Posts Tagged ‘Data

08
Sep
08

Gift cards on-demand

Amazon.com, has announced the launch of Amazon Gift Codes On Demand™ (AGC On Demand), a real-time electronic gift-card distribution option available from the Amazon Corporate Gift Card program. According to the company, “AGC On Demand is a simple Web service API that integrates Amazon’s proprietary gift-card technology directly into customer loyalty, employee incentive and payment disbursement platforms. With AGC On Demand, companies are able to reduce physical gift-card fulfillment overhead while providing gift card recipients with a customized experience and instant gratification.

Previously, gift card values were fixed and management of inventory for active gift cards and gift codes purchased in bulk required secure facilities. With AGC On Demand, gift codes are created individually in virtually any denomination and can be immediately issued in almost any format — based on the client’s preference — including e-mail, HTML, customized/co-branded cards and paper receipts.

“This is a great solution for developers and incentive companies who are looking for a more cost-effective way to manage a gift card program,” said Marcell King, senior manager of corporate gift cards with ACI Gift Cards, Inc. “The AGC On Demand service offers a quick and secure way to deliver gift cards and stored value to program participants.”

01
Sep
08

Case Study: How Harbor Sweets uses customer data effectively

Harbor Sweets is a Massachusetts-based gourmet chocolate company that offers a variety of premium sweets. In 1973, the company emerged from humble beginnings when Ben Strohecker set out to create the “best piece of candy in the world.” The result was Sweet Sloops, a sailboat shaped piece of almond butter crunch, covered in white chocolate dipped in dark chocolate and crushed pecans. Over the years, the company grew to feature additional candy lines and retail outlets across the U.S. Harbor Sweets also added a significant mail-order catalog division.

Their catalog program was successful in delivering sales during key holiday buying seasons, but the company also wanted to ensure that holiday campaign mailings – the main driver of catalog business – were maximizing sales.Harbor Sweets needed a solution that would efficiently turn existing customer data into actionable next steps. Essentially, Harbor Sweets wanted to find out if removing a single mailing to “active customers” from the holiday mail schedule – which included mailings every month from September through December – would conserve marketing resources, while refraining from negatively impacting revenue or overall response rates.

Harbor Sweets conducted a suppression test, assessing how effective the holiday campaign mailings had been at driving sales. Harbor Sweets mailed the catalog to everyone in December and ran a suppression test for September, October and November. The results were surprising.Harbor Sweets was actually hurting sales by mailing too many catalogs to customers during the holiday season. The results also found that the cadence for the catalogs could be reduced to three, while still achieving similar results.

Additionally, Harbor Sweets learned firsthand that it is imperative to be open to analyzing data and customer behavior in new ways.The more information available on existing customers, the more effective the software is in its results, whether it is predicting customer’s next steps or customers at risk of defection.

The results allowed Harbor Sweet to develop a long-term marketing process for the future. The revenue saved by removing one mailing is now applied to another mailing during non-peak times to provide customers with a more effectively targeted, timely catalog.

Source: DM review

24
Aug
08

Managing Data in the clouds

Joe Mckendrik has an interesting perspective on this topic:

More companies are emphasizing their ability to compete on analytics, and the ability to integrate and leverage enterprise data is key. Whether on-site or in the cloud, effective data integration is a must.

As cloud computing engagements increase in sophistication and edge ever closer to the mission-critical core of the enterprise, recognition is growing that there are enterprise data management issues that still need to be worked out. “Our belief is that cloud computing or on-demand computing is simply a way of further fragmenting data, because customers are absolving themselves from responsibility for the management, storage, security, and backup and recovery of the availability of that data,” Chris pointed out. However, he emphasized, “you must never, ever, absolve responsibility for the quality and the ownership of the data, and having such quality and ownership as part of your core business processes. And that requires integration.”

As Informatica’s Ron Papas put it, technically, there isn’t a lot of difference between on-site systems and data stores and cloud-managed systems and data stores. However, there’s a big difference in the ownership of these applications:

“What’s that’s doing is it’s bypassing the traditional process of having IT design the whole integration processes into the solution. So, before you know it, you could be up and running with Salesforce.com without having put much thought into integration, because it’s really being led by the line of business side. You could have someone in the sales and marketing unit that somehow bypassed IT and went up and implemented Salesforce. All of a sudden, they realize they need access to that data. they need it synchronized.”

24
Aug
08

Delivering Customer Experience – Good news & bad news

1-to-1 Media has some interesting perspectives on the challenges companies face to deliver a seamless customer experience. Take a look:

What do you believe is your organizations biggest hurdle in delivering an excellent customer experience?
Departmental silos 35.2%
Commitment from the top 17.0%
Recruitment and training 15.9%
Technology 14.8%
Focus on reducing operational cost 10.2%
Lack of investment 6.8%

…..how well customer-centricity has permeated their organizations. On the good news side, the majority of attendees work in organizations that think delivering an outstanding customer experience is everyone’s job. The bad news: 5 percent actually have no one responsible for ensuring that customers have a positive experience.

Who is responsible for customer experience in your organization?
Everyone 64.6%
All front line employees 15.2%
Contact centre employees 7.1%
Customer experience team 8.1%
No one 5.1%

How would you rate your company’s performance against its competitors in terms of customer experience?
Much better 12.3%
Better 32.9%
The same 38.4%
Not quite as good 13.7%
Worse 2.7%

Interesting, right?

