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Analytics in Real-Time Online Marketing (Whitepaper)


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Short of turbocharging the IT infrastructure, how do you deal with the flood of big data?
First, let go of the misconception that you have to collect everything, said Grover. “It’s
more about taking sips from the water hose, just what’s relevant for the question you are
trying to ask. It’s about refining the data process and getting to those interesting bits of
information that hold the greatest value in your online data.” For more info:

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Analytics in Real-Time Online Marketing (Whitepaper)

  1. 1. Analytics in Real-Time Online Marketing CONCLUSIONS PAPERInsights from a webinar presented by SAS for the Direct Marketing AssociationFeaturing:Suneel Grover,Solutions Architect, Integrated Marketing Analytics, SAS
  2. 2. SAS Conclusions PaperTable of ContentsIntroduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Why Real-Time Online Insights Have Been Elusive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Understanding the Multidimensional Customer Experience . . . . . . . 3Three Keys to Unlock the Value in Your Online Data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Key 1: Collect and own your granular data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 . . Key 2: Automate the preprocessing of data for marketing and analytics.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Key 3: Apply advanced analytics in a marketing automation environment.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Closing Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Suneel Grover is a Solutions Architect focused in integrated marketing, advanced analytics andcustomer intelligence at SAS, as well as an adjunct instructor in the Masters of Science programin Integrated Marketing at New York University (NYU). Before joining SAS, he worked in offline andonline marketing analytics for brands such as MetLife, Citi and Navy Federal for 12 years. Groverholds a MBA focused in decision science from The George Washington University, and an MSfocused in integrated marketing analytics from New York University (NYU-SCPS).
  3. 3. Analytics in Real-Time Online MarketingIntroductionImagine you’re visiting a retailer’s website to shop for an oven. There are myriad waysto arrive at the site: clicking an ad on another Web page, following a link from a socialmedia post, selecting a product in an auction or review site, or typing the retailer’s namein a search engine – an organic search.If you don’t get sidetracked by the special offers, weekly deals and Deals of the Dayon the home page and category portal pages, you might navigate to “Products,”“Appliances,” or “Ranges and Ovens.” If you don’t get distracted there by the offers forholiday discounts, free shipping, rewards points, reduced-price overstock items andfinancing options, you might navigate to “Wall Ovens,” then choose single or dual ovens “With one line of tag code, youror microwave/oven combos. Web analytics solution couldThen you might narrow your selection to browse by brand, price range, capacity, color, capture all user interactionscustomer ratings and desired features. Once you have selected models that appeal on your website, automaticallyto you, you can compare them side by side, read customer reviews, and investigate perform real-time dataoptions and pricing details. collection and preparation forThen, if you don’t get distracted checking availability and reading about free shipping analytics, then trigger analyticand other incentives, you might end up adding an oven to your virtual shopping cart. and reporting exercises –More likely, you’ll put the decision on hold, give it some thought, look at other optionsand revisit the site later. ultimately triggering a highly relevant marketing decision inThe point is, every shopping visit presents many potential paths to navigate from your time to influence the customerinitial interest to the sale. Every click tells the retailer a little bit about your motivationsand what you want to achieve. Where were you before you came to the site? Are you before he/she leaves the onlinepartial to a certain brand? Are you particularly price-conscious? Looking for maximum session.”convenience? Immediate gratification? Suneel Grover, Solutions Architect, Integrated MarketingIf you were shopping for this oven in the store, a savvy sales person would use these Analytics, SASclues to help make the deal more attractive. What if you could do the same for yourcustomers’ online shopping experience, automatically using these clues to help closethe deal? You can. 1
  4. 4. SAS Conclusions PaperWhy Real-Time Online Insights Have Been ElusiveWebsite tracking is nothing new. Organizations with a Web presence have beentracking traffic through hits, clicks and page views for many years. However, retailersneed more than that now. They need to be able to assess visitor activity on the websitewhile there’s still time to influence that behavior – to create the most compelling onlineexperience, tailored to each unique visitor.Several challenges stand in the way of that ideal:• The relative inflexibility of website tags. To track users’ interactions as they come to your digital property, whatever the digital channel, you need to uniquely tag that event. A website tag is essential to gain insight into website usage behavior. “As digital properties become ever more complex and diverse – and with the dynamic nature of marketing – the tagging exercise becomes more difficult and cumbersome,” said Suneel Grover, Solutions Architect for Integrated Marketing Analytics at SAS.