Using profiling to drive creative strategy at BC Children's Hospital
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Case study: How BC Children's Hospital Foundation is using data to drive creative strategy
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Data: the customer experience enabler By Lori Bieda
anadian companies already rich with customer information - are on a quest to obtain more and better data to fuel their customer experience strategies. As many companies are learning, without data, there is no client experience, without data quality, there’s no sustained loyalty, and without data integration, there’s simply no hope for an omni-channel experience. In research recently conducted by SAS (November 2013), over half of Canadian organizations rate the availability, freshness and quality of data they have today for marketing and customer campaigns excellent or very good, but that’s lower than their US counterparts. Canadian companies plan to make significant investments over the next 24 months to augment their customer experience data. At the top of their list: obtaining more behavioural information about customers, in particular that derived through online channels, and mobile devices. Mobile and Social Data – Key Future Investment From banks to retail, telecomm to services, the smartphone has become the window into the world of consumer behavior. The data captured from these devices is the key to consumer connection. Canadian companies realize the power of mobile data to drive consumer engagement and loyalty with brands, so much so that over the next two years, 39% of Canadian companies surveyed indicate they will invest in obtaining geo-location-based data. That’s on top of the 42% who say they’ve already invested. This creates fruitful ground for location-based marketing initiatives in the future, better mobile app engagement and stronger ongoing reciprocal data feeds with customers as they’re on the go. Savvy Canadian organizations are looking forward setting up the infrastructure now to accept not only mobile numbers, but location-based data in the coming ❱ DMN.ca
two years. Many are thinking through their customer contact strategies to determine how to best capitalize on this new information in ways that are in keeping with their brand, and the level of engagement consumers wish to have with their category. Luckily, Canadian companies are already investing in social media for marketing purposes, with upwards of 40% having social network and social influence data available, but nearly double the investment is planned in the next two years. Organizations are also investing in the social interaction with consumers, creating the infrastructure to extend social media beyond traditional monitoring such as-positive, negative and neutral brand sentiment measurement, and into dialogue and social conversation with prospects and customers. All of this new interaction and information is changing the nature of social data capture and social interactions consumers have with brands, and will have in the future. As social influence becomes more broadly understood and finds a home in the traditional database it will also start to show up in customer segmentation schemes. Where today most organizations are segmenting using customer behaviours, values and attitudes (and the combination thereof), the addition of social influence scores are becoming factors attached to consumer value as well, adding further dimension to what traditional value once represented. The further your reach in your network and more influential you are, the greater your score and value to the brand. Yet, detecting that value and leveraging it for analytics and targeting purposes first begins with capturing it. All roads leading back to good data. It’s Not about the Data; It’s How You Use It It’s not uncommon to be data rich, but insight poor. Having customer information doesn’t mean a company actually has customer knowledge, or
has put that knowledge to work for the good of the customer. Nearly 70% of Canadian companies surveyed are leveraging their customer data for service to sales conversion, a common scenario in which, for example, a customer calls in to inquire about their statement balance, and the company tries to upsell them creditor insurance. Proactive offer presentment and bundled offers are the driving use of customer data today. Sixty-five percent of companies say they’re engaging in loyalty campaigns with an additional twenty percent saying they plan to invest in future. Yet the key to good customer contact – whether it’s the next best offer, or next best action is relevance and in today’s market there’s a rising expectation to be personalized and relevant down to the moment. That’s driving the need to invest in real-time data so that companies have the freshest information possible to engage with clients based on their real-time interests and needs. And it’s primarily the consumer online usage that’s driving the need for speed. Investment in Click Stream Data and Bricks to Clicks Integration Canadians have embraced the internet at an incredibly fast pace: there are currently 26 million Canadians who spend more than 40+ hours per month - viewing more webpages than any other country in the world. With this kind of adoption rate, it’s only natural that brands want to capitalize on this behaviour. That’s why in the next two years there will be a significant investment in obtaining and enhancing clickstream data. While 62% of Canadian companies surveyed have already invested in web analytics, company landing pages and click stream data, that number will exceed 90% in the next two years as companies set out to learn more about client-level behaviour on the web and map back what is happening offline. That complete on-to-offline, bricks-toclicks integration will be essential to
enable the sales and service omnichannel experience. A Customer-Centered Data Strategy In a world of seemingly infinite data possibilities, one thing is true: not all data is created equal, or capable of yielding equal returns back to an organization. While technology is at a unique stage where it can consume more data than ever before, and at a rapid pace, when faced with decisions of which data to connect and bridges to build between systems, management will always need to prioritize. The lens through which to view those decisions always needs to be from the customer first. A data strategy which traces the interactions that a customer has with your brand – both sales and service, direct and indirect are essential to understand because they shape the brand experience and resulting loyalty and share of wallet. The outer layers of information – and there are many which don’t directly touch a customer – are always secondary in a customercentric business model, so prioritize them accordingly. Be excellent at customer-level data availability, freshness, quality and governance and your customer insights will be exceptional too. That data will form the foundation of solid customer interactions. Canadian companies are already heavily invested in customer information, but in the next twentyfour months the level of consumer information they will acquire will be astounding when one considers the plans marketers have for online and mobile data sourced through real-time feeds. Those who are nimble at converting that data into insight through analytics will stand to gain a great competitive advantage and truly give consumers something to tweet about. Lori Bieda is the Executive Lead, Customer Intelligence for SAS Americas.
Excel Add-In Helps Clean Contact Info to Increase Response Rates Imagine you have a database filled with customer, prospect, vendor, donor, or member contact information – but you know the data is dirty. And worse, you have a campaign coming up that you need to get out the door so you can start generating interest and revenue. What do you do? For Michele Williams, executive director at the Altapass Foundation, Inc., this scenario proved to be a reality. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the land, history, and culture of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina – the Altapass Foundation operates the Historic Orchard at Altapass and hosts many public activities. Its large contact database dates back more than 10 years. As a result, outdated and incorrect contact data became one of the foundation’s biggest issues. Another challenge – many of the foundation’s members and donors do not have email, so the foundation relied heavily on sending traditional mail to reach them. The fact that mail was the main form of communication made it even more critical for the foundation to clean, correct, and update their contact data to ensure that their messages were reaching their intended audience. “Every mailing resulted in a significant number of returned mail items,” Williams said. In the past, the foundation searched for an affordable address verification and correction solution that fit their budget, but it would always turn up short. “Every so often, I looked for products to help us keep our database up to date, but until now, I was unable to find software that was affordable for a small nonprofit,” Williams explained. The foundation also needed a solution that would work seamlessly in Excel, as most of its contact information was stored in Microsoft® Excel. “I had already exported our database to Excel, so for us, it was a nobrainer,” Williams noted.
with some records dating back more than 10 years, or those that have moved as recently as the last month. Updating and verifying their contact information proved to be a major turning point for Altapass. After using Listware, the foundation saw a dramatic decrease in returned mail. “This past December, after running our database through Listware, I mailed postcards to over 400 people with whom we had not had contact for four to eight years. Only one postcard was returned!” Williams said. Listware for Excel also enhances your data by filling in gaps of information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Adding email addresses is an important feature to Williams, as she would like to expand their communication efforts via email in the future. Listware will also geocode or add latitude/longitude coordinates to an address, to help organizations gain an even better understanding of their contact’s location. All in all, this entire process ensures that you have the most relevant and accurate contact information available. CLEANING DATA IS SO EASY AND AFFORDABLE What Williams liked the most about Listware was its ease of use. Listware for Excel allows you to simply select a table or range of records in a worksheet to clean your data. “What I like best about Listware for Excel is the fact that it is an Excel add-on. Since I use Excel already for Mail Merges in Microsoft Office, my data was already in a form that could be processed by Listware.” The affordability factor also drew Williams to use Listware for Excel. “With Listware, the cost is based on the amount of data, and the rates are very affordable. For about $100, I was able to process over 10,000 names, addresses, and phone numbers,” she said.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT WITH MELISSA DATA Williams discovered Melissa Data’s Listware for Excel add-in, a data verification and enrichment tool that integrates directly into Excel. Listware uses Melissa Data’s flagship Personator™ technology to enable any user to verify and correct U.S. and Canadian contact data – as well as update and enrich existing records with information from a large multi-sourced database. By harnessing the power of Personator, Listware for Excel allows users to go beyond simple contact data validation by cross-referencing if a name corresponds to an address, email, and phone data. Now an organization has the confidence knowing that all data touch points are associated with a contact. One of Listware’s newer features is its “Move Update” function, which returns current addresses of individuals or businesses that have moved,
“I gave Listware a try, testing it on known cases. It is very easy to use and it worked perfectly,” Williams said. “[I was able to] process all of our database entries. I now have the data I need to ensure that our database is accurate.” With Listware for Excel, organizations can easily update, correct, and complete their mailing lists for more effective and profitable sales, marketing, and outreach efforts.
Targeting & Acquisiton
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Profiling drives creative strategy The challenge BC Children’s Hospital Foundation wanted to improve the performance of a well-established Annual direct mail appeal and connect more directly with donors through the campaign. The solution Blakely recommended the application of data profiling to better target creative messages to the unique audiences within the donor base. We wanted to demonstrate the power of engaging people with images and messages that resonate with them – and improve the performance of the campaign. Using Generation5 (now Environics Analytics) we created four specific super groups of people and targeted our creative images on the outer envelope to the specific profile. Four groups were created with a control package in each. Any donor who did not fall into one of the four profile groups, was put into control. Imagery and tag lines were used to target the groups – with the inside package being identical for all. ❱ DMN.ca
The profiles enabled our creative teams to discover relevant information about who these donors were as people – from what their passions and values are as a group, what stage of the lifecycle they are in and how they perceive charitable giving. The donor segments showed similar qualities with respect to their sense of community and family, however the differences were diverse enough that four different image testing packages were created. Blakely has done testing with outer envelopes and package components for many clients – but the decision was made to only test the outer envelope in this campaign rather than additional variable images and messages inside the package to ensure the testing outcomes were clear. The creative Golden Opportunities A Fine Balance Wealth & Well Being Ying Yang Opportunities
Messaging Wealth & Well-Being: A more personalized approach in “giving back” to the community A Fine Balance: Speaks to the strength of building a family Ying Yang Portfolios: Speaks to their cultural and community values Golden Opportunities: Addresses their cumulative life experiences (home, career, family) and “giving back” to the community. The results The campaign delivered 17% more revenue than the year previous with a majority of the increase coming from the successful test groups – specifically two of the profiled groups delivered well above the control response rate and average gift. The top performing segment – The “Fine Balance” test package delivered a 71 % increase in response rate (over control) and the second best performing package – “Golden Opportunities” delivered a 3% higher Feb/March 2014
Targeting & Acquisition
response rate and a 4% increase in average gift. The two other package tests did not perform on response rate as well as control, but still delivered an 11% and 25% increase in higher average gift over control. BC Children’s Hospital Foundation was elated with the overall performance improvements on this campaign and the impact the profiling had on donor engagement. The next steps include a full roll out of the creative approach with several of the profiled groups and the continued testing of the other segments using imagery and messaging to further involve people in the organization’s mission. In addition, further enhancements on the digital integration side will allow for increased testing of message and imagery and enhance the overall engagement of the donor groups within this specific campaign. Agency: Blakely VP Client Relationships & Donor Journey Champion: Kimberley Blease Campaign Planner: Sue Kelley Campaign Strategist: Lisa Danziger Creative Director: Heather Vanderlinde VP Insights: Jeff Eland Operations Manager: Brenda Rusnell Client: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Loretta Lawrence: Director of Philanthropy Jas Jhooty: Officer, Philanthropy Clockwise (from Top Left): A Fine Balance, Wealth & Well Being, Ying Yang Opportunities and Golden Opportunities
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Targeting & Acquisition
CASL’s impact on email marketers:
acquisition, permission and more By Matthew Vernhout
hen Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) comes into force on July 1, 2014 will you be ready? If your organization sends emails, texts or any other commercial electronic messages (CEMs), CASL will impact you. With still a few months until implementation it’s important that you use this interim time wisely to review your email programs and create a plan that will have you in good standing come July 1st. I’ve been working with the CRTC and other organizations on this legislation since it was first conceived and since then I have attended conferences and seminars all over North America talking to marketers about CASL, privacy and deliverability in email. The main thing most marketers want to know is what the impact of CASL will be on their messaging programs and how email acquisition, list growth, permissions, etc. should be handled in the future. Now that we have been able to properly review the final regulations here is a brief summary.