17
Aug
08

Love your data, set it free!

Data services are freeing corporate data from the silos, allowing for its use on demand while providing security to the data’s custodians. The demand for more data more quickly is driving IT departments to rethink their entire systems architectures.

At Cequity, we have been helping clients work within the constraints of multiple -source systems while making data accessible for marketing when they need it. Our philosophy has been to make data more flexible and easy to access so that enterprises can take advantage of huge amounts of data that they accumulate today.

Dana Gardner writes:

In the past, data was structured, secure and tightly controlled. The bad news is that the data was limited by the firewall of personnel, technologies and process rigidity. Today, however, the demand is for just-in-time and inclusive data, moving away from a monolithic data system mentality to multiple sources of data that provide real-time inferences on consumers, activities, events, and transactions.

The move is in the ownership of data value to the very people who really need it, who help define its analysis, and who can best use it for business and consumption advantage. Analysis and productivity  values rule the future of data as services.The [new] model is of keeping the data where it belongs and yet making it available to the rest of the world.Our data is trapped in these silos, where each department owns the data and there is a manual paper process to request a report.

According to  Brad Svee”..Requesting a customer report takes a long time, and what we have been able to do is try to expose that data through Web services using mashup-type UI (user interface) technology and data services to keep the data in the place that it belongs, without having a flat file flying between FTP servers, as you talked about, and start to show people data that they haven’t seen before in an instant, consumable way.”

Read more

09
Aug
08

Building brand agility thro’ customer insights and integrated marketing techniques

A slow economy does not always mean death-knell for brand marketers. The ones who mine customer data, identify purchase patterns and discover useful insights will be the ones who will win in this environment. At Cequity, we continue to advice companies to walk this path with 3 specific strategies:

  1. Accelerate your customer database management strategy
  2. Embed analytical thinking within marketing teams where use of data & analysis is made mandatory
  3. Micro-market – Identify smaller & smaller segments and increase campaign velocity with relevant offers

Here’s what the article has to say:

According to Experian, companies that can gain useful customer insights through integrated marketing techniques will benefit from greater agility than their competitors and will be able to more quickly adapt to market changes and provide products, services, and value propositions that are more closely tuned to customer needs and purchasing patterns.

Collect insights, not just data
According to Marie Myles, director of marketing consulting at Experian’s Integrated Marketing division, “Based on our experience with some of the world’s largest consumer brands, the turbulent economy simply means a re-doubling of efforts to derive even more valuable intelligence from every consumer interaction.”

Actions for brand growth

  1. Understand customers and their needs
    Customer insight needs to be continually revisited to ensure that it is up to date, focusing research investment on this area and not solely on the brand. Marketers need to use this intelligence to create engaging and relevant messages based on a solid understanding of each customer’s preferences, needs and behaviours. This will pave the way for true one-to-one communication and enhanced brand loyalty.
  2. Analyse and segment
    Customer profiling, clusters or RFV models are essential to identify which customers are spending the most, how to uplift sales and to detect high value customers that show signs of diminishing value. As new trends emerge, marketers can use this insight to adapt and refine retention marketing techniques on a personalised basis.
  3. Adapt products and services
    It is imperative to assess the environment and for marketers to re-evaluate their propositions. In a changing economic climate brands need to be responsive to evolving buying habits. By taking this approach, marketers will be able to offer a better service to customers, making it harder for competitors to lure them away.
  4. Integrate channels to increase customer engagement
    Customers expect to be contacted through different media. Companies need to understand these media links and weave different online and offline messages to build compelling, engaging and personal experiences. Integrating channels at different stages of the customer buying cycle and customer management programme will drive benefits including a more consistent and persistent message.
27
Jul
08

Data Warehouse can wait- Start with Data-Marts

Very often we find organizations spending a lot of time planning and less time executing. So is the case with long gestation projects like Datawarehouse. Most often, requirements keep changing, business challenges are also dynamic.

Here’s an interesting article on how enterprises must start with data marts and get some quick-wins before they move to large scale DW projects:

An Enterprise Data Warehouse is a long term commitment: There are many imperatives (or foundations), which are key for a Data Warehouse. The examples of these imperatives are foundation or conformed dimensions, fine-grained granular data, comprehensive star-schemas etc…These elements need high level of readiness and investments to build these foundations. These foundations (though great for data marts as well) can be compromised for initial set of Data-marts.

Business Learning– Initial set of data-marts will provide great learning, less on the IT side and more on the business side. Here are the set of learnings from business side:

  • Creating business themes
  • Building Data-Mart Business Requirements
  • Building Dimensional Model
  • Testing of Data-Mart
  • Taking business decisions around the extraction and transformation
  • Generating the information out of the Data-Mart through end-user tools (like reporting and analytics application)

Examples of IT Learnings:

  • Extraction, Transformation and Loading design
  • Processing Load Management
  • Handling Data Explosion (data goes up exponentially as you add sparse fields- where most of the records are blank)
  • Change Management (end-to-end impact analysis if you make a change in the Data Mart Model)

Show-case for sponsors: A successful Data-Mart makes sponsorship of a Data Warehouse much easier.

Quick-hit: A Data-mart is a quick hit and gives earlier gratification.

Non-Disruptive: It does not take away the attention of an organization from other big things




At Cequity, we believe customer intelligence will be the biggest competitive advantage enterprises will have in the next decade or two. Successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage this information at speed to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it’s our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization.
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