Avenue A Launches Consulting Group

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Seattle interactive agency Avenue A Inc. has extended its brand with the launch of a new consulting division.

Called the Avenue A Consulting Group, the new arm will use Avenue A's anonymous online behavioral data collected through its Atlas Digital marketing Technologies Suite to develop customer insights aimed at client acquisition, retention and growth strategies.

"We're targeting Avenue A's internal client base," said Lee Sherman, director of the Consulting Group, Seattle, adding, "We're absolutely open to targeting new customers."

Avenue A boasts clients such as Gateway, TicketMaster Online-CitySearch, Household Finance, Expedia.com and Microsoft Corp.

"Our approach to consulting is data-driven," Sherman said. "We leverage data collected by Avenue A through our ad serving and digital media products."

Avenue A collects four pieces of data when it serves an ad across 3,700 Web sites. First, it knows who sees the ad through an anonymous cookie. Next, it knows on which site they saw the ad and what banner they saw. Finally, it knows when consumers saw the ad.

"We currently serve 6 billion ads a month," Sherman said. "What we do for our consulting service is that we leverage that data, plus we leverage our client's site size data on how customers behave on our client's page.

"We collect that," he added, "and we will also review any client data and then we apply proprietary tools to derive insights, and finally we act on that."

The Avenue A Consulting Group offers four services: customer segmentation analysis, Web affinity analysis, customer retention analysis and lifetime value analysis.

Work has already begun on some clients. Take drugstore.com, for example. The online pharmacy wanted the Consulting Group to identify the best sites for acquiring qualified customers and driving sales.

Using its Web affinity analysis model, the Consulting Group identified 110 sites that showed a high density of drugstore.com's most valuable customers. Based on Avenue A's media buying and planning model, 17 sites were chosen.

The sites that the Consulting Group tested delivered customers who were 10 times likelier to purchase than low affinity sites, Avenue A claimed.

Based on these findings, the Consulting Group chose a site genre that delivered 43 percent of sales for only 32 percent of drugstore.com's budget. In the process, it also built a list of 1.45 million high-quality prospects for the online pharmacy.

Besides drugstore.com, Avenue A's Consulting Group also has signed on MSN, BestBuy.com and uBid.com as clients.

"We essentially charge a flat fee for our analyses," Sherman said, "but it'll depend on the types of questions they ask and depends on the clients."

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