Acquisition Tactics – Welcome Programs, Email Appends & F2F Many top marketers will have already created Email Welcome Programs, but if you’re one that has not yet gotten around to doing so, implementing one will be crucial under CASL. In general, good welcome programs have been lacking in the industry which, is unfortunate because they are easy to implement and help to facilitate and reinforce the prescribed information in your email programs. Key to any good Welcome Program is to: ❯❯ Welcome your new subscribers (The sooner the better). ❯❯ Outline the benefits of your email program. ❯❯ Set expectations on the types and frequency of messaging you will be sending. ❯❯ Encourage your subscribers to add your email address to their address book for improved deliverability. ❯❯ Reinforce the prescribed information, set out under CASL, ❱ DMN.ca
to consumers at the time of sign up. (This is especially important for POS or call center subscriptions) A welcome program also gives email marketers a means to contact your subscribers early on in the relationship which, according to much research tends to increase engagement over a subscribers lifetime. Forward to a Friend buttons are as old email itself; but under CASL they are likely to disappear. With CASL’s focus so much around obtaining proper consent, marketers will likely find themselves not in compliance if they are to send any electronic message to someone who has not directly opted-in, such as happens in a Forward to a Friend email. Social Sharing will take centre stage, if it has not already. Lastly, Email appending is the practice of matching known customer data (first name, last name, and postal address) against a vendor’s database to obtain email addresses. As consent has not been provided by individuals in these cases and sending an email to ask for consent is considered a CEM under the law, email appends and email purchasing will be deemed unlawful under the new legislation. These practices have always been a matter of concern for many email marketers and email service providers and will finally come under rule with CASL. List Growth List Growth is where CASL may have its greatest impact. While many marketers have come to expect their email lists to grow at a healthy rate each year, under CASL, marketers will likely see growth decline. With CASL marketers are going to need to be more tactful with their list growth practices to maintain this rate and even so their lists will likely grow at a slower rate. The main reason for this is that CASL requires express consent. This means no pre-checked boxes. Stats show that the majority of people will not uncheck a box that is pre-checked. As a result, many email marketers grow their lists simply due to this fact of human nature. However, under
CASL, pre-checked boxes will be ruled-out and due to the same fact of human nature, the majority of people will not check a box that has not been pre-checked, and lists will grow at a slower rate. Under CASL marketers will also face an “expiry of consent”. In a pre-CASL world, marketers could keep subscribers on their list for all eternity (or at least until the email address bounced out), whereas, come July 1st this will not be the case. According to CASL regulations, once you have implied consent for a contact, you have two years to mail an individual or to gain express consent. For organizations with short purchase cycles (i.e. Grocers, Financial Institutions, Retailers) this won’t likely pose a challenge. However, for those businesses with long purchase cycles (i.e. appliances, automotive, furniture) this will likely have an impact and force marketers to rethink their strategies. This is not all bad news as it will encourage marketers to implement new lifecycle programs that target and engage customers in between major purchases and lead to increased lifetime revenues. The key for marketer will be to build a better sales funnel and to be more aggressive in their list growth strategies in order to both attract and retain subscribers. Unsubscribe Processes CASL is going to encourage marketers to move their implied consents to express in order to retain more customers. Preference centres will likely prove to be a popular approach, providing customers with greater control over their subscriptions. With a preference centre, subscribers can also be presented with options to “Opt-down” rather than “Opt-out” completely (this is still a required option though). This means that if you typically send a “daily” you would provide a choice to your subscribers to instead receive a “weekly” or “monthly” or receive emails only on specific topics of their choosing. Providing granular control typically leads to reduced list fatigue and churn.
Due to the “expiry of consent” for implied subscriptions Re-engagement Programs will be given a higher priority under CASL. Because there is a two-year window marketers will be encouraged to try and reengage subscribers before they are lost for good. Four steps to a successful re-engagement program are: 1. Give subscribers a reason to re-engage with your brand. Consider providing an incentive. 2. Think about your content and the subscriber experience. Your email design should make it easy for subscribers to act on your call to action to upgrade to express consent or complete another action that will satisfy the implied consent requirements of CASL. 3. Test, Test, Test! Whether it’s the subject line, copy, layout or offer, ensure it is well tested so that you know what is the most effective for your audience. 4. Review your results and make the necessary changes. Conclusion Digital Marketers should not expect to see their email metrics decline after July 1st when CASL comes into effect, but they do need to ensure that they’re properly prepared for its implementation. In the coming months it would be advised that marketers review their messaging strategy including list hygiene processes, pre-deployment rituals and deployment processes to ensure that all requirements are met under CASL. Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging
industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional with more than 10 years of experience in email marketing. Through his years of practical experience in both privacy and network operations, he is an astute problem solver with both strategic and technical experience. At Inbox Marketer, Matt is responsible for the privacy and deliverability team working to ensure our clients achieve industry leading deliverability. He also ensures that clients are compliant with all regulations including CAN-SPAM, PIPEDA and Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).
Targeting & Acquisition
Retain and strengthen existing client relationships We’ve all heard that the best opportunities for growth are with existing clients. It’s a nice sentiment but how do you leverage their potential? By Steve Falk
etention strategies are often subtle and require discipline and a consistency of execution that trips up marketers. Since they are not big bang campaigns with bells and whistles we sometimes ignore them or dismiss them as unworthy of our attention. You overlook your existing clients at your peril. Just compare the cost to acquire a new client versus the cost to retain one. Most marketers have this data somewhere or at least a sense that it can cost hundreds of dollars for each new client but that their lifetime value to the organization warrants this investment. A budget for retaining an existing client is a fraction of the cost and can be justified by assessing the value of keeping that client for another year or two of recurring sales (say, a subscription or monthly donation) or for the next big purchase in the distant future. These strategies may not be so helpful if a sale is very infrequent, say, a swimming pool. They are most potent in sectors where there are recurring annual or monthly sales or for big ticket items that occur infrequently but at regular intervals, such as household furnishings or automobiles. Data drives these retention strategies so the best ones are founded upon a solid CRM tool that collects and shares client data. Ideally, the CRM tool can be used to launch the campaigns themselves, such as an email “Thank you” note or a scheduled “re-engagement” invitation to a special offer after a specified period of time has passed. Home furnishing sector says “thank-you” The home furnishing sector is a good example. They sell valuable items at fairly regular intervals and clients can be expected to show interest in future offers. Most stores have a cash register data collecting system and deliveries of washers, beds and couches mean that full addresses, phone and contact Feb/March 2014
names are all collected during the transaction. What I am going to illustrate is not a new technique. We had a family friend, Larry, who was an old school appliance salesperson who understood the retention principle. As each appliance was delivered he would scribble out a nice thank-you note and post it. Return business fuelled his lifetime in the business. So applying this strategy to today’s reality can mean using some marketing automation to send out the thank-you post card or email. There are a number of add-ons to popular CRM tools or you can schedule a regular, say, weekly, extract of the sales including contact information and other transaction details in a file. Most retailers don’t have automation-enabled check-out software but can at least manage a simple manual weekly extract by an employee who emails it or drops it in vendor ftp folder for processing. These files can be used to print thank you cards or postcards with enticements to come back for a lamp for the end of that couch they just purchased. Mentioning the previous purchase by name and personalizing the note with the buyer’s name will give the most impact. With automation this can be as easy a dropping the file into an ftp folder and the files can be automatically merged into email or printed and mailed communications. The key to success is the discipline to schedule and maintain this cycle. Events and special offers should also be directed to existing clients first. Instinct may be telling you to blanket an area with unaddressed admail invitations or to put an ad in the local newspaper for an automotive open-house sale. Experienced auto dealers know that their existing client base is their best source of potential sales. Extracting records of sales from three years previous or older will target a group most likely ready to buy a car again. Using that data to
You overlook your existing clients at your peril. Just compare the cost to acquire a new client versus the cost to retain one.
create a tasteful invitation with a stamp will inspire the client, who is already predisposed to this car brand, to consider a visit to the dealer and upgrade the aging chariot. Retaining relationships with visitors to your website, or to those whom you’ve sent an estimate or proposal are also important goals. Collect as much data as you can. A short questionnaire can grab an opt-in email or contact information on a quote will become invaluable information. You can flag these groups as having high potential and your special offers might not have to be so costly for this group since you know they are pre-qualified to be a purchaser. Finally, there is the last ditch effort to bring a departing client back from the brink. If you can do the research and understand when it is most likely that a client will stop buying from you then you can use that information to reach out to them as they are most likely to leave. For instance, you might find that the average client stays for three years after the first purchase and then moves on. You’ll find it is worth reaching out with a compelling offer at this late stage and trying to re-engage them. If they don’t respond, you can probably mark this as client as “lapsed”. Further efforts to engage them become less and less likely as time passes. Remember that if you remove them from email lists then it can increase your open rate. If your list contains a high percentage of lapsed contacts, unlikely to respond, then it becomes difficult to understand your real open and conversion rates. Retention programs are direct marketing’s drip campaigns. Not too splashy but effective
and based upon the premise that an existing client is your best opportunity for growth. Bring some discipline and consistency to your organization’s treatment of existing clients and you’ll realize the benefits. Steve Falk is president of Prime Data whose
clients benefit by bringing technological innovation and marketing automation together with variable data printing and direct mail.