• Lack of timely detail at the individual visitor level. Typically, the brand partners with a Web analytics provider that collects website statistics based on tags and supplies a business intelligence (BI) portal that enables its customers to view website activity for the last few hours or days. However, the insights are rolled up into summaries and reported long after the visitor has left the site.• Inability to merge online and offline data. “Website analytics providers actually own the digital data stream, and they may have hundreds or thousands of clients to provide for,” said Grover. “So getting the data can be very difficult. Some vendors provide a batch option to get the data to you in the next day or couple of days, but what if you want to make a decision that uses newly acquired information in real time, during the visitor’s session?”These limitations are building to a crisis point. Ask marketing professionals from anyindustry to name their most pressing challenges with Web analytics and most will pointto marketing attribution (difficulty determining which marketing actions and channelscontributed to the sale) more than anything else – followed closely by issues with visitorsegmentation and data integration.“These are classic advanced analytics exercises, nothing more,” said Grover. Thesechallenges can be overcome with immediate access to right-time behavioral data. “AtSAS, we look at digital channel data just like any other data stream. It is where you’regoing to find competitive advantage, but for many retailers, it just has not been an option.”2
  5. 5. Analytics in Real-Time Online MarketingUnderstanding the Multidimensional Customer Experience“The value of data for customer insight isn’t just in viewing your customer or prospectthrough a digital lens,” said Grover. “The value is when you can create the proverbial360-degree view, and that requires stitching together that online data with your offlinedata stream.”That digital data must be cleansed and prepared to be analysis-ready. To do a deeperanalysis, you need the flexibility to apply a range of analytic techniques to that data,usually in an iterative fashion. And you need to be able to feed the results of marketingdecisions back into the insight loop for continuous improvement. All of these must-havescall for greater autonomy and control over the data, more than just having a third-partyanalytics vendor toss data without business context over the wall to you every day or two.Trouble is, even the offline data can be messy, said Grover. “As an analyst in both theoffline and online perspectives before I came to SAS, my mornings would start with avery specific question from my manager or director. The sophistication of that questioncould be low or high, but ultimately, I would begin by referring to data that looked like ajunkyard.“My leaders wanted me to create a meaningful decision from that data, but I’d spendso much time trying to get the needed pieces of information. There was nothingintegrated about it; it was very ad hoc. Because of the ad hoc nature of the process,exploration and analysis didn’t just take an hour or two, it could take days or weeks.There’s no room for this type of inefficiency in a real-time marketing environment.”Delays are becoming even more common as data volumes continue to expand. ITsystems and processes may already be stressed with offline data volumes and theneed to generate rapid insights, said Grover. “As marketers get more curious andrecognize the incremental value of having access to more information for analyticexercises, that creates bigger and bigger data, and that can be intimidating.“There’s no reason to fret, because big data is just a relative term. It refers to the pointwhere the volume, velocity and variety of data exceed an organization’s storage orcompute capacity to use that data for accurate and timely decision making. If your teamor organization is starting to become frustrated with the time it takes to execute ananalytical exercise, then you have big data.”Short of turbocharging the IT infrastructure, how do you deal with the flood of big data?First, let go of the misconception that you have to collect everything, said Grover. “It’smore about taking sips from the water hose, just what’s relevant for the question you aretrying to ask. It’s about refining the data process and getting to those interesting bits ofinformation that hold the greatest value in your online data.” 3
  6. 6. SAS Conclusions PaperThree Keys to Unlock the Value in Your Online DataIf your organization is looking at a data junkyard that only gets bigger and more complexover time, how do you get to those interesting bits of information? How do you getto the point where online and offline data are integrated, clean, analysis-ready andtransformed into immediate insights? It takes three “master keys” to unlock the fullpotential of your data for online marketing, said Grover:1. Proprietary access without latency to granular online data. The brand, organization or department should be able to collect and own its online information at a detail level. The more detail, the better.2. Automated preprocessing of data. Once organizations have access to their online data, they need to streamline and automate the preparation of this data for marketing and analysis.3. Advanced analytics and marketing automation. Organizations that achieve the first two master keys can apply the recommendations of advanced predictive analytics and business rules to optimize their online presence and By combining detailed online marketing decisions. customer behavior data with customer data from otherKey 1: Collect and