Datamation Product of the Year voters in this category crowned SAS's Marketing Optimization tool as their favorite application overall. SAS Marketing Optimization helps companies get the most out of their limited marketing dollars by enabling them to better forecast the effectiveness of their campaigns. Knowing which initiative -- the mass e-mail campaign vs. the targeted direct mail piece, for example -- is more likely to result in extra sales is a potent lure.
"[SAS Marketing Optimization] helps us make better decisions. This has a positive effect on our ROI, which increases the profitability of our campaigns," says Andrew Storey, director of decision support, retail marketing, for Scotiabank, a 172-year-old financial services group in Toronto. Storey uses SAS Marketing Optimization to analyze multiple campaigns simultaneously and predict which products should be marketed to which customer.
For example, per company policy the bank does not want to send more than one offer (such as a low-interest credit card, a promotion for new online services or a general brochure outlining the bank's many offerings) at a time to prospects. Using the SAS tool, marketing experts can evaluate all of these options and determine who should get which offer.
Doing this type of analysis on a recent campaign let Scotiabank improve the return on its campaign by more than 50%, according to Storey.
The prospect of being able to generate more profit from limited marketing budgets is the No. 1 reason customers love SAS Marketing Optimization.
"This tool harnesses the power of SAS's analytical engine to drive more revenue," says John Hagerty, vice president of research at Bostons AMR Research Inc. "It's not just a passive analytical exercise. The ideal situation with any marketing or sales optimization technology is that it will deliver new profits."
The second-place finisher, SAS subsidiary DataFlux's dfPower Studio, fits under the umbrella of data cleansing, quality and management. Avery Dennison Corp., a $4.8 billion maker of labels and other consumer products, used dfPower Studio to clean up its consumer database.
Avery Dennison receives customer information via the call center, fax, the Web site, and mailed-in surveys. But because of the nature of the product, there is no account number associated with the customer names and addresses.
"All we had was a bunch of names and addresses. If there was a duplicate or something wrong with the data, we had no way to know about it," says Hossein Hosseini, manager, database marketing, for Avery Dennison in Pasadena, Calif. Hosseini's priority was to clean up the 8 million names stored in the company's Oracle database.
"If you don't have the correct data, you're wasting your time trying to communicate with your customers," says Hosseini.
He liked how dfPowerStudio let him analyze data before setting business rules. For example, he could run a query to determine how many people in the customer list had the title "executive assistant" before creating a rule that customers with the title "executive assistant" should be filed under the "secretary" category.
Hosseini also appreciated its ease of use. He and the other two marketing professionals who use the tool at Avery Dennison were able to pick it up with minimal training.