The trouble with Part 1 By Richard Boire
s Big Data continues to overwhelm any kind of discussion on almost any kind of topic, the fact is that to some extent it is a Brave New World, pardon the Aldous Huxley book title reference. According to some experts, the capability of accessing Big Data will determine the real winners in our “Knowledge Economy”. But is this necessarily true? Does having access to an infinite volume of data the key to success? We often hear the common refrain of many businesses that “Big Data will be a key component in driving their business”. The continuing hype surrounding this topic has created the notion that lack of recognition of this new Big Data paradigm will spell disaster for the company’s bottom line. Certainly, this is subject to some debate but Big Data is here and not going away. All organizations need to better understand what this means in terms of impact to their business. Rather than determining how their business fits into Big Data, successful organizations will determine how Big Data aligns with their business. Defining Big Data from the data mining perspective However, let’s first arrive at what we mean by Big Data in today’s environment. Certainly, for experienced data miners/data scientists, predictive modellers, etc., the concept of big data in the traditional sense has meant millions of records with structured fields. A good example of this is a bank’s customer file (millions of records) and transaction (hundreds of millions of records). The challenge of mining and analyzing this type of financial institution data has been around for well over twenty years. In the early days (early nineties), sampling techniques were employed to effective mine the data due to limited data processing technology. As technology has improved with Hadoop type technologies, sample sizes are becoming relics of the past. Instead, analytics can occur on the entire population in question. Yet, the analyst’s data mining approach in dealing with data has not changed. Many of the same technologies and software can still be used while newer technologies aid in the data processing and ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) type functions. On the data processing front, techniques are required in terms of distributed file processing and
map-reduce technologies that help to significantly reduce the amount of time to process these large volumes of data. But as stated above, the data processing only represents one challenge with Big Data. The other challenge relates to being able to read in the data properly (Extract, Transform, and Load). With Digital data arising from many different sources, consistent file formats are the exception rather than the rule. Instead, data arrives in many different formats. The variable nature of this data not only occurs between data sources (Facebook vs. Linked-In) but even within the same source, variable file formats are often the norm. Newer capabilities in being able to ETL this data as buckets or packets of data rather than structured rows or columns is the key to working with these variable file formats. Traditional analytical approaches still apply So what exactly does this mean to the practitioner? For the most part, the overall approach does not change. Data still needs to be worked in terms of creating the right analytical file that will help to resolve the current business problem or challenge. However, the practitioner needs to understand whether Big Data and in particular that data arising from social media sources is required to solve the particular business problem or challenge. For example, if we are trying to identify high-risk defectors from a company, information concerning their relationship with the company as well as non high risk defectors would typically be available in
the more traditional database systems within the company. The technologies and software used to analyze this data and to build predictive models would be the more traditional ones that practitioners have used over the years. The structured nature of the data lends itself completely to the more traditional approach. But then the analyst needs to understand the benefit of incorporating BIG Data from the digital ether of social media. If the current performance lift from a given solution using structured data yields a 10 to 1 lift differential between the top decile and bottom decile when records are ranked by the solution, does crossing the digital divide into the social media world worth the additional effort? Are we going to increase that performance level beyond 10 to 1. Certainly, in building targeting tools, efforts to add additional information beyond what is available in structured data, would in most cases yield no significant improvement in results. But what about trying to determine what are the appropriate data sources prior to building a solution? Do we sense that our data is strong enough to produce
Cover Story a very good solution? The key in making this decision, though, is what is available within the structured data environment. Are we capturing rich transaction behavior and are we storing activities that the customer does with the company as well as activities that the company does to the customer. If so, and if a data audit reveals that this data is very robust (values make sense and few missing values), then it is highly likely that the existing structured data will yield a very good targeted solution. The need to process Big Data from various social media channels would produce diminishing marginal returns. When to use the newer Big Data technologies But when is it worthwhile to cross the digital divide? If we were being asked to understand what causes defection, then we might surmise that information from structured data, although excellent in producing targeted lists of high-risk defectors, is limited in attempting to get at the root cause of defection. Yet, the ability to analyze unstructured data in some of the various social media channels could provide more meaningful information. Let’s examine this in more detail. The analyst could conduct a search on Twitter for any comments that contain the company’s name or brand over a specific time period. Sentiment analysis would be conducted immediately to indeed see if defection is a growing concern. Increasing negative scores overtime might indicate the need for a special projects team devoted to retention. Text mining would then be employed to identify particular
themes or topics from all the Twitter commentary. The analyst would focus on those themes or topics which represent negative commentary. These themes or topics would then be examined to determine which negative themes or topics have been increasing over the period of time. At the same time, the more positive themes or topics would be examined to see which ones have been decreasing over time. The insight from these results would lead to recommendations on how to best retain the customer. Word of mouth marketing Word of Mouth marketing has always been a critical component in the marketer’s toolkit. With Big Data, more rigor and science can now be employed to identify better allocation of resources within this area. As we have been hearing in the mainstream media, metadata or the analysis of that person’s communication network has been used by government to fight terrorism but has also roused the interest of experts concerning its contravention of basic privacy principles. Without getting into the pros and cons surrounding this debate, metadata can also be used by marketers to identify a given person’s social media network. For example, how many people are friends or how many people are following or connecting with a given individual? An individual might be a low value customer within a given organization but have a very strong network that yields many of that person’s followers, connections, or friends to purchase products and services from that
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Discussion points in the next article Within our ever-growing digital world, analytics solutions are applied specifically within this medium. As solutions are built and applied within the digital sphere, what does this mean in terms of Big Data Analytics and how is it different than Non Big Data Analytics. In the next article, I will explore what analytics means to the data mining practitioner when looking at its various digital applications vis a vis behavioural advertising, mobile analytics, locationbased analytics, as well as client-specific web-based predictive models. Richard Boire is a partner with analytics company Boire Filler Group, Richard Boire has been helping companies use their information to help in making better decisions for over 30 years. His role is more on the analytics/technical side with a view on this to improve overall business results
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same organization. Analytics can be done to prioritize these type of customers who are often referred to as mavens. Word of Mouth programs can then be targeted to those customers who are the best mavens. Keep in mind, though, that these social media channels are still in growth mode and tend to have a bias that emphasizes a younger cohort. This is important as this bias will have more impact depending on the age demographic of a given organization. Organizations need to be cognizant of this in imputting results from social media to their customer base. Yet, this bias is a diminishing one.
In this information packed session hear from the experts who are using data to better engage with their customers. If you’re looking to deliver relevant targeted communications - regardless of offer, channel or segment - you won’t want to miss this breakfast briefing.
Jacob Ciesielski, General Manager and President, InfoCanada from Infogroup
Jason Warnock, Vice President of
Market Intelligence, Yesmail Interactive
Michael Fisher, President, Yes Lifecycle Marketing, an Infogroup company
For marketers who are trying to track their competitors’ digital marketing efforts, this session will also cover how the use of competitive intelligence in data-driven strategy can help them to stay ahead of the curve.
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Engagement & Analytics
Navigating Big Data to create lasting customer relationships
By Michael Poyser
Growth in Big Data We now know that the increasing digitization of nearly every aspect of modern consumer life and the resulting proliferation of Big Data has profound implications for marketers. Not only has this created a wider availability of detailed customer behavioural data, but also more ‘influencer’ points to effect consumer behaviour at every stage of the purchase process. This is, of course, if you properly navigate the vast breadth of data available. From megabytes to gigabytes, we now speak of petabytes or zettabytes of data. Five billion people around the world now use cell phones to send texts, tweets, make phone calls and search the Internet. WalMart processes more than one million transactions per hour. YouTube adds 100 hours of video every minute and 100 terabytes of data is uploaded to Facebook each day. This digital universe is growing exponentially. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 35 zettabytes of data will be created annually by 2020. Today, the entire World Wide Web is estimated to have reached 4 zettabytes. The numbers are mind-boggling. It is important to have the capability to sift ❱ DMN.ca
through the data to distinguish the gold from the gravel. Information around the world is being captured and analyzed in various ways in order to better understand customer interactions and to build meaningful relationships. These opportunities present new ways to extract and refine customer
data to deliver better marketing insight and greater customer relevance, as well as building brand loyalty. Aimia’s Nectar coalition loyalty program in the UK recently collaborated with Yahoo! and provides an example of data analytics being used to extract meaningful customer insights. The two companies Feb/March 2014
Engagement & Analytics got together to launch Consumer Connect, which tracks offline sales from online advertising campaigns, driving accountability and return on investment. First, Nectar created an online target audience group using an opted-in panel of customers; second, Nectar compared the purchase behaviour of the target group exposed to the online advertising to the behaviour of a control group. The analysis included a breakdown of sales drivers, new-buyer penetration, frequency, basket size, and other factors providing a deeper understanding of the customer. The potential of data analytics to uncover new customer insight, to track behaviour, and to communicate relevant offers to consumers in real time has been proven to work and will be a game changer for the marketing industry. Data analytics will allow us to interact with customers more regularly, through multiple channels, and deliver virtually “always on” marketing that finds customers wherever they are and through any medium they happen to be in front of, whether PC, mobile, tablet, or television. But sometimes the desire to achieve business results often outstrips the desire to meet customers on their own terms. Whether Big Data heralds a new golden age of marketing and real relationships will depend upon how well brands and consumers work together to bridge this divide. Helping marketers make business personal The widely accepted new reality is that every consumer-facing company in every industry must develop and execute a data-based customer loyalty strategy in order to build value into their customer relationships. Companies that fail to evolve their loyalty strategy at the enterprise level will increasingly find themselves falling by the wayside. When it comes to customer data, marketers must not lose sight of the notion of reciprocity. For marketers, relationship value comes in the form of increased customer lift, share of wallet, and lifetime value. For customers, value comes in the form of rewards and recognition that strengthen their loyalty and from the delight of discovering new products and services. Customers are committed to brands that demonstrate commitment to them. Aimia helps to achieve this commitment by using data to make
The potential of data analytics to uncover new customer insight, to track behaviour, and to communicate relevant offers to consumers in real time has been proven to work and will be a game changer for the marketing industry. business personal. It might mean recognizing them with personalized status through a tiered loyalty program or by using customer data and insight to provide better service, merchandising, store design, and pricing. It means delivering relevant messages, at the right time, that provide clear value to your customer’s preferred device. These tactics demonstrate commitment to the client’s best customers. Best practices In Canada as well as many other countries, consumer facing brands are struggling with the noise of Big Data and are receiving conflicting messages about needing to incorporate all types of data as fast as possible to truly understand their customers. We advise our clients to take a step back, to outline what they want to achieve, and from that, we work with them to develop data strategies that meet their objectives. We did this at our recent “data philanthropy” event in Canada. Aimia’s data scientists and analysts donated their time and expertise to help a group of not-for-profit organizations analyze their data and make recommendations to meaningfully improve their programs. Using the donor bases of Engineers Without Borders, the United Way [National and Toronto], and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s (AGO) Weston Family Learning Centre, several hundreds of thousands of records were analyzed and actionable insights were produced. In addition to sharing recommendations on how to do this, Aimia also shared data management best practices with the organizations – to help them better manage their data upfront allowing for higher quality data to leverage going forward. Engineers Without Borders learned that while revenue from individual donors had been increasing, an enormous opportunity exists in increasing
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retention of supporters through repeat gifts. Meanwhile, effectively managed social media could represent a significant increase in funds raised per year for United Way Centraide Canada. The AGO was provided recommendations around how to attract new customers, drive repeat enrolment, as well as encourage members to attend more than one class. A little bit of insight uncovered significant opportunity for these organizations to more effectively raise funds, engage customers or optimize services. As illustrated by the charities, the management and collection of relevant data from a multitude of data points can be daunting for brands who are just now venturing into data driven decision activity. Considering a smaller volume in isolation, as these three not-for-profits will be doing going forward, acts as a starting point in deconstructing Big Data. It is more important to think about Smart Data and Big Insights. The value is less about collecting all that you can as the volume increases, but ensuring that you focus on those critical data points that can be actionable and can produce solutions for your business objectives. At Aimia, we are helping our clients to turn new streams of information into Smart Data so that they have a fuller view of their end customer and, as importantly, to ensure that consumers get a proper value exchange for entrusting their data to us. In the end, the data insights will be what will lead great companies to creating the best and most personal customer experience. Despite Big Data, our ultimate aim as marketers remains unchanged: to identify, understand and influence best customers to build loyalty, tenure, and advocacy. Michael Poyser is the Vice President of Aimia’s Analytics Division
for Europe and the Middle East. He is responsible for driving analytics across Aimia’s client base including Nectar, proprietary loyalty and Intelligent Shopper Solutions (ISS).
