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Media Planning Group Uses SAS Analytics to Help Determine Advertising Strategies

Published
  • March 01 2003, 1:00am EST

CATEGORY: CRM Analytics

REVIEWