SAS, MarketTools Form Alliance

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SAS Institute, an analytical customer relationship management and data warehousing vendor, and MarketTools Inc., a Web-based market research systems and services vendor, are expected today to announce a joint technology and business alliance.

Under terms of the agreement, Cary, NC-based SAS and Mill Valley, CA-based MarketTools will provide preferred CRM services to targeted industries. The technology alliance lets SAS users leverage MarketTools' zTelligence survey data to enhance customer relationship programs.

According to both companies, the alliance also will help consumer packaged goods, retail and other industries achieve greater return on investment from CRM technology. It will provide companies with the ability to capture a continual stream of customer survey data -- including attitudes, awareness and preferences -- and integrate it with their transactional data.

"For companies today, analyzing data on customer behavior, detecting patterns and predicting future actions are at the heart of their CRM efforts," said Paul Bachteal, SAS global director of platform partners for business development and channel operations. "The advent of Web-based market research adds an important and largely untapped source of data on customer attitudes and preferences."

Analysts and customers are pleased about the announcement.

"In general, Web-based survey tools seem a natural next step in expanding the number of data sources that feed into a closed-loop CRM system. What better source than actually asking the consumer?" said Dan Vesset, an industry analyst at IDC. "Adding MarketTools' Web-based survey data to SAS' analytical CRM technology will drive more sophisticated customer segmentation and profiling, enabling improved marketing efforts."

Jeff Hunter, director of research at General Mills, Minneapolis, said, "We are keenly aware that building and managing customer relationships and better understanding consumer needs are essential to our success.

"We're excited by the alliance between SAS and MarketTools, which brings together best-of-breed technologies -- SAS' industry-leading analytic solutions and MarketTools' zTelligence Web-based research platform -- to power CRM efforts," Hunter said.


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