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Engagement & Analytics
The interior of Alterna Saving’s new flagship branch that opened last June in downtown Ottawa.
On becoming an analytics organization Alterna Savings’ journey to a 360-degree view of its customers By Catherine Pearson
wo years ago, as many companies began overhauling their market strategies following the recession, Alterna Savings faced some familiar challenges: tough competition, complicated decision-making, imperatives to grow its customer base. Alterna’s response, however, was anything but conventional. Rather than deal with the problems on a piecemeal, departmental basis, Alterna revamped its operations to become an analytics-based organization sharing a 360-degree view of its customers across the enterprise. Of course, no company can overhaul its operations overnight—especially one that’s been in business since 1908. As Ontario’s second-largest credit union, Alterna Savings currently serves more than 100,000 members as a financial cooperative. With 24 locations, the member-owned institution offers a full range of financial products and services, all ❱ DMN.ca
with a commitment to supporting the well-being of members, employees and communities. But to Pamela Stewart, Alterna’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, the September 2011 decision to change the way it did business was “the beginning of a journey.” At the time, Alterna segmented its members by financial holdings and made marketing decisions “based on intuition from our old legacy records,” says Stewart. “We couldn’t tell you who our highest potential members were. And our marketing team was concerned that we weren’t talking to the right people.” In today’s era of Big Data, the credit union didn’t lack for customer information in its member database. Its Big Challenge, however, was identifying and extracting the key data that would provide the insights necessary to help them better connect with members and prospects. “We were segmenting on
dollar holdings only,” recalls Stewart. “It was one dimensional and we learned that we were missing opportunities to connect with our membership.” Specifically, Alterna wanted to know how to augment the credit union’s own rich data with external databases and tools to build customized member segments that would help them acquire new members and better engage existing ones. Just as important, they were interested in spreading their customer-centric analytics across the organization. “We wanted to show how everything works together,” says Stewart. “We needed to bring together IT, product, marketing, retail and our wealth partners to help us identify new business opportunities across our lines of business. So it was critical to see what our customers look like.” Starting with the question “Who are our best customers?”, Alterna’s marketing team gathered Feb/March 2014
Engagement & Analytics
Pamela Stewart is Alterna Saving’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
more quantitative insights to define opportunities and increase engagement,” says Stewart. “We saw the work as a journey to becoming an analytics organization, and the results are worth the time and effort.” For Alterna, when it comes to connecting with customers—both current and future—the journey never really ends.
Values data have given Alterna branch managers insight into how to communicate with Catherine Pearson is Vice President and Practice Leader, in members during phone calls using language that charge of the finance, insurance, travel and telecommunications resonates with them. The PRIZM-linked media and sectors, at Environics Analytics. SMR 046 THE Data Specialists Ad FNL.qxp_Layout 1 2014-02-03 8:02 PM lifestyle data helped marketers develop unaddressed ad mail to high-potential markets and target groups. “For the first time, we had a common understanding of our members and a starting point for developing common metrics to measure the outcome of our strategies,” observes Stewart. “There’s been a change in thinking through our tactics.” Although Alterna’s new customercentric approach is still in its early stages, branch managers offer anecdotal • Data analytics & customer profiling evidence that their new strategy is • Consumer, Business & Specialty lists working. “We know we’re talking to the • Clean, low NIS rate & high PC level coverage right people now,” says Stewart. “We’re • Geo-demographic & Ethnic targeting no longer talking to the same people on
members of other departments— including senior executives, IT and retail experts, and product managers—to participate in the customer-centric initiatives. The company also engaged Environics Analytics (EA) to guide them on the journey to becoming an analyticsbased organization. With the first order of business to understand its in-house data, EA analysts undertook a large-scale segmentation of its members using EA datasets like PRIZMC2 (lifestyles), WealthScapes (wealth) and DemoStats (demographics). Analysts then turned to Alterna data to identify the topperforming member segments based on member behaviour such as their level of product engagement and length of membership. The dominant PRIZM segments that emerged from the member analysis were combined into distinct target groups, which were detailed in summaries that provided comprehensive views of members’ lifestyles and habits. And the results helped Alterna officials better understand their customers, calculate wallet share and determine opportunities for growth. With the imaging profiles, all departments now had a common understanding of Alterna’s members and how to communicate with them. By classifying members into target groups, the analysis showed that Alterna’s best customers in Toronto—such as members of Winner’s Circle (well-off, middle-aged exurban families) and Pets & PCs (large, upscale suburban families)—are different from those in Ottawa—which included members of Money & Brains (upscale, educated couples and families) and Suburban Rows (younger, thriving immigrant families). A gap analysis allowed analysts to calculate market and wallet share, and it indicated where branches had an opportunity to increase sales of financial products like GICs and mortgages—and where they didn’t. It also helped Alterna develop a “win-back strategy” to re-engage lapsed members. “Branch managers appreciated the imaging profiles,” says Stewart. “They could finally visualize who they were talking to. And marketers could use the profiles for unaddressed mail campaigns. They helped us develop the wording and images for the messaging and creative.” The analysis also helped Alterna reduce attrition. EA analyst Mark Harrison developed a retention model that identified early warning signs of members contemplating moving their business elsewhere— key triggers to re-engage those members. As Stewart puts it, “If we can understand the triggers, we can get proactive to try and keep them as a customer.” With its members now at the centre of its business strategy, the credit union has applied data-driven insights across the organization—from executives to front-line staff—to strengthen its relationship with current members and attract new ones. Social
the same lists. We’re seeing an increase in sales. There is positive momentum in branches.” By linking member behaviour to PRIZM, Alterna’s team is now able to better leverage the role of analytics in marketing and other activities—and link everything together. Indeed, the effort to take Alterna to an analytics-based organization has been so successful, says Stewart, that credit union executives have no interest in seeing the initiative come to an end. “The work left Alterna with a thirst for
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Engagement & Analytics
The Weather Network
Bringing order to big data through innovation, testing and learning By Adam Froman
he proliferation of data analytic tools and technologies is overwhelming for organizations that are struggling to not only collect and integrate consumer data, but also with how to interpret it. Dashboards present an exciting and compelling proposition. But, dashboard technologies alone are not the solution to harnessing Big Data. And the trouble is, too many organizations make the mistake of approaching dashboards from a data or technology perspective. When Delvinia was reviewing its R&D agenda in late 2012, we identified a real innovation challenge that we wanted to address: the creation of a dashboard beginning from a humancentred perspective. We wanted to look beyond technology and focus on a strategic solution. While technology platforms are always evolving and new technologies emerging, by focusing on the underlying strategy and applying a human-centred design approach, we tend to ensure that the solution can be sustainable. Throughout our 15 years, Delvinia’s innovation agenda has focused on R&D associated with the application of technology to help solve current business problems. This approach has enabled us to establish a longstanding record of success in securing government R&D funding. In this instance, we obtained funding from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to support the investment of internal staff resources. Since we did not have the analytical capability internally to analyze large amounts of data to identify trends and build algorithms, we also secured an academic research grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to allow us to partner with Dr. Xiao-Ping (Steven) Zhang from Ryerson University’s Department of Electrical Engineering. With our R&D funding in place, we then set out to test our hypothesis for businesses that are trying to
figure out how to unlock the potential of near real-time data from various sources, and to determine how to enable decision makers to quickly view and access the information they need. To bring this exciting initiative to life we needed a client partner, so we approached Pelmorex Media, owners of The Weather Network (TWN). Their research team was collecting large amounts of data from various sources as well as their various media platforms and analyzing this data to provide brand health reports to their executives. Carol Pilas, Director of Market Research at Pelmorex Media, was intrigued by the concept of a user-centric dashboard. Although important, investing in a dashboard was not a priority for her organization, so the opportunity to participate in a research project where she could get relevant insight for her business was very interesting. What she wanted the dashboard to do was to answer the question: what’s our brand health? Also, she wanted to know whether a user-centric dashboard could improve the speed to provide insights to her executives. This became our focus. We wanted to find a way to cut through the clutter and the noise and to present data in a way that would simplify it down so someone—a CEO or senior executive—could quickly absorb it. So, we stepped back and asked ourselves: “As a CEO, if you walked into your office every day and you were able to see something to help you make better decisions, what would that look like?” To answer that question, we had to get into the mind of the user. To carry out the development of the dashboard prototype, our team first defined the user audience, and since Carol prepared the current reports for
By taking a user-centric approach to our dashboard, it enables the user to make better decisions, while changing the role for the research department, which is evidenced in the positive feedback we received from our partner.” the executive team and answered their questions, she was able to provide the user-experience perspective on how the data needed to be presented and interpreted. Through many discussions between our Delvinia team, Ryerson and TWN, the Ryerson engineers were able to find a way to connect the data and build a dataset that could be correlated to build an algorithm based upon all of TWN’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to create one number, a brand health score from 1 – 100. The homepage of the dashboard provides the user with a snapshot of an overall brand health score. From there, with one click the user can look at each of the media channels (television, online and mobile) that are feeding the brand health index to see the brand health score for each. Finally, one more click takes the user to the each of the components feeding the algorithm: reach, traffic, engagement and ad monetization. Within three clicks an executive can figure out who they need to talk to about why the brand health number is up or down. The user interface, designed after the brand health index was developed, is based upon how the user would want to view the data. It is a simple and intuitive application that provides
one brand health score, which is a true differentiator from other tools available in today’s marketplace. Our approach to building a Big Data dashboard wasn’t just about aggregating data and presenting in a pre-developed template. That’s what technology-driven solutions are doing. We wanted to be able to tell a different story. By taking a usercentric approach to our dashboard, it enables the user to make better decisions, while changing the role for the research department, which is evidenced in the positive feedback we received from our partner. “This is a tool that would be very useful from our company’s perspective, for the top executives who don’t have time to go through dozens of reports in a day,” says Pilas. “The algorithm takes all the different metrics and makes them speak to one another.” Adam Froman is the CEO of Delvinia, a
Toronto-based digital strategy, experience design and innovation company he founded in 1998. Throughout his career, Adam has dedicated himself and his company to helping clients respond to the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies bring to customer relationships. His first book, Delve In, Dig Deep: An Entrepreneurial Journey is available in eBook stores now. Feb/March 2014
Operations & Logistics
How data drives back-end fulfillment date and where it is in transit. This is all vauable information for the customer service department should the custome inquire. The carrier also produces a proof of delivery. The order is now complete and can be billed. The Fulfillment systm collects revenue and the customer is billed.
