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ING Belgium's Direct Approach Pays Off

Philippe Wallez ING Belgium approaches its market as directly as possible. In order to increase and strengthen its direct marketing efforts, the bank and insurance company decided to team up with SAS. This proved to be a winning combination. By enhancing customer intelligence and automating the direct marketing process, SAS enabled to increase the number of campaigns as well as their conversion rates. With excellent results. Through the combination of SAS and other initiatives, ING now realizes a net increase of 50,000 new customers per year.


ING is the eighth largest financial institution in the world. It is a universal bank and insurance group with activities in approximately 40 countries. In Belgium, ING has undergone a major strategic change. The banking division decided it was time to go 'back to basics'. Philippe Wallez, General Manager Marketing at ING Belgium and Luxembourg, explains: "We want to service our customers directly, using the most appropriate channels. We want to give customers the opportunity to perform simple activities themselves. For instance, they can apply for a new private account online. This frees up more time for our branch staff to offer customers advice."

Tools to intensify marketing efforts

Such a direct approach requires intensive direct marketing. "The ING brand needs to be top of mind. Otherwise, they will not come to us," states Wallez.

ING has the skills in house to intensify its direct marketing, but it needed better tools to support its efforts and increase its output. In the past, ING marketers were still handling some of the most crucial steps in the direct marketing process manually. "We used Excel sheets to manage our campaigns," recalls Wallez. "This was not only time-consuming, it also put a serious restriction on the amount of campaigns we could handle."

Automation leads to a twentyfold increase in campaigns

In only three years time, ING has multiplied the number of its direct marketing campaigns by a factor of twenty. The bank went from 50 campaigns per year to more than 1,000 in 2009. As a result, it reached 6.8 million contacts, averaging four contacts per individual.

A critical factor in this success was ING's partnership with SAS. By automating part of the direct marketing process, SAS gave ING's marketers more time to be creative and made it possible to manage much more campaigns much more efficiently. "Choosing SAS was only logical. Not only do they know the financial sector, they also know the house. They have been a preferred partner for various departments at ING for many years. This background certainly helped SAS to quickly tailor a solution to our exact needs," observes Wallez.

Better targeting, higher conversion rate

Along with increasing the number of campaigns, the ING Marketing Department also succeeded in increasing their effectiveness. How? By enhancing their customer intelligence. "Marketing is all about offering the right person the right product at the right moment," states Wallez. "SAS helped us enrich our customer database. Now we are able to select the best group of customers for each campaign."

SAS makes it possible to better score, qualify, and model (potential) customers and campaigns. In addition, SAS is robust enough to manage such a vast and rich database, without compromising the speed of the target selection process. That is why ING can now characterize each campaign based on 300 variables and link this with the right set of targets. Moreover, with great results. "Today, our campaigns are 87 per cent right the first time. This means that out of the 100 people we reach with a certain campaign, 87 are genuinely promising targets," illustrates Wallez. "This achievement has boosted the success of our direct marketing campaigns significantly."

More direct marketing with better results

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Increase sales, improve customer intelligence, and enhance top of mind brand awareness through direct marketing


SAS® Marketing Automation

SAS® Digital Marketing

SAS® Enterprise MinerTM

  • Enhanced top of mind brand awareness:
    SAS automates part of the direct marketing process, enabling a substantial boost in the number of campaigns and their visibility among (potential) customers
  • Improved customer targeting:
    by improving customer segmentation, SAS makes it possible to more accurately target direct marketing campaigns
  • Increased sales:
    better targeting enables ING to increase the success rate of its direct marketing campaigns and increasing its overall sales

SAS enabled us to automate our direct marketing process. As a result we boosted the number of campaigns from 50 to more than 1,000.

Philippe Wallez

General Manager Marketing at ING Belgium and Luxembourg

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