Mercer-MacKay Case Study


Marketing agency Mercer-MacKay Digital Storytelling (MMS) had limited funds and technical expertise to bring a marketing automation platform to life. After a year spent envisioning, they learned it could likely take $10M to build out a complete solution, and over $1M and 12 months to get to a minimum viable product (MVP). To reduce time-to-market, Mercer-McKay considered Dynamic 365 using PowerApps, but was concerned about limitations. They decided to engage Cognizant Microsoft Business Group to determine feasibility. They chose Cognizant MBG for this consultation because of their breadth across the full Microsoft stack. Replacing competitive products, Cognizant Microsoft Business Group found that not only would powering sales and marketing with Dynamics 365 PowerApps with a custom portal built on Azure enable the MMS vision, but that they could immediately eliminate almost $1,000 in monthly software fees by retiring a mix of other email and CRM software solutions.


Cognizant MBG reviewed the Mercer-McKay’s functional product requirements from their envisioned MVP through to scale-out, and in 4 weeks delivered a feasibility report and an architectural design for moving forward on Dynamics. The design included:

  • Replacing existing MMS CRM solutions with Dynamics 365 Sales & Marketing
  • Building an external custom portal on Azure for secure login
  • Using the Power Platform to automate processes
  • Creating a data lake to support machine learning methods for the analysis of various raw datasets
  • Correlating the data patterns to obtain insights
  • Evolving manual-based data analysis into a standardized level of automation.

Cognizant Microsoft Business Group’s report identified that it would take 3 months to get to MVP. However, Mercer-McKay needed the project complete in just 8 weeks.

The Cognizant MBG experts used the Unified Interface (UI) in Dynamics 365 to customize the user interface for Mercer-McKay for optimal viewing and interactive experience. Azure facilitates almost immediate data synchronization into Dynamics 365, enabling rapid implementation across large data volumes. Mercer-McKay employed Cognizant Microsoft Business Group’s Data Estate Modernization framework helped them to transform their existing data platform services rapidly and cost effectively into one, powered by the cloud and AI. This included a complete end-to-end service, including training and support.


“I had a vision to build a thought-leadership content marketing platform, leveraging AI and ML, to help technology companies simply and easily build digital marketing campaigns that would attract prospects and customers. When I was told that my vision would cost over $10 million, I turned to Cognizant Microsoft Business Group for help.”

Gail Mercer-MacKay - CEO | CEO Mercer-MacKay Digital Storytelling


The Mercer-McKay solution has a custom portal on the front of Dynamics CRM and can scale to thousands of customers immediately. MMS experienced an immediate onboarding of over 100 new clients within the first 4 weeks who began using the portal right away and added 5-10 new customers weekly moving forward.

Cognizant Microsoft Business Group is currently working with them on their long-term roadmap, which includes supporting the development of an MMS data lake in Azure to hold third-party marketing data that currently exists in a variety of locations and forms. Cognizant MBG experts are also actively providing knowledge transfer to them as they hire internal employees to take over the full operation of their application.

Other Beneficial Results:

  • 100+ new clients registered on the portal
  • $200,000 Opportunities closed for MMS award writing services
  • $100,000 – Opportunities closed in other marketing services for clients who found MMS through the portal (less than 8-week sales cycle)
  • $100,000+ – other new opportunities in pipeline
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