immediately access granular data. offline channels, you get a moreBuild a complete customer view with an integrated marketing data table. complete view of the customerA complete customer view starts with identifying information from the customerrelationship management (CRM) system, such as name, gender, age and other and a better understandinginformation customers have offered. of customer behavior, which translates into more successfulTo that CRM data, you add psychographic lifestyle enrichment data to build out morecontext for the customer view – elements such as life stage, household income, offers and campaigns.children, education, value score and propensity – usually from third-party data or basedon customer zip code.To that, add online history data, such as visit recency, session count, session averagepage views and engagement scores. However, organizations might not have access tohistorical Web activity from their current Web analytics provider, or the data might arrivein a batch format a day or two after the fact.Collect and access online data in real time, without the need for traditionalwebsite tagging. “The real gem in all of this online data is the ability to access andintegrate current Web session visitor data with customer CRM, lifestyle and Webbehavior history.” said Grover. “If I’m on your website, and I click from the homepage to a third page, where I show interest in a unique piece of information, thataction differentiates me from other visitors. If that information is made available andstitched together with these other streams in real time, the organization could deploypersonalized marketing before I leave the session. When you think about RFM (recency,frequency and monetary), it doesn’t get any more recent and relevant than that.”4
  7. 7. Analytics in Real-Time Online MarketingThe digital data collection process includes three elements:• Dynamic data collection. Real-time data collection is now possible without Patented dynamic data the need for complex site tagging. Instruments using only a single line insert (as collection technology from opposed to individual form field tagging), data can be collected down to the SAS involves just a single line individual keystroke and mouse-over level. of JavaScript-based code,• Dynamic content recognition. It is now possible to automatically collect all online activity – for subscribers or anonymous visitors – with accuracy, timed to rather than the intensive Web the millisecond. “If you collect data from all interactions on each page, you won’t analytics tagging required by fall into the problem of realizing later that you missed some useful behaviors you traditional solutions – enabling should have been tracking,” said Grover. “You’re collecting everything up front.” significant time savings,• Dynamic collection rules. The system can be adapted to collect the level of detail that meets the organization’s privacy policies. rapid development, reduced maintenance and improvedGrover demonstrated this dynamic data collection process in action with a simulated data-driven marketing.visit to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) annual conference website. As heentered organic search terms, clicked links on the DMA website and typed entries intoa registration form, each action was dynamically captured and displayed in a trackingwindow – even though he had not logged into the site as a recognized repeat visitor.This rich data set provides detailed insight into customer (or prospect) behavior.Key 2: Automate the preprocessing of data for marketing and analytics.In the typical path from data to decision, about 80 percent of time is spent accessingand preparing data, with less than 20 percent of the time spent actually analyzing thedata to support the marketing decision. What if you could flip those numbers?“You can prebuild data preparation assets and operationalize them,” said Grover.“Build it once – define the steps to take very raw Web behavior data and prepare it fora marketing analytics exercise – and then automate it. When you have ownership of Prebuilt information manage­the digital data stream, you can tie that information with offline data streams focusedon the individual level.” ment processes prepare the raw Web event data. SimpleFor example, the system can monitor website activity against identified business configuration adapts thesegoals, such as attendee registration (for the DMA 2012 example used in the webinar).“I clicked on ‘Attendee Registration.’ Since the DMA is very interested in this, this processes from your sitesinformation can be rolled up and made available for subsequent analysis and targeted regardless of technologyoutbound or inbound marketing.” or structure. The result isGrover showed a specific example where the system tracked his repeat visits to the rich customer-centric digitalattendee registration page – what he did and when. This information could be used to data ready for analysis andtailor the view on subsequent visits, to give just the right incentive to get the visitor to marketing.register. 5
