The Rossel Group is the first French-language press group in Belgium. With over a hundred companies under its umbrella, the Group’s main operations are based in Belgium and the north of France, whilst also maintaining a presence in Luxembourg and Bulgaria. As a diversified player with local activities, the Rossel Group operates in print media, national or regional, paid or free, daily or weekly/monthly, whilst owning brands such as Le Soir, La Voix du Nord, Sudpresse, Vlan, Echo, RTL-TVI, Radio Contact, etc.
The digital transformation of the Group got under way in 1997, as the press was entering the digital era.
The need to be able to take readers along in this digital transformation endeavour prompted the Group to take the view that the journey of readers had to be conducted on the platform, involving the identification and integration of anonymous visitors.
The key thing was and is the content. The ATAWAD publication of content was the very first foundation stone of the digital solution furnished by Contraste Digital, although the monetisation and customer subscription aspects had to follow suit.
Where, at the outset, every publisher had designed and implemented its own «customer account page», allowing the latter to administer both the profiles and the digital subscriptions, the need for a single management platform felt by the marketing teams and customer service departments of the various publishers soon reared its head.
This is what led to the “Group Customer Journeys” (GCJ) project, supported by a working group made up of the Marketing and Customer Services departments and Contraste Digital’s technology experts.
The challenge was to put in place a unique e-marketing platform that complies with the commercial and technical requirements of all the publishers of the Rossel Group :
- Cost reduction,
- Recovering the user experience,
- Capitalising on the in-house experience,
- Giving the publishers full autonomy, better control and greater flexibility in the management of subscription offers,
- Restoring the autonomy and agility of the marketing department in the way it makes commercial subscription offers,
- Inquiring into the experience of the customer to guide potential customers to the content offering,
- Qualifying subscribers,
- Easy access to key reports,
- Integration of various payment methods.
The project was common to the different entities of the group and was based on several axes :
- The common definition of "User Stories" in order to express the needs of business
- Search for a common denominator between all entities & the minimum sustainable product
- Joint project management, based on an Agile methodology
- Validation of a platform that meets the expectations of the business
Based on a set of specifications, Contraste Digital made recommendations and built the platform, based on Drupal technology, used as CMS of unique content. The "Group Customer Journey's" was then deployed by entity according to an agreed roadmap, depending on business priorities. Thereafter, regular changes were made at the heart of the system. Meanwhile, the integration part has been refined continuously.
The test scenarios were defined with end users, who then participated in their implementation. This made it possible to appropriate the tool under development and to limit the training needs.
The platform measures customers’ journeys and allows a conversion funnel to be built in consideration of the user experience. The benefits of the single system now in place include:
- Its scalability: modules for things like payment, authentication and protection can be added. These modules are rolled out at basic level to enable the various entities to use them.
- The autonomy given to the users to establish their offer, and the flexibility gains in content management, the control over their digital publications, etc.
- The reuse of certain functionalities or content through logical connections: the new data are exposed to third party systems, the decision trees or event sequences are built according to open schemes (reuse and enrichment of the scheme, establishing new data layers, etc.)
This new platform is intended to facilitate the integration of the offerings. The operation took 3 days in the previous version and now takes as little as 2 hours with the solution built by Contraste Digital. The optimisation of the time to publication considerably reduces the cost of roll-out and steps up the productivity of the department marketing.
The Group sees the paper and digital modes as complementary and in balance. This requires a transformation of the company to guide this transition and to supply diversified quality content.
Rossel faces an exciting and uncertain challenge. Everybody in the company needs to take an interest in the digital transformation and become an observer of the «homo digitalensis», of its behaviour and its interactions with the Group’s brands and the services it offers.