Business intelligence/analytics - The ability to easily access information for monitoring, analyzing, reporting and deciion-making purposes.

Solution Implementer: Catalina Marketing

Solution Provider: Netezza Corporation

Business Pain

When it comes to consumer marketing, information on trends and habits is key to reaching a company’s target demographic. Catalina Marketing, the global leader in behavior-based marketing solutions, provides consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers with the ability to execute targeted marketing programs specific to their customer base. These programs use shopper buying behaviors without compromising any personally identifiable information, and deliver incentives and messages via printers located at the point of sale. Catalina Marketing’s goal is to be the world’s most innovative marketing solutions provider across many industries. To help accomplish this, Catalina Marketing needed a way to quickly collect and query hundreds of billions of market basket records from more than 22,000 retail locations across the U.S.

But the company’s legacy data warehouse environment was not able to keep up with the pace of data volumes and analytic requirements. Routinely, users were unable to run many queries that would provide needed purchasing behavior information at consumer, product and transaction levels.

While the existing system performed adequately in some areas, on a daily basis Catalina Marketing’s IT organization had to intercept valid user queries running an hour or longer. They were faced with difficult and time-consuming choices: modify the existing queries, try to tune the system around them but risk negative side effects on other queries or simply give up and kill the queries. Due to these limitations, the company wasn’t able to find exactly the information it was looking for and, instead, had to settle for more limited insights. Catalina Marketing needed to find a system that could query information on its multiterabytes of data and maintain the flexibility to change as the business required.

Successful Solution

Catalina Marketing needed to decide whether to stay with its current data warehouse system, migrate its database to another traditional data warehouse option or start fresh with the Netezza data warehouse appliance. After careful consideration, the company opted for Netezza’s system, which it deployed in just a couple of months. Catalina Marketing currently has a Netezza installation comprised of NPS 8150, 8250 and 10800 series data warehouse appliances, creating a powerhouse for analyzing massive amounts of information at breakneck speeds.

The NPS system is used by Catalina Marketing to store the records of more than 130 million shopper households and make this information actionable. This gives the company’s customers insight into a large number of shoppers, allowing them to make the best marketing and promotion decisions to increase sales and consumer loyalty. The NPS data warehouse appliance also analyzes only the relevant data for each query, reducing query times from one hour to one minute compared to Catalina Marketing’s previous system and increasing the accuracy of each search so the company’s customers are able to find the exact information they are looking for via business intelligence (BI) applications such as MicroStrategy, Hyperion/Brio and SAS.


Catalina Marketing’s database currently runs on the largest data warehouse appliance ever sold, a Netezza NPS 10800 system. This gives the company and its customers near real-time access to more than 400 billion market basket records, allowing it to give truly detailed insights into consumer behavior. This new database enables Catalina to conduct cross-store chain queries. Catalina can now offer its CPG customers nationwide sales data on their products at a transaction level, a service they had not been able to offer their customers using their previous system. Catalina Marketing’s customers now have access to this wealth of consumer information, aiding them in their marketing and customer loyalty programs.

Catalina Marketing recently rolled out a color printer initiative to some of its customers, including Safeway, a national chain of supermarkets. This program, which is the first of its kind, puts BI to work in a way that consumers can see every time they shop. Using results derived from its Netezza system, Catalina Marketing is able to give shoppers color coupons at the point of sale for items they would likely want to buy in future visits. These more visually appealing coupons, which are targeted directly at each individual consumer, increased the likelihood that shoppers would return and redeem the coupons in future visits. This is evidenced in that since rolling out color coupon printers to stores, coupon redemption has increased over 30 percent.

Additionally, with Netezza, Catalina Marketing was able to reduce its primary database storage space by almost 80 terabytes after the migration to its NPS system, due to the elimination of all aggregate tables and indices. This reduction in storage also decreased the corresponding data center footprint.

Quantitative Results

Using the system built on Netezza’s technologies, Catalina Marketing is able to quickly analyze more than 400 billion market basket records on a deeper level than was previously possible. This gives the company’s customers unrivaled insights into their shoppers, allowing for laser-targeted marketing and consumer loyalty campaigns. Compared to Catalina Marketing’s previous system, the NPS data warehouse appliance is also able to run 70 times more queries on five times the data, allowing for increased efficiency and flexibility.

With Netezza, Catalina Marketing now routinely performs advanced, predictive analytics on shopping basket data for its retail and CPG customers. For example, Catalina Marketing performed an attitudinal analysis of households that determined, based on historical purchasing behavior, which use milk to lighten their coffee and may be convinced to utilize a branded product. Because Catalina was able to increase the efficacy of their analysis, the customer was able to increase the ROI of its marketing campaign by over 30 percent.

Qualitative Results

Using its NPS data warehouse appliance, Catalina Marketing is able to run more queries daily than were previously possible and with much greater accuracy. Individuals running queries on the Netezza system no longer have to be experts in query tuning to receive the results they need to run their business. Additionally, Catalina Marketing’s data analysts are now able to develop new strategies more quickly, allowing the company to be more nimble in responding to customer needs.

The NPS 10800 system’s ability to handle extremely complex and mixed workloads has enabled Catalina to streamline business operations and eliminate the use of less efficient systems. The Company’s migration to the Netezza system allows Catalina Marketing to continue to analyze and develop one-to-one targeted marketing communications plans for its clients.

In the case of the color coupons used to encourage customer loyalty at supermarkets across the country, the near real-time and in-depth queries run on the NPS data warehouse appliance were simply not possible before. The switch has allowed for advanced analyses that have benefited both Catalina Marketing, the customers it serves, and ultimately, the consumers seeking the best deals on quality goods that they desire to purchase.


The long-term value of implementing Netezza comes from Catalina Marketing increasing the value of its service to its customers. They are now able to turn around queries very quickly as well as deploy new applications in a fraction of the time required on alternative architectures, to provide fast, comprehensive intelligence that their customers need to respond to competitors’ price changes, market conditions, etc.

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