Huw Waters
By Huw Waters on 21 Nov, 2023

We're delighted to announce that DCX has won 2 awards with our splendid partner, Apteco.

Apteco is powerful customer analytics and audience targeting software that helps convert data into actionable insights.

As a premium Apteco partner, working together for over 19 years, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about Apteco and how to help organisations deliver multi-channel marketing using all their data sources.

Apteco Star Partner

Announced at Apteco Live 2023, DCX was awarded Apteco Star Partner.

Apteco Star Partner Award - Paragon DCX

The award was in recognition of all the work the DCX Apteco Practice did in 2023 - working with Apteco on trials of new features, giving feedback, partner marketing activities, new accreditations, as well as retaining customers.

Thanks to Apteco, clients such as GWR and FirstGroup, have been able to power up their database health, CRM programme dashboards, and customer analytics and insights.

Apteco has helped Health Education England to save considerable costs. They‘ve gained valuable time back to think more strategically, and obtained access to near real-time customer information – which helps their strategic thinking.

Winner - Best Use of Apteco

Also announced at Apteco Live, DCX was awarded the Best Use of Apteco Award 2023 for our work with the Department of Health and Social Care.


We've worked with The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for many years on a number of public health-related campaigns. DHSC supports ministers in the UK in leading the nation’s health and social care - to help people live more independent, healthier lives, for longer.

DHSC launched the Better Health brand in 2021 which exists to motivate and enable the nation to lead active and healthy lives. It's there to support and encourage all of us in taking steps to improve our physical and mental health.

In the last year of primary school, on average, six children out of a class of 30 are obese and a further four are overweight - twice as many as thirty years ago. Obesity disproportionately affects children living in deprived areas and some ethnic minority groups.

It is the Government’s ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. 

How DCX and Apteco have helped change the nation's health with DHSC

DCX worked across a major behaviour change project - Better Health ‘Healthy Steps’ - an 8-week evidence-based email programme that aims to inspire and support families to take easy steps to become a healthier family, one step at a time, to help tackle childhood obesity.

Working together with DHSC, and to ensure that the programme delivered a great experience and garnered the best results, a number of objectives were agreed:

  • Main acquisition to come via stand-alone emails to the contactable base (including a re-send), piggy-backing content blocks in other owned comms, website pages, and partner activity.

  • Create an engaging quiz consisting of 5-10 questions to avoid becoming too much of a barrier to sign up. It also needed to set a gauge for their starting point, help drive content DCX would deliver, and included some element of reward.

  • Build a multi-touchpoint communication journey. A welcome email should introduce and support foundations and preparation for behaviour change. There would be an interrupter mid-way through to keep motivation. There are challenges through the programme to make sure this is a journey, not multiple standalone emails. The end survey would capture to data to see if the dials of behaviour have moved, as well as how helpful the programme has been.

  • The delivery platform needed to handle the complexities of multi-stage communications and the ability to tailor the content and route through a journey based on registrations but also how people engaged with the programme.

  • It was vital the delivery platform would allow the ability to monitor the performance of the programme at each step of the journey to ensure the content could be improved, if necessary, when the learnings were made available.

It was a no-brainer that Apteco was the best campaign management software up for the task.

The Strategy

Using our experience and evidence from previous Government campaigns, we developed the email programme with bite size chunks of information that would move parents on step-by-step, showing how the collective impacts of small steps can add up to big differences to their family’s health. We also recognised that people’s issues will be different, so we offered a choice of varying content by the issues that mattered most to them.

Four key channels were chosen to help promote the Healthy Steps programme – acquisition emails, social media, paid search, and partnership activities - encouraging individuals to sign up to the campaign via the registration page. Here they were asked a series of questions to help identify what topics would be best suited to help them and their family.

These results were compiled into a question and response pair table in the underlying database, which was then passed into Apteco FastStats. A scoring model was used to determine what programme journey and themed communications each registrant would benefit from the best based on their responses. These themes were designed to provide a journey of informative articles and set challenges to help families improve either their intake of fruit and veg each day, improve their meal preparation – both in advance and using fresh ingredients, reduce their intake of sugary snacks and drinks.

Everyone was given the opportunity to choose a different topic if they wished to but, on the whole, the majority of people stuck with what was suggested to them.

As part of the planning process, it was important to understand additional audiences that the registration records were aligned with, so that messaging would be consistent, and so that we could measure how many different pieces of information registrants may receive.

The programme introduces the recipients to their theme and set challenges across the journey. Each person is set 4 weekly challenges across the span of the entire journey with an opportunity to provide feedback on how they got on directly within the email content. These responses are captured within the Apteco PeopleStage communication history and reported within Apteco Orbit by theme. This enabled the Healthy Steps project team to monitor the performance of each challenge and its suitability within the campaign.

The last steps in the journey are a final opportunity for the registrants to give their feedback. Here they are invited to complete a survey that comprises the same questions that are in the registration form, as well as some extra questions in relation to how well the programme worked for them, and how likely they are to recommend the programme to others.

This naturally is a huge opportunity to both learn and validate that the programme has really helped people across the nation. To maximise this opportunity a single follow up email is sent to anyone who doesn’t complete the follow up survey within 7 days.

All registration and response data is fed back into Apteco FastStats, ensuring that the maximum learning and understanding is available to the project team for future enhancements to the programme.

The Results

We measured media effectiveness, engagement end-to-end, reported attitudinal and behaviour change and provided a comprehensive actionable evaluation report for DHSC with full recommendations for programme enhancements.

  • 75% of participants said there was an overall improvement to their family’s health and well-being.

  • 86% said the programme was useful.

  • 90% said they would recommend the programme.

  • 69% saw an improvement in the levels of fruit and veg consumption.

  • 70% saw an improvement in attitude towards and the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks.

  • 48% saw an improvement in their meal preparation after the programme.

The programme was a huge success, creating positive behaviour shifts across the nation.

As a result of using Apteco, DHSC now has great agility to test, learn, and implement updates to support continuous improvement and new features.

In the future, we look forward to building this campaign into a multi-channel programme, and to using additional technologies such as WhatsApp to support communicating with those hard-to-reach people, who are often the most vulnerable.

Do Apteco. Better.