Getting Personal


Getting Personal

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 29, 2013

It’s always been true. And at no time has it been more true than today.

People like to be treated as individuals.

So, as you probably already are aware, organizations are learning how to contend with the big (data) so they can better reach the small (individual). However, as you probably also are aware, it’s very early days for this kind of personalized marketing, although a select few companies (namely Amazon) have been doing it for a few years and I’ve been hearing about data mining for nearly two decades.

When I think about personalization, my mind always goes first to the retail goods space. I think about how, for example, one of my favorite apparel companies (Talbots) reaches out to me with offers via e-mail, and how it keeps a database with customer sizes and recent purchases so stores can offer guidance to family members (my mother-in-law, in this case) when they are doing Christmas shopping. And I think about how Talbots and others could go even further with this, potentially sending me alerts on my mobile phone about a sale when they see I’m next door with my daughter at Barnes & Noble or across the street dining at Zinc Bistro.

Interestingly, however, research outfit Ovum (News - Alert) in a recent report chose to focus on personalization as it relates to the insurance vertical.

The talking duck, spunky Flo, and that dude from 30 Rock are all pretty entertaining, but apparently – in this day and age of personalization – they are not enough.

Ovum says that the insurance sector “is quickly moving through an inflection point in the way commerce is conducted” -- moving from a model of one-to-many messaging worked to one in which customers are playing a more active role and, thus, blanket marketing is no longer the best method of outreach. As a result, Ovum says, insurers now have a greater need to understand customers and their needs, and to target messaging appropriately based on that.

“Without a thorough knowledge of their customers, insurers are heading towards a competitive myopia. Customer experiences are becoming the basis of competition in the insurance industry and companies need to encompass customer needs, expectations, and satisfaction into their customer experience management strategy,” says Barry Rabkin, principal analyst for Ovum’s insurance technology practice.

That said, companies continue to provide big data collection and analytics tools for the insurance and other industries to better meet evolving customer expectations.

Among the new developments on this front is a solution called Alteryx Strategic Analytics 8.5.

 “With Alteryx Strategic Analytics 8.5, we are putting big data and customer analytics where they have the most value - into the hands of the business analyst and the decision maker,” says George Mathew, president and chief operating officer at Alteryx. “We are providing a purpose-built product that enables data artisans to easily create the big data customer analytics that their sales, marketing and operations business decision makers need.”

Release 8.5includes new preview capabilities for Twitter (News - Alert), Yelp and Foursquare that can be added into any analytic workflow. And Alteryx now has a partnership with social media data company Gnip, whose solution is now integrated with the Alteryx solution.

“Kaiser Permanente has been using the Alteryx platform to blend all of the relevant data needed to get to those strategic decisions quicker and to implement our analytics projects faster,” says Greg Hall, senior service optimization leader at Kaiser Permanente. “Alteryx Strategic Analytics 8.5 takes this integration to the next level to leverage an even broader array of data sources and offers a compelling new analytic design environment – both essential to us as we continue to expand our use of strategic analytics.”

On a separate front, a company called j2 Global (News - Alert), Inc. has introduced Campaigner Elements to its Campaigner line. This is an improved API for Campaigner Email Marketing -- allowing marketers to integrate systems and analyze big data to gain visibility into subscriber behavior.

 “Integration and marketing automation is one of the biggest challenges for marketers looking to target the right customers in the most efficient way,” says Rick Faulk, general manager of cloud services for sales and marketing at Campaigner. “Campaigner Elements API allows users the flexibility to share their data between applications and take advantage of big data analysis, to run more effective campaigns and increase their retention and revenue.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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