By Donna Kutter
rder fulfillment is an operation that runs on data as much as it runs on inventory and labour. Data drives the whole process of fulfillment right from the customer order through to delivery. Viewing your process as a data collection process can help you improve the process and while improving service and minimizing costs. The Data Train As an order moves through the fulfillment process from order entry to billing, imagine it like a train. The order collects data every step of the way. Your fulfillment system should provide you a way to collect and organize all this data tied to an individual order so that it can be looked at individually or grouped together with other orders. Here’s a look at the whole data system. For example, when Jane places an order the front-end system collects her name, address, phone number, credit card information and the item(s) she wants to buy. This information is all brought together in an order. The back-end system now compares that order to stock status, item pricing and shipping costs to finalize the order. Once the order if finalized it’s past along to the fulfillment center (or 3rd party vendor’s fulfillment center) where sock has to be found for the item. The fulfillment system generates a pick order with quantity and location information. The order is then packed where shipment size weight and address are collected. Everything needed for dispatching the shipment to a carrier for delivery. Data collection does not end here! While in transit, the carrier’s system reports back the estimated delivery Feb/March 2014
How to use this data Order fulfillment is a game of constantly balancing service and speed against cost. In order to win, you have to know where you stand. Your competitors will benchmark certain shipping times, shipping costs and order fulfillment promises. You need to have all this data at your finger tips in order make decisions around pricing, shipping and costing information. For example, you may find a significant savings in shipping by collecting all your orders shipping internationally on one day of the week. There would be a huge savings on shipping and processing, but it would add to your lead time. This information can be discussed with marketing to determine the best fit shipping policy that balances cost and lead time. Business decisions that flow from data Stocking quantity: Past order history, quantity and frequency influence stocking quantity. Also, lost order from stock outs, or service impacts are key pieces of data used to determine stock quantity. Of course quantity must always be balanced with the cost of storage and the economic order quantity. Shipping policy: Cost and performance data can be aggregated along with competitive factors to determine your shipping policy. Many vendors have set policies, i.e.: same day shipment, next day shipment, every Tuesday to the West Coast, etc. Fulfillment data can be used to determine the shipping policy that balances cost and service for the market you’re in. Marketing spend: There is a lot of information about the buyer collected
in the fulfillment process. You know gender, geography, time of purchase, what products the customer looked at in the front end, where they came from on the internet, how long they spent on a page and how many orders got completed out of all the visitors. This is valuable marketing information and can help determine which marketing programs where the most effective. Sales and promotions: From the data, you know who purchased items, what items were purchased and in what quantity. This is great information to drive revenue. You have the persons contact information and email address which you should be adding to your marketing database. You can send customers offers of related products at a discount, or the same product for re-purchase. Your system should be able to tell you who your best prospects are as well; those who are repeat purchasers. Choice of carrier: You should have the ship date, expected delivery data and actual delivery date in your fulfillment system data. From this data you can compile an on time delivery score for your carriers, enabling you to manage your carriers better and to make sure you use the ones that provide the best service. Kitting items: Your system should be able to tell you what items are commonly ordered together. For example, maybe you sell winter boots and the winter boots protector spray is commonly ordered with a new pair of winter boots. You could really hit a home run by kitting boots together with the protector. Not only could you save on pick/pack costs, but you could offer a special promotion to buy both together and increase revenue. Next steps There is a wealth of data and information that flows from that data that can be found. Map out your order fulfillment track and what data you’re collecting along the way. With a clear picture of all the data that’s available
from your fulfillment system you can start driving the train! Data by itself is only data. When it’s organized and analyzed it becomes information. Information can be used to make great business decisions. ❯❯ Inventory the data you are generating ❯❯ Organize it ❯❯ Extract information ❯❯ Use information to make business decisions ❯❯ Continue the process by going back to step 1. Donna Kutter, owner of Dare Marketing, a
fulfillment services house in Mississauga, knows that order fulfillment is driven by data and information systems Dare Marketing knows this, having just celebrated 20 years in the business. DMN.ca ❰
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Donations processing: a strategy in itself
Case Study: Northern Lights Direct
The little hospital that could
Case study: Canadian Olympic Foundation
More than just a deposit Donations processing -- a strategy in itself By CDS Global
rocessing donations is no longer a simple process. Or perhaps, more accurately put, if an organization wants to maximize the recruitment of new donors and the retention of current donors, it shouldn’t be. The field of nonprofit competition is getting crowded. In fact, the number of nonprofit organizations is now 1.6 million according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics – up 200,000 just in the last five years. With that added competition for donor contributions, today’s savvy nonprofit is leveraging every bit of information it can garner from each and every donation. They have realized that it is not enough to simply keep data and send a few mailings. Effective donor stewardship is a carefully crafted strategic process that includes the use of specific information about donors to help organizations target appeals, invitations, face-to-face interactions and mission-related information to individual interests. In addition, with the technology that is available today, the savvy donor expects no less than a fast, error free, duplication-free deposit of their check and acknowledgement
of their donation. It’s a pretty simple equation; make a mistake or process items too slowly, and risk losing that hard-earned donor forever. The problem? Because of time and resource constraints, many nonprofits make processing mistakes and/or neglect to capture vital donor data that may be the key to future campaign success. From the simplest donations to the very complex, each donation processed should not only be handled with accuracy and care, but also with a strategic purpose that goes beyond simple depositing and caging/lockbox processing. And yet, with the constraints on today’s nonprofit staff size, many are forced to involve program and fundraising staff in donation processing and data capture as part of their daily jobs. Imagine how much more effective they could be at their jobs if they were not burdened with the time-consuming work of these in-depth tasks. Keeping all of this in consideration, many nonprofits are rethinking their approach to donation processing, caging and cashiering. Many are migrating their solicitation strategy to the Internet for easier and more
accurate collection online. And even more are beginning to outsource their donations processing for direct mail, events and even daily mail to partners with the expertise and capabilities to convert the entire complex process into a stream of detail that flows seamlessly from the donor through the outsourced provider to the nonprofit. It is true that, for most, the concept is a bit of a revelation following decades of managing staff, temporary help, volunteers, reams of paper to deposit and record, and hundreds of individual checks to copy. Today, they benefit immediately from accelerated donation posting and acknowledgement, the elimination of time-consuming manual keying of donor information, as well as the consistent and comprehensive capture and feed of data to their own constituent management system. Further widening the advantage gap is the fact that the old guard still follows a “steam pipe” model in which marketing, advertising, donor service and others have delayed or limited access to data that comes in through caging and cashiering operations. Even worse, many nonprofits are just simply letting information go because they can’t keep up with it all. These organizations open a donation envelope from a pledge event, record the amounts, credit the participant and move on. They are often forced to forgo on gathering information on all of the people who sponsored the participant because it takes too much time. And if they do take the time to capture the extra information, they either spend highly valuable staff time to accomplish the goal or use the risky practice of letting volunteers do it for them. It’s a direct marketing nightmare and can be a killer when it comes to acknowledgements and prize fulfillment. Plus, the nonprofit loses the opportunity to add new potential donors to their database. Although it may be touted as simply the next logical step, today’s caging and cashiering has evolved to a donation processing art that is a full generation ahead – with workflow management, image archive and delivery thrown right into the mix.
The functionality automates the whole donations process including special exceptions such as change of address requests, credit card donations, matching gift processing, split designations and group collections. And the data itself can provide for supplemental donor documents such as reply cards or appeal letters, which can be sent automatically based on preference, all while continuously offering the nonprofit organization what they have long craved for – data that allows them to learn more about their donors and gauge the success of their various appeals. From there, advanced donation processing helps nonprofit organizations feed their various donor management systems simultaneously. This means they can better steward donors, proactively respond to donor requests, tailor appeals and even directly trigger prize fulfillment for an event right out of the imaging process without lifting a finger. Imagine not having to go back and recount how many additional prizes need to be sent, and not having to procure, pack and mail them. It can all be done automatically as part of the process! The bottom line for every nonprofit is that they need to continually strive to increase the general effectiveness in meeting their mission. Each and every group is committed to providing more service for more people each year – helping more people, saving more lives, creating a better world. The idea behind today’s outsourced donation processing solutions is that the nonprofit can allow external experts to focus on back-end operation and efficiency while the organization focuses on its very own mission. And the revelation is that it is more than just an idea; it is an actuality whose time has come. Advanced donations processing is here and is changing the game when it comes to maximizing missions for organizations across the entire nonprofit spectrum. Owned by Hearst Corporation, CDS Global provides donations processing to many of the world’s top nonprofit brands. For more information contact email@example.com
Northern Lights Direct /Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) targets child poverty in new DRTV campaign
hristian Children’s Fund of Canada is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a worldwide group of 12 child-focused development organizations working in 58 countries to implement long-lasting and meaningful changes for children and families. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance.
response campaign produced by Northern Lights Direct. “What Poverty Looks Like” puts a face to the urgent plight of children in need living in extreme poverty. The direct response television (DRTV) commercial asks viewers to call a 1-800 number and visit www.sponsorme.ca to sponsor a child in need. “Far too many children around the world are living in poverty,” says Felicitas Adrian, Vice President, Fund
Development and Communications, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. “Fortunately, through child sponsorship, a better life is possible. We have partnered with the Northern Lights Direct team because they have the ability to communicate our message in a way that truly touches viewers and convinces them of the need to become child sponsors – through TV and online.” According to Ian French, President
of Northern Lights Direct, producing the commercial was both heartbreaking and uplifting. "CCFC is doing incredible work on behalf of children around the world and our job is to persuade more people of the value and rewards in becoming a sponsor through CCFC to a child living in extreme poverty.”
The challenge In August of 2013, Northern Lights Direct began working with CCFC to help them address the challenge of attracting sponsors at an appropriate cost per acquisition. Northern Lights Direct is a brand direct response marketing agency with offices in Toronto and Chicago. Services include strategic planning, media management, and creative and production services for direct response television (DRTV) and direct response online marketing. “At the end of the day, sponsors are what drive CCFC,” says Ian French, President of Northern Lights Direct. “But it’s a complex marketing situation as CCFC doesn’t want to be seen as exploiting the situation to gain sponsors. The challenge was to capture emotion without being overly graphic.” The solution Starting in February, CCFC launched a nationwide direct Feb/March 2014
Photos: Belleville General Hospital Foundation
Drew Brown, executive director of Belleville General Hospital Foundation The Charlotte Sills Wing of the Belleville General Hospital Foundations offers rehabilitation space for a number of outpatient treatments.
