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IFS: bringing modular magic to specialist systems

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IFS is a software company headquartered in Linköping, Sweden. It was founded in 1983 and currently has over 3,500 employees supporting more than 10,000 customers worldwide, from a network of local offices and a growing ecosystem of partners. The product development is done by R&D teams, mainly located in Sweden and Sri Lanka, and its consultancy business operates in six areas: Europe North; Europe West; Europe Central; Europe East; Americas; and Africa, Asia, and Pacific.

IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. IFS has pioneered component-based service management and ERP software, is a leader in field service and mobile workforce management, and provides ERP functionality, including CRM, SCM, PLM, EOI, enterprise asset management, and MRO capabilities.

IFS’ products are known for being user friendly, modular in their design, and flexible enough to support customers in the ways they work.


Stuck in the automation slow lane

IFS had used marketing automation for some time, but recognised that the capabilities and competencies of its current solution weren’t where they should’ve been.

Systems were clunky and time-consuming to set up. Basic tasks like smart lists or reporting were causing slowdowns that, during a migration for example, made progress difficult. Meanwhile, day-to-day stuff like querying databases or even just running programmes had become overly long operations.

As a result, IFS started looking at different automation offerings from different vendors, alongside carrying out a business analysis project to understand the business case for changing marketing automation provider.

IFS wanted something enterprise grade that could deliver compelling campaigns. The new solution would also have to provide the analytics needed to improve performance throughout the whole marketing department, not just in digital operations. Marketo’s credentials really stood out to IFS CMO, Olive Pilgerstofer.


Moving to Marketo

Automation change is never an easy task. And investing in an enterprise grade tool means putting time and resource into the process.

To make migration as smooth as possible, Marketo spent a lot of time trying to understand the IFS business ahead of the move. The Marketo team knew it was crucial to avoid putting ‘out of the box’ processes that didn’t recognise the specificities of IFS’ business in place. So the more they could understand in advance, the more informed their decisions.

On the IFS side, it was all about knowing what was needed from an automation package and why. Marketo offers many different solutions, some for small businesses, some for enterprise businesses, and then business by business customisation beyond that. For IFS, it was very important to have a tool that would enable it not just to carry out the business of today, but also to help it grow as a marketing organisation.


The migration process itself happened in waves, with each having a specific deliverable, defining the value it would add to IFS’ business.

“One of the most exciting things that we’ve done since we got Marketo is really drive a higher calibre of personalisation on our website than we’ve ever done before. It’s meaningful not just for our business results but also for the way that we engage with our customers.” Oliver Pilgerstofer, CMO at IFS

Strategic renewal and faster future with Marketo

IFS wanted to drive efficiency within its marketing operation, and to help people do the right things at the right times when interacting with customers and prospects. Marketo helped make this possible by providing IFS with an opportunity to look a little more holistically at marketing as whole.

The insights that Marketo provided in terms of understanding where prospects are on the buyer journey – and even understanding how existing customers engage with content – were breakthrough moments for the business, transforming their customer relationships. A great example of this was the introduction of what was internally termed “hot leads”. In essence, it was a nudge to the marketing team, who received a notification when it was time to phone, send an email, or get in touch with a prospect through LinkedIn.

Arming people with actionable information and insight has had such an impact that staff are contributing more, and successful engagements with prospects are a lot higher than they’ve ever been.Implementing Marketo has also seen a higher calibre of personalisation on the IFS website, and has seen IFS run successful IP warming campaigns.

Now, IFS has implemented Marketo for its global user base, rolling out a centralised model of campaigns from the corporate team across multiple workspaces to standardise its offering to key industries across the world. 

“It was really important for us to use Marketo in order to look at our broader marketing structure, so that we could have the right people doing the right things at the right time.” Oliver Pilgerstofer, CMO at IFS


Data-driven content for customised CX

These new, Marketo-driven, campaigns have seen a 34% increase in open rate, and 108% increase in clickthrough rate, against campaigns run on IFS’ previous system. Meanwhile, IFS content has become more sophisticated, in part thanks to better analytics.

Going forward, investment will focus on driving revenue and new business. Decisions are made based on analytics, meaning that content is insight informed, and there’s no wasted time and energy spent creating things that just don’t get used. Instead, all marketing activity is meaningful, growing existing accounts or helping prospects become customers. 

“You need to make sure you get a good solid foundation that matches your business strategy and model, before you roll onto the really exciting kind of good-looking tools and functions the system can offer.” Adele Miller, Global Marketing Automation Manager at IFS