CRM Shop PreVision Shifting From ASP Model to Software

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PreVision LLC, an agency specializing in customer relationship management services, next year will expand its technology offerings from an application service provider model to a software focus.

The Lincoln, MA, agency will complement the expansion by forging closer ties with Valassis Communications Inc., an $800 million firm strong in the free-standing inserts business. Valassis in August 2000 bought 80 percent of PreVision.

"Specifically, our long-term plan is to expand beyond servicing individual clients to having a separate company to house strategic third-party products," said Deirdre Girard, principal of PreVision.

The expansion from ASP to stand-alone software packages will start with three products.

First will be the PreVision Preview reporting and analysis tool. This lets users instantly query and data-mine for planning and evaluating marketing campaigns.

The Prevision Campaign Optimizer will follow. This campaign management tool lets users speedily develop marketing campaigns and avoid common errors.

An Opportunity Mapper is the final product. It lets users integrate geographic and behavioral data for optimizing marketing and merchandising decisions.

On the agency side, PreVision is introducing an event-driven mail series for retail.

"The focus of the whole series is to support grand openings, store remodels and competitive threats," Girard said. "So it's a series designed to react to specific events in the retail area."

The mail series will be followed by the Relationship Roto, which combines strategy, creative, analytic and printing. This is loyalty building through a traditional circular.

"Right now circulars are focused totally on short-term sales," Girard said. "This expands the use to also build loyalty and customer retention."

Then, it will transition Business Measures, another proprietary tool, which uses specific customer data to evaluate the overall business health of the organization. This will change from a custom analytic product to a standard reporting tool.

Key to these changes is the cooperation of Valassis and support from its clients.

"The ultimate vision is where we do the very sophisticated high-end, customer-level targeting and Valassis does macro-level targeting response media," Girard said.

PreVision last year posted billings of $25 million. It offers strategic marketing, analytics, database services, creative, production and direct and online marketing, though not broadcast. Clients include, Toys "R" Us, Talbots and Qwest.

There is an overlap in PreVision and Valassis clients, particularly in the grocery business. Retailer Stop & Shop is one such shared client. This overlap is another incentive for PreVision to proceed with its transition.

"It's not a sudden thing," Girard said. "This has always been the vision of PreVision. Since Valassis bought us in August 2000, our focus had been to strengthen ourselves operationally.

"Now," she said, "we're looking at each other because we share so many clients and our clients are asking us to work with each other."

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