Tiny Belleville General Hospital Foundation Boosts Donations with Big-Time Analytics By Peter Baker
n first glance, Belleville General Hospital Foundation (BGHF) looks like a lot of small-market fundraising organizations. Its tiny staff of four operates within a tight budget and a media plan that until recently depended on the kindness of strangers—that is, free spots on two local radio stations and a complimentary quarter-page ad in the community newspaper. The community hospital it supports sits in the heart of Belleville, Ont., a city of 50,000, and serves a patient population that barely tops 100,000 throughout the Bay of Quinte region. But on closer examination, you’ll see that BGHF acts more like a hospital foundation ten times its size—with aspirations to make Belleville General Hospital the best-equipped community hospital in Canada. BGHF fundraisers use the same segmentation-based analytics utilized by the nation’s largest
hospital charities, such as the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. Its direct mail program employs sophisticated target marketing techniques with messaging based on the social values of donors. And its data-driven strategy has resulted in a donation growth rate that is the envy of other not-for-profits, no matter their size. In just three years, BGHF has engineered a 250 percent increase in contributions, from $1 million to a cool $2.5 million. This coming year, the foundation expects to supply the hospital with $3 million in community contributions. “We’re on a good trajectory,” says Drew Brown, executive director of BGHF. “The message is that you don’t have to be big for data analytics to be of tremendous value.” A 27-year veteran of hospital fundraising who joined BGHF in 2010, Brown describes himself as an “advocate of change.” An articulate man with an upbeat attitude, he calls his approach to fundraising “assertive
marketing, that is, just one notch below aggressive marketing. I don’t want to be in your face with a hard sell,” he explains. “But I believe that hospitals need to let people know that their support will improve care in their community. So my mission in life is to tell our story and get people thinking about us.” When Brown arrived at BGHF, the foundation had been doing well with a traditional direct mail approach that sent appeals to those who lived closest to the hospital. “We’d mail to large swaths of our service area based on the assumption that, if you lived close enough to use the hospital, you’d want to support it,” says Brown. But as the level of donations began to plateau and the provincial government reduced its funding for hospital operations—by $10 million in 2013 alone—hospital administrators believed that its fundraising strategy needed, well, a shot in the arm. Last spring, after Brown read several intriguing stories about the
success of data analytics at larger notfor-profits, he contacted Environics Analytics (EA). Analysts began by using PRIZM, the segmentation system that classifies Canadians into 66 lifestyle types, to profile the 6,500 donors who’d contributed to BGHF in the last three years. The results showed that the donors tended to be older citydwellers and suburbanites in 13 PRIZM segments like God’s Country (upscale, middle-aged, exurban couples and families), Grey Pride (lower-middle-class, suburban apartment-dwelling seniors) and Startups & Seniors (midscale mix of young and mature singles and couples). Then they merged those segments into three target groups, gave them evocative nicknames (Exurbanites & Townies, Midscale Elders and Downscale Donors) and detailed each group’s demographics, lifestyles, media patterns and values. Some of the findings surprised Brown’s team, such as the discovery that many donors responded to Feb/March 2014
messages that highlighted patriotism, community and country. Analysts attributed that inclination to one of the hospital’s nearby neighbours: the Trenton Canadian Forces Base. But the biggest “aha” came when they compared the locations where the foundation had been sending their appeals versus the postal codes that, according to the analysis, were home to the highest concentration of donors and similar prospects. Brown remembers his heart sinking as he scanned the results: the foundation had been mailing to the wrong areas for years. “We were essentially just pouring money into the Bay of Quinte,” says Brown. “We were spending money to send mail to postal codes where our chances of success were nil. “Worse, I felt that we were not serving our donors well,” he continues. “The best donors are the ones who believe that we understand what they’re trying to do with their philanthropy. And I didn’t think that was happening.” Brown immediately changed BGHF’s marketing regimen and, last December, launched its first-ever data-based direct mail campaign.
They dispatched 28,000 pieces of unaddressed mail to the EA-targeted postal codes—skipping entirely some nearby postal codes that had been blanketed in the past. Within days, Brown knew the new approach was working. “The people who opened the mail began asking why we were getting all these donations from Tweed, a town nearly forty minutes away by car,” he says. “We hadn’t mailed many of them in the past.” All told, the holiday appeal yielded $181,300—up 19 percent from 2012. At the same time, the analytics allowed BGHF to reduce the size of its mailing and reallocate the distribution area. “It showed us where to mail and where to avoid mailing,” says Brown. “As a result, we’ve become more efficient and focused.” The data analytics also helped BGHF attract 1,900 new donors in the last two years, re-enforcing Brown’s optimism for the future. “Our goal is to tell the hospital that we’re good for contributing three million dollars every year,” he says. His marketing budget has grown and now includes money to buy ads on billboards, radio and in newspapers. And this spring, the foundation plans to launch a new
data-driven direct mail campaign that would “kick it up a notch”—Brown’s words—by featuring differentiated messaging customized to each target group. But one social value common to all groups is at the heart of BGHF’s message: national pride. Appeals focus on the goal of transforming Belleville General into “the bestequipped community hospital in Canada,” with a red maple leaf added like a graphic exclamation point. Last fall, BGHF launched its first-ever data-based As Brown explains, “We now emphasize that we’re direct mail campaign, dispatching 28,000 pieces of unaddressed mail to PRIZM-targeted postal codes. one of the pillars of the community. So by making a donation, you can help improve care anywhere,” he says. “You don’t need to and make this a better community.” be a big operation to achieve success Three years in to his position at with it.” As Brown would attest, all BGHF, Brown sees some things you need is the right prescription for haven’t changed much: The staff is change. still small, the budget still modest. But he no longer looks longingly at the Peter Baker is Vice President and Practice analytics-based marketing campaigns Leader, overseeing the fundraising, municipal of mega-foundations. “We’ve learned government and library sectors, at Environics that this type of information can work Analytics.
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COF campaign achieves podium-worthy results
othing brings a country together like the Olympic Games. And nothing brings donors together like a well executed direct mail campaign. So when it was time for the Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF) to reach out to past donors, current donors and prospects, they turned to TCP Integrated Marketing for inspiration – and results. The COF raises funds to support current Olympians, future Olympians and the Sport System in Canada. Their mission is to generate support to meet the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s high performance sport system and assist Canada’s athletes in becoming ambassadors for sport, promote
healthy living and the pursuit of excellence across the nation. Their vision? To inspire Canadians, athletes and other stakeholders to achieve the ultimate podium success at the Olympic Games for Canada and, as a result, create an elevated sense of pride and unity among all Canadians. The road to Sochi In February of 2013, COF went searching for a new agency of record for their direct marketing program. An RFP was issued and three agencies were short-listed. All three were invited in to present and when the dust settled TCP was at the top of the podium. TCP’s first project as COF’s DM agency of record was their annual
spring appeal to their house file. On this initiative, the goal was met and the average gift actually increased. The next initiative was the late fall house and acquisition mailing. The audience This national mailing consisted of two campaigns, a third ask to existing and lapsed donors plus an acquisition mailing to trade and rental lists. “For both the house and acquisition mailings, we wanted to take advantage of the growing excitement happening all across our great nation in anticipation of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games” says Allison Taylor of TCP. “The Hudson’s Bay Co. had just launched their Red Mitten campaign
and the CBC had just started airing commercials introducing Canadians to our Winter Olympians. To increase response and ignite Canada’s passion for the Olympics, a number of premiums were utilized and tested. For the house file, we tested a holiday card with a bounce-back to wish our Winter Olympians luck vs. window stickers to show our athletes our support and pride. For the acquisition portion of the mailing, we tested a beautiful, enamel lapel pin vs. the stickers used for the house file.” For the house mailing, approx. 16/M current and lapsed donors were mailed and for acquisition, TCP mailed approx. 35/M trade names and 24/M rentals. “For the acquisition portion, COF Feb/March 2014
had some established trades that we knew worked well, but we knew we had to find more”, says Taylor. “Also, we wanted to throw some rental lists into the mix to see if they would work. For the new trades and rentals, careful consideration went into which lists contained the most patriotic Canadians (knowing that these people would be our best responders).” The goals The goal for the entire house segment (including lapsed) was 6.5% and for acquisition it was 1.32%. “At stake for TCP was our reputation – if we highly recommend a package, a strategy, and a tactic – it had better work!” says Taylor. “At stake for the client was dollars. Acquisition mailings always run at a deficit, and it was our hope by telling a great story and including a premium that house would pull sufficiently to cover the cost of the acquisition investment.” The creative TCP pride themselves on telling a great story. Good stories get remembered. Good stories tap into people’s emotions. Good stories demand to
be told, retold and passed on. Good stories get embellished and grow. Good stories stand the test of time. Good stories have a momentum all their own. And, good stories get results. “Our story for both segments was the story of Kevin Reynolds, one of our medal hopefuls in Sochi,” explains Taylor. “In 2010 Kevin missed being a part of the Olympic Team by just a point. He was devastated. Our letter goes on to show how Kevin picked himself back up with the help of his family, coach and role models. Taylor and her team believe that the outer envelope is one of the most important components in any direct mail piece. It has to stand out in the mailbox to get noticed and opened. Knowing this, they wanted to create a colourful, exciting and emotive outer. They found a great shot of Kevin and his coach, Joanne in the archives and decided this was the image. It conveyed everything they were hoping for. For the letter and donor form, simple and easy to read design is always the way to go. And, for the premiums and carrier,
Canadians for give to charistioenss. 1 of 9 rea
again, simplicity and bold use of colour was utilized. The results “Wow is the best word to describe our results,” says Taylor. “For the house segment, we had set a goal of 6.5% for current and lapsed donors. So far we’re at 11% overall. Our lapsed segments are sitting at about 23% and average gift is up by almost $12! The most starting stat is that from a revenue stand-point, we’re 188% above target! “For acquisition, we’re still a little below our projections, but BREs
CLIENT: Canadian Olympic Foundation CONTACT: Selga Apse & Amanda Nash CAMPAIGN: House & Acquisition Mailing AGENCY: TCP Integrated Marketing DM TEAM: Allison Taylor, TCP; Selga Apse, COF; Amanda Nash, COF; Mark Johnston, TCP; Jim Wisner, The Helicopter Group; Wendy Tucker, The Helicopter Group
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are still coming in, so we’re pretty confident that our response goal will be met and as average gift is coming in at $7 above normal, we’re positive we’ll attain our revenue goals as well.” As for their testing, in the house files TCP tested the holiday bounceback vs. the window stickers and so far these two premiums are neck-in-neck with a slight nod to the decals. For acquisition, the results are clear; the lapel pins are winning hands down.
