Spotlight Digital Branding: Outgrowing 3rd Party Providers

Digital Branding

The Business Challenge

Email marketing specialists Digital Branding, who send millions of targeted offers daily, needed to replace their email marketing platform. Digital Branding's operations relied upon on a 3rd party service lacking much of the functionality required by the business: multivariate testing, business-specific reporting, multi-brand support and others. As is the case with many 3rd party products and services, Digital Branding had no means of affecting the roadmap of the product they were using.

It was determined that bringing the technology in-house would allow a much better insight into customer behavior across brands and would allow for enhanced segmentation and targeting based on deeper data analysis. Of course the new system would need to work from day one; the company was in a situation where this 3rd party service was in the critical path of their business operations and they needed better control over the performance and availability of all the system components to ensure high email deliverability and, subsequently, business continuity.

Like any software project, this one had both a timeline and budget goals that needed to be met, but in this case there was the additional wrinkle that the project had to be launched in time to avoid a costly renewal charge for the 3rd party software; blow the deadline and you blow the budget as well.

Our Solution

OmniTI began by meeting with the business owners to better understand the existing workflows, current deliverability metrics, as well as future growth plans. OmniTI's analysts and web architects then proceeded to define the exact requirements for the new system, defined the infrastructure and software architecture, and designed the proposed solution to meet the specific needs of the business. Following the blueprints set by the defined business and architectural goals, OmniTI developed a custom-tailored email marketing platform focusing on the desired functionality, performance, scalability, and availability.

The new system allows Digital Branding to perform multivariate testing of their marketing campaigns, allows for efficient execution of the business workflows, and provides precise and near-real-time reporting that informs critical business decisions. In addition, the system now supports using multiple external MTA vendors with throttling capabilities between them - thus removing the vendor lock-in imposed by the previously used 3rd party service, creating an ability for redundant, cross-vendor system design and allowing Digital Branding to independently manage email deliverability: one of the biggest challenges in email marketing.

To reduce CAPEX and OPEX, an open-source technology stack was chosen, including PHP/Laravel, Node.js, PostgreSQL, and Ansible, among others. The system was designed to be platform agnostic but was deployed on Amazon Cloud (AWS) based upon cost projections for future growth, support for the chosen technology stack and the client team's familiarity with AWS.

The Benefits

OmniTI's solution allowed Digital Branding to further grow their business, removing the limitations imposed by 3rd party services, while expanding capabilities, improving overall platform performance, as well as gaining insights into business performance. The new solution is able to process millions of data points, running them through a complex rules engine and producing distribution lists within seconds. Due to a flexible design, the system is able to horizontally scale with demand, limiting sending rate by only the external MTAs' capabilities. The email events processor is able to receive, process, and store thousands of email events (deliveries, bounces, etc) per second on each node, without loss of data or affecting the overall system performance. Oh, and of course the solution was delivered on time, allowing Digital Branding to smoothly migrate to the new system and avoid another costly annual contract with the prior vendor.

OmniTI was able to successfully translate our requirements into a fast and scalable email delivery platform that now powers our business. Their reliability and expertise have proven to be invaluable for a crucial component of our daily operationsi

~ Brian Griffin, COO, Digital Branding, LLC