagement. That would not have been possible without that single view.

It was noted at the Summit that EY has helped Adobe to develop its Real-Time CDP offering. The marketing team at EY continues to hone its approach and is also looking to use Adobe Target, which provides AI-powered testing and automation, to tailor its personalization strategy. According to Hopkins: 

We're still in the process of rolling out Real-Time CDP across our country markets. But we're looking ahead and this year our challenge is to adopt Adobe Target more fully, so that we can go from using the data to really ascertaining what we think clients want – to actually being able to predict it more effectively through AI.

When it comes to next steps, Hopkins is eager to see how emerging technologies – such as the AI functionality in Adobe Target and the nascent Metaverse – can help her marketing department reach clients in new ways:

I think if we can predict and anticipate what clients are needing, as opposed to responding to signals, that will be the next step in the journey for us. And the other area I'm really excited about is the Metaverse. I think the creativity and the platform for experienced interactions and marketing it offers is really unlimited.

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