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Direct & personal Ekua Asabea Blair By Billy Sharma
orking in the charitable sector has got to be one of the hardest things to do. You need passion, commitment and dedication, as well as a willingness to get the job done, no matter what it takes. Ekua Asabea Blair, Chief Executive Officer of the Massey Centre, a residential program for pregnant, at-risk teens that provides health, counselling and support services, has all these qualities and more. “But, it’s also one of the most rewarding sectors of all to work in,” she shot back. “Sure sometimes you give so much you get completely burnt out, but I have never questioned my commitment to working in this industry. “I remember working once for an insurance company doing administrative work. I remember always watching the clock and could not wait for the day to end. I used to love Fridays and hated Sunday evening. Now that I am in the charitable sector it has changed.” Making a difference in the world “There are so many challenges each day: not enough funds to hire all the staffing; limited resources to get the work done; the demands of your staff, board, clients and funders. Despite all of this I am committed because I know first- hand the difference the work I do in making in the lives of the people we serve. That keeps me going.” The services that the Massey Centre provides are essential to the health and well being of the young mothers and infants that depend on the centre, with almost 18 pregnant teens and 25 young moms currently. Making a world of difference “My first job in the non-profit sector was as a Child and Youth Program Coordinator in a Community Health Centre (CHC)–Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre. There I was responsible for program management, staff supervision, community development, fundraising and budget administration. “During this role, the youth program I was responsible for lost $60,000 when the provincial government decided to make drastic cuts to programs for youth. This led to a desperate search to find alternative funding to save the valuable programs we offered. “I remember spending countless hours looking for funding to ensure we could continue to deliver the vital services to ‘at risk’ youth in the Davenport-Perth neighbourhood. “Using information from our community needs assessments, we were able to better identify the needs of the youth and make a strong case to City of ❱ DMN.ca
Toronto funders to replace the lost funding from the province.” A Labour of love “At Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre I was responsible for securing support and funding to start a new Afrocentric School Program called–Nighana African-Centred Program in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, a program that provided an African centered curriculum program for youth who dropped or faded out of the secondary school system. “While the Board provided the teachers, we at DPNC had to find the funding for the youth worker to support the youth in the program,” she said. Next, she spent nine years as Executive Director of the Rexdale Community Health Centre. While at Rexdale CHC, Ekua was successful in bringing the Pathways to Education Program—originally designed to reduce the high school dropout rates in Regent Park—to the Jamestown community. “During the CHC Expansion in 2006, Rexdale was the only CHC in the province to obtain funding for two CHC Satellites in North Etobicoke. The CHC budget grew from $1.4 million in 1999 to $7 million in 2008.” Ekua’s impressive record of community involvement included membership on the Inclusive Cities Canada: Toronto Civic Panel. She has also worked with a number of other community organizations, among them the Jane Finch Concerned Citizens’ Association and the Black Heritage Program in North York. In 2002 she was the recipient of the Constance E. Hamilton Award from the City of Toronto Access and Equity Department for her work with low-income women in the Rexdale Community. “Since joining the Massey Centre, I have been successful in securing $70,000 over two years to fund the consulting services of a psychiatrist to assist the agency move toward a children’s mental health model of service,” she said proudly. Practicing what one preaches Not only is Ekua a strong advocate of helping teens she even adopted a two-year-old daughter, Nyamekye, from Children’s Aid. For Ekua, this is an extension of her Jamaican roots. “I come from an upbringing where parents always looked after other kids. The sense of community was very real in Jamaica,” she explains. “I just saw so many good examples of people being single parents, I never thought I couldn’t do it.” “We had a magical bonding when we met,” she recalls. “When I walked in the door she took my finger, walked me to the couch, sat in my lap and never really got up.” Nyamekye also connected strongly with Asabea Blair’s parents, with whom they lived. “Buying a house with my mom and dad was really key to
creating a community of support for her and for me. She’s even picked up some of their ways. They were good for her and she was good for them. “My mother, Ruby Blair, is my hero and inspiration. She made a lot of sacrifices in her life to build community and programs in the low-income community that I come from in Kingston, Jamaica. She was always looking for ways to improve the community, bring people together to address the issue that were important to them. She also was committed to working with youth to motivate them and build their resiliency. She did all of this without getting any pay to do the work.” “I love my job and I also want to give my daughter, who is a teenager at 13 now, as much attention as possible. She demands that and she deserves it. I’m always trying to find the right balance. “Every Sunday evening I have dinner with my siblings, their partners and children. Also I love to spend time in Collingwood doing downhill or crosscountry skiing or hiking or biking or zip-lining. “I also love to dance, work out and read tons of selfhelp books. One of my favourite books is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It helped me to accept that I can be imperfect and still be enough. I stopped beating myself up when I made mistakes. I learned it is important to be vulnerable and be comfortable in my vulnerability. Reaching this point was life changing for me. “The time I put into my work has come at a tremendous sacrifice to my personal relationships. It has limited my ability to find a true and committed relationship and build sustainable relationship with friends.” Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Ekua Asabea Blair migrated to Canada when she was 19 years old. She went to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. In her final year, she was awarded the Laventhol and Horwarth award for best published research paper. “My initial goal was to return to Jamaica and build our tourism industry there,” she recollected. However life has taken her further, even to different parts of Africa. Here’s an amusing story she told me about her time there. “I had been so brainwashed by mainstream media about what Africa was like. I never imagined that I would see major highways and ice-skating rinks in the Ivory Coast. Also in Ivory Coast, the residents were so friendly. I remember some members of my party and I going to dinner with some African men who did not speak any English and I did not understand any French. We spent time in their homes and went to the market. All the while we were gesturing with our hands as a way of communication. Now that I reflect on this I think we were all so trusting or foolish.” To me Ekua Asabea Blair, truly embodies what Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Feb/March 2014
THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 • 2014
5 tips for a winnng rewards program ❯❯How to improve contact centre performance ❯❯Case study: Star Telecom
CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS Business needs change. We get that. You may need to increase the number of users one day, but possibly decrease them the next. You want to add applications without a lengthy implementation process. Our customers are discovering imaginative new ways to collaborate, deliver services and better interact with their customers — from anywhere – and all from the cloud. In our cloud, businesses are realizing the possibilities to become more powerful, more resourceful... more flexible.
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Listen up! Jabra unveils new headset purpose-built for the next-generation contact center professional
abra, a leading manufacturer of innovative audio solutions, today announced the answer to the contact center of tomorrow – the Jabra BIZTM 2300. Completely rethinking the role of the headset in the contact center, Jabra is launching the Jabra BIZ 2300 as a direct response to address the needs of the evolving contact center landscape.
Developed with the contact center agent in mind Today contact centers play an increasingly important role as the customer’s first point of contact, and companies are realizing their contact center agents are in essence their brand ambassadors. With agents on the frontline, it is paramount that each call is handled as professionally as possible with crystal-clear sound and minimal to no background noise. “We believe that contact center agents are key contributors in safeguarding brand perception, and this will only increase in the future,” said Holger Reisinger, Jabra Vice President of Marketing, Products and Alliances. “With the Jabra BIZ 2300 we accepted the challenge of developing a superior audio device for these brand ambassadors with best-in-class sound performance, built-to-last durability and exceptional comfort.” With up to 50 percent better noise cancelation and a 20 percent lighter form factor compared to competitors, Kevlar ® cords and a virtually unbreakable boom arm for durability, the Jabra BIZ 2300 comes out on top with all key call center headset parameters.
Jabra BIZ 2300 benefits include: • Unprecedented noise cancellation microphone: Best-inclass noise-cancellation microphones reduce unwanted background noise and are ideal in crowded open office environments. • Agent comfort: Lightweight form factor and ergonomic design make the BIZ 2300 comfortable for extended wear. • Built contact-center tough: With a 360° break-proof boom arm and a Kevlar®-reinforced cord, the Jabra BIZ 2300 is built to withstand -the long hours of usage by high-performing contact center agents. • Optimized for speech analytics: The Jabra BIZ 2300 maximizes an organization’s speech analytics investment by ensuring accurate recognition of key words and phrases. An Air Shock microphone designed aerodynamically, with small perforations reduces the penetration of air shocks to the device increasing speech intelligibility • Mass deployment: The Jabra BIZ 2300 (USB version) is fully supported by Jabra Xpress, the mass deployment tool by Jabra that makes remote configuration and deployment simple and intuitive. Issue 1 • 2014
“What strikes me most about the new Jabra BIZ 2300 is it offers features typically found only in more expensive, higher-end headsets, such as Kevlar cords and the 360 boom arm,” said Sheila McGeeSmith, industry analyst and president, McGee-Smith Analytics. “Agents wear headsets for many hours a day, and these features add increased comfort and durability.”
A collaborative development effort To ensure that the Jabra BIZ 2300 meets all the demands of the modern contact center, Jabra has developed the headset in close collaboration with customers and strategic alliance partners such as Avaya, a global leader in business communication. “Today, companies like Avaya need to execute to perfection at all customer touch-points, with a crisp and clear voice,” said Linda Hartig, Avaya VP of Global Support Services. “Our Services Desk in Westminster, Colorado has piloted the Jabra BIZ 2300 and it is spot on in terms of delivering that superior sound quality Avaya and our customers expect.” contact management | 3
Rewards & Recognition
5 tips for a winning
rewards program Top ways to utilize recognition and rewards in the call center
By R Scott Russell
heir days are different from every other worker or executive at the company. While exciting, rewarding and lucrative – it is often brutal – because front line call center employees spend every part of their day working in anonymity. They are the keepers of the “people relations” that most of the organization will never be exposed to. From responding to customer complaints to processing complicated transactions to answering inventory questions to loss and theft concerns to tactfully cutting short the happy effusive customer in order to move on to the next call and sale – workers in the call center are critical to the supply chain because if the customers stop coming – the company stops running. While every day brings news customer surprises - good and bad – what should be consistent and positive each and every day is how our Managers and Supervisors communicate with their teams. Meaningful and welldesigned employee recognition and rewards are critical for a well-run center. When designing a successful recognition program, it is important to integrate five important criteria: Sincerity, Timeliness, Meaning and Understanding, and of course… Fun! Below are a few concepts which all 5 of these criteria can be demonstrated and embraced.
