Web analytics and CRM, together at last

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Web analytics and CRM, together at last
Web analytics and CRM, together at last

As the Web plays an increasingly strategic role in customer engagement, marketers are scrambling to better understand, measure and act upon information gleaned from this medium.

It has been well-documented that we are in the midst of an information explosion, and the Internet has served as its fuse. Amidst the bits of data that companies try to reassemble on an ongoing basis, perhaps no area has proved as vexing as that of the data generated from the Web. 

The Web site, to date, has been an aggravating paradox for marketers in many organizations. On the one hand, the Web is incredibly nimble, with the ability to make a site design change that will communicate a new offer, product or service to millions of viewers in a matter of moments, with the impact measurable from a pages accessed perspective. On the other hand, many of these same marketers who have used the Web as an advertising medium are virtually handcuffed in actually understanding who is interacting with the Web site and communicating with these customers on a timely basis. 

At the heart of this disconnect is the fact that Web analytics evolved to help IT staffs measure the performance of the sites, while CRM software evolved to help marketers analyze customer behavior. Multichannel marketing initiatives are behind a mashup of these two previously separate disciplines, as Marketers now want to know how their customers interact with every channel, be it in-store, through direct mail or online.

A new class of software has evolved to fill the gap.  It's more modern, with flexible approaches to data collection that get away from traditional tagging and Web logs, and with the ability to capture every customer interaction with the site. It transforms Web data into a customer data warehouse to bring it into proper business context for marketing and includes full business intelligence capabilities which allow for exploitation of the data.

Results of this approach have been illustrated at a top five financial services institution that pushes trillions of dollars of activity through its Web sites daily.  This company has implemented a real-time scoring of customers based on their engagement with the site that is analyzed on a recurring basis. 

As a result, this organization can now score their customers on the basis of where they visit, collateral read, prospectuses downloaded and reserves banked on the site. Ultimately, it can segment these customers and interact with those most receptive to a call or e-mail on a particular service. 

More detailed knowledge of customers is also leading to efficiencies in advertising, as, in addition to quantity of leads generated, the company now has an understanding of the quality of leads generated from paid advertising conducted on different sites. This operation justified refunds from a number of sites, generating a threefold gain against the cost of the system, while eliminating ineffective ads to reduce costs by 10% to 15%.

John Bastone is the global product marketing manager for SAS' Customer Intelligence Solutions. Reach him at john.bastone@sas.com.

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