  8. 8. SAS Conclusions PaperKey 3: Apply advanced analytics in a marketing automation environment.Most organizations use analytic techniques to solve business problems specificto their departments, but they could get much richer insights if they used multiple “You may think it takes a reallyanalytic techniques and broader context, said Grover. For instance, business analytics long time to run an advancedis not about using one approach to solve problems. It is about accessing an array analytics algorithm when youof approaches from an analytical workbench that allows organizations to leveragedata mining, forecasting, text analytics, and optimization to arrive at more accurate have thousands, hundreds ofsolutions for complex online and offline consumer behavior. thousands or millions of visitors. You can dynamically run these“Multiple analytic techniques should be pulled together for the greater good,” saidGrover. Decision trees, two-step models, survival analysis to understand retention analytical algorithms on oneand churn, association/sequence analysis to understand acquisition and cross-sell visitor in the moment, whichopportunities, clustering for segmentation… all of these techniques can support a creates an opportunity to bevariety of targeted and effective marketing decisions. “Once you actually own andhave access to detailed digital information at the customer level, all of these analytic truly relevant.”techniques are fair game. And when you can stitch together in the online information Suneel Grover,with the offline information you’ve already been pumping into these approaches, these Solutions Architect, Integrated Marketingmodels become significantly more powerful, because you now have a more complete Analytics, SASview of your prospect or customer.”A marketing execution can use both outbound and inbound marketing automationtechnology to determine which online user behavior paths (and associated keybehaviors) trigger which analytical models to run, which in turn can trigger automateddecisions about which real-time (and batch) offers to make. The end game formarketers who want to leverage data-driven insights is the ability to use a predictivemodel’s customer or prospect probability score that works with your communicationbusiness rules to make a better decision about whom to target, what to target themwith, and with which message and channel. For example, the DMA 2012 website Real-time decision makingcan determine that since Grover visited the attendee registration page three times in can increase the precision ofthree session visits, he is interested but reluctant, which could automatically trigger a offers by looking at not onlyremarketing online display ad with an incentive, such as a discount on the registration fee. the products that an individual customer has recentlyClosing Thoughts purchased and other keyWhat if every time customers interacted with your Web properties, they got exactly customer information, but alsowhat they needed or wanted, in a minimum number of clicks, with a minimum amount by looking at what the customerof time spent on your website? What if every customer received the most appropriatemessage or offer, based on deep knowledge of his/her previous interactions with the is currently exploring on theorganization, both online and offline? What if this interaction could be tailored based on website or has placed in aninformation you gain right now, such as which products the customer is exploring on online shopping basket.the website or has placed in a shopping basket?You can. The technology to get this insight automatically is available now:• Capture all Web interactions in real time, without cumbersome site tagging.• Integrate online and offline data to create a more complete view of the customer.6
  9. 9. Analytics in Real-Time Online Marketing• Transform the stream of data from online and offline channels into accurate, • Collect and profile. Effortlessly predictive insights. obtain online data, synthesize it• Deliver targeted, relevant and timely outbound offers to customers based on those with the offline data and build a holistic insights. customer profile.• Achieve true relevance by personalizing the interaction to the individual customer, • Take the best action. Make right now. better decisions based onTimely relevance works. Just ask some of the world’s most successful online marketers: the customer profile by triggering automated targeted• A global retail bank increased target audience numbers by 500 percent at the communications. same time it cut its online media spending by 10 percent. • Optimize. Measure the response• A global insurer doubled customer engagement in just three months. to the targeted communications• In four weeks, a global financial services company gained insight that two Web to learn and enhance future analytics vendors couldn’t deliver in two years, saving millions on unnecessary communications. infrastructure costs.• An online retailer implemented event triggers that will deliver a 1-2 percent reduction in abandonment that will result in additional revenue of $12.5 million a year.• A large airline identified a segment of frequent flyers to one city that could be targeted with multiflight offers, resulting in millions in increased revenue.For any organization that views its Web properties as serious commerce channels,results such as these are definitely interesting bits of information worth unlocking.For More InformationFor more about SAS® Adaptive Customer download the free SAS white paper, The Power of Personalizing the CustomerExperience: read more thought leaders’ views on marketing, visit the SAS Customer IntelligenceKnowledge Exchange: get fresh perspectives on customer analytics from marketing practitionerson the Customer Analytics 7
  10. 10. About SASSAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 60,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making betterdecisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW ® For more information on .SAS® Business Analytics software and services, visit SAS Institute Inc. World Headquarters   +1 919 677 8000 To contact your local SAS office, please visit: SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2012, SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved. 106092_S97868_1212