4 | contactmanagement.ca
1. Make recognition matter Reward and recognition programs must connect the needs and expectations of the workforce with the company’s overall goals and strategies. In a payfor-performance environment this is even more critical to the program’s success. Make sure your programs have a balanced approach to ensure the employees are providing first class customer satisfaction while achieving the highest level of operational efficiency. The program should also be designed to decrease absenteeism and manage schedule adherence. The balanced program will first look at multi-tiered approaches to recognition and reward the behaviors that your company has defined as pertinent to the overall success of the center. Most programs will have qualifiers to ensure that eligible employees are the ones being recognized. Examples of some target metrics in the call center environment are:
Average Handle Time, Average Calls Per Day, and First Call Resolution. If customer loyalty is a key mission of the company – then create employee recognition that identifies this behavior. Basically, tie the recognition to the mission and values of the organization but down to the call center level. 2. On the spot vs. point accumulation Call center work is immediate work which is why daily rewards blended with weekly/monthly are so influential. Create programs that recognize your top performers since they are the ones bringing in the most return, however, don’t forget to build a most improved component to reward those that exist in the middle of the success chain and need that extra ignition to cross over into best in class category. You make the most movement with your middle 30% then you do with the top 10%. If you only have a program the Issue 1
Rewards & Recognition recognizes the top performers then you will have left the majority of your workforce existing in an area of no recognition which will lead to dissatisfaction. A combination of on the spot recognition such as a “Caught In The Act” or “Going Beyond The Call” award is perfect for driving daily performance and behaviors. For more long term results you will need a point based or monetary accumulation reward program for employees to strive for on a weekly, monthly basis. 3. Peer-to-peer recognition While many organizations believe instituting peer to peer will fail because of competitive environments – not so with call centers because the tasks are not based on interactions with each other but with individual external contacts every time. Allowing employees to thank each other across work groups and channels is essential to the overall positive attitude of the center. By encouraging peer to peer recognition you are helping to drive overall employee satisfaction. 4. Employee or team of the day/week/month These programs motivate the workers to stay engaged, positive and take initiative – but also serve to decrease absenteeism and manage schedule adherence. You can’t manage a call center without having people in their seats. Challenge your front line leaders to recognize their employees in different ways and at different times for their achievements. Team building and team recognition is such an important part of success that it can’t be ignored. You need strong teams in a call center
Issue 1 • 2014
and some healthy competition will help you achieve results. 5. Shout it out Make sure everyone knows. It will be a big boost for the employees and reminds the entire department that working hard, smart and moving numbers pays off. Communication is such a critical component of any recognition and can be the determining factor whether recognition is working or not. It isn’t recognition if no one knows about it. That being said, the communication channel should reflect the level of recognition. The bigger the achievement the bigger the audience…but all recognition deserves proper communication. Note that it’s a great idea to find out about your employees and make sure that they are aware of how their achievements will be communicated. Nothing worse than recognizing someone and preparing to take their photo and call them in front of the center only to find out they don’t like pictures taken of themselves or group recognition.
Across every business, effective employee recognition enhances employee motivation and satisfaction, increases employee productivity, and contributes to improved organizational performance. Design, develop and implement programs that will capture and enhance your company’s professionalism, quality, attendance, effectiveness and efficiency. When employee recognition and reward programs are done well – the real reward is that satisfaction will be felt from shareholders to customers to employees to everyone who does business with your company. Good luck! R Scott Russell is the Education Director Chair for Recognition Professionals International www.Recognition.org, the only industry organization solely dedicated to educating, improving and advancing employee recognition and rewards in the workforce. He can be reached by email at info@recognition. org or on Twitter @RPITweets.
contact management | 5
Tips for improving contact center performance
By Matt McConnell
ntraday management challenges – all contact centers have them. Call volume unexpectedly fluctuates outside of what was forecasted, and management must decide to protect service levels by overstaffing or understaffing to cut costs. Agents’ skill sets are varied and constantly changing, often leaving agents with newly acquired skills waiting to be assigned to the right queues. And trends that can negatively affect service levels and performance metrics are identified and communicated too late to make a difference. These types of inefficiencies can damage the customer experience. So, how do contact center leaders handle common intraday management challenges to ultimately improve productivity, strengthen performance, and positively impact overall customer service? In a recent industry poll, we asked more than 100 contact center professionals about their intraday management challenges – specifically around fluctuating 6 | contact management
intraday staffing needs, queue management and real-time notifications. Here’s what they had to say about their biggest challenges:
Addressing fluctuating staffing needs Not only do staffing inefficiencies financially hurt your business, but they can also frustrate agents if call volume is low but management is slow to approve an early release time. Or they can have a negative effect on service levels if call volume is high and you need staff to quickly agree to work overtime. But when it comes to handling fluctuating call volumes during a shift, most contact centers
still use manual processes that are hugely ineffective. Of those contact center professionals polled, more than half said they manage intraday staffing through a manual process, or not at all, resulting in significant lag time. Labor costs increase as a result, and there are not always enough agents on the floor to meet customer demands.
Managing queue capacity and agent competency Moving agents from queue to queue based on changes in skills and fluctuating workload across a multi-channel center is time Issue 1 • 2014
Feature consuming for workforce management professionals and can have dire consequences if done incorrectly. If agents are underperforming but continue handling customer inquiries on that particular queue, customers will receive substandard service until the agent is removed from that queue. This shifting is largely left to manual intervention to balance resources and service levels. Of those contact center professionals polled, 27 percent said queue management is still a manual process in their organizations.
Being proactive about unique business needs Identifying trends that impact service levels and performance metrics in a timely manner can be challenging for most contact center management. Most centers use manual, time-consuming processes to manage, monitor and alert the right people if a call goes too long or a queue is not staffed. Often, by the time an issue has been identified and supervisors alerted, the damage has already been done. Of the contact center leaders polled, only 13 percent said they rely on technology alone when monitoring call center conditions, leaving significant room for improvement in responding quickly and consistently when it matters most.
Squeezing in performance boosting activities Finally, agents have to be equipped with the knowledge and information they need to effectively handle customer inquiries and provide a consistent customer experience. But finding the time to provide agents with the training and coaching they need to do their jobs well is a major challenge in the contact center. Of those surveyed, 58 percent of workforce management professionals said intraday scheduling is something that needs improvement in their organizations. Though time for training seems scarce, the average agent spends a significant amount of time – roughly 11 percent of each day – sitting idle at their desk, waiting for the next call. Unfortunately, this time comes in twominute intervals and is largely unproductive, but there is a way to aggregate this available time by automating the intraday management shuffle.
Automating the intraday shuffle yields BIG results In this intraday shuffle, contact center leaders spend precious time manually updating agent profiles, balancing capacity across queues, addressing staffing overages, or monitoring key metrics. Automating these activities can have a significant impact on the bottom line, including the following: • Contact centers that use intraday staffing technology to automatically respond to the business rules workforce management creates are able to consistently react to unexpected staffing needs faster and with more information. • Intraday management technology gives call centers the ability to automatically update skills as agents complete training and increase their competencies, giving customers access to agents best suited to handling their inquiries. Automation can also shift agents between channels to quickly protect service levels of underperforming queues. Issue 1 • 2014
• Automating key alerts with intraday management technology enables contact centers to automate adherence and provide support to agents in real-time. Conditions such as outsourcer line adherence are monitored and leaders are automatically notified when metrics are out of compliance. On the flip side, if agents hit one out of the park, supervisors can be notified and provide immediate, positive feedback. • Intraday management technology increases the frequency of agent training and coaching by dynamically delivering individualized training, coaching, knowledge base reviews and other off-phone work directly to the desktop during aggregated idle time. When volume unexpectedly spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls so that service levels are not negatively affected. Using technology to eliminate these manual processes reduces labor costs, protects service levels, and makes skilled agents always available to deliver an exceptional customer experience. As a result, agent performance improves, workforce managers are free to concentrate on higher priorities, and customers receive better customer service overall. Call centers that have embraced these intraday management technologies and automated their response to time-sensitive opportunities have seen an average business impact of more than 20 percent in reduced labor costs, improved agent performance and an overall improvement in customer experience. Customer satisfaction and retention have improved, as well as metrics such as first call resolution, average handle time and cross-sales.
A real-life success story One UK-based insurance intermediary experienced an incredible financial savings after automating some of its intraday management processes. Faced with policy changes that caused an explosion in back office work and the threat of having to hire additional headcount, the company sought to create “blended” agents to better
utilize their current call center capacity for this additional workload. Even though call volume and back office work increased, the company still had to find time to train customer-facing representatives so that they could continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience. By implementing an intraday management solution, they were able to increase the frequency of training and coaching to agents during natural downtimes in call volume and fit in the additional back office work. When call volume naturally drops and agents are sitting idle, individualized training, coaching, back office work and communications are pushed directly to the agent desktop. When call volume spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls so that service levels are not negatively affected. As a result of the training and the back office work integration, agents are more informed about current policies and therefore better equipped to handle customer inquiries and provide a more consistent customer experience across the customer journey. Their projected cost saving is estimated to reach $1.5 million during a 12-month span. Not only do customers benefit from the platform, but agents also have more variety in their daily activities to break up the monotony of taking calls with activities that actually make them more productive. They are more informed, more confident, and can deliver a better customer experience as a result. With an intraday management solution, everyone wins. About Intradiem Intradiem, formerly Knowlagent, is the leader in intraday management solutions for contact centers. Intradiem equips our customers with business reflexes that immediately and consistently respond to unpredictable events and conditions. Reflexes such as intraday task management, intraday staffing, reskilling, channel balancing and real-time alerts improve business performance by over 20 percent. More than 450,000 contact center, field service, retail, bank branch, and back office employees around the world use Intradiem’s solution every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit www.intradiem.com.
contact management | 7
Case study: Star Telecom
This Star Telecom solution provides our call center client with increased operational efficiencies, reduced costs, built in redundancy and a high degree of call management and disaster recovery flexibility. The problem The client, a contact center outsourcer with 500 agent seats in two locations, utilized 17 T1/PRI links to connect their SIP-enabled ACD /Dialers at each site to the PSTN. Inbound and outbound calling was managed via 17 PRI, 4 inbound trunks and 13 outbound trunks split across the 2 sites, on an annual contracted basis of one or more years. The contracts locked the client into a fixed number of channels making it difficult to accommodate seasonal volumes and short term campaigns efficiently and effectively. The client was spending $12,000 per month on the T1/ PRI services and an additional $15,000 monthly for Long Distance charges at 1.7¢ per minute. There was no network redundancy so Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans were limited to the physical relocation of staff to the alternate site. This was a complicated process in itself and the loss of one of the sites also meant the loss of half of the network capacity. The client also experienced frequent outages which resulted in the all too common finger pointing between the ILEC and the client’s carrier. Lack of urgency by the carrier regarding MACs, ongoing billing issues and errors were causing additional frustration and dissatisfaction.
The solution Since both the client and Star Telecom are co-located at 151 Front Street, a simple, cost-effective cross-connect arrangement was easily implemented. 8 | contact management
Outbound long distance tra_ c is channeled through Star Telecom resulting in immediate cost savings based on a more aggressive LD rate. Some PRIs were immediately cancelled and the rest will be removed as the contracts expire. Inbound traffic is now routed to Star Telecom, resulting in savings and increased flexibility.
The results Less pain – more gain. The client has experienced immediate savings of 30% from a reduction in the long distance rate, PRI cancellations and increased telecom efficiencies. And there is an additional 35% savings from cancellation of remaining PRIs still to come. Operationally they have achieved increased efficiencies by sharing telecom capacity across both sites. The high degree of inherent flexibility of the Star Telecom solution has enabled the client to: • Add/remove capacity with short notice and without a minimum term
• Change inbound call routing in real-time via Star Telecom portal • Improve Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery through automatic call failover and re-routing Value-added features built into the solution include: • Enhanced Caller ID and Caller Name management • Real Time inbound channel utilization reporting • Daily CDRs for billing verification • Star Telecom monitoring and alerting of client systems • Ability to provision inbound telephone numbers from across Canada, US and other countries • Multi user-access to Star Telecom portal • Access and change logging for auditing purposes
Issue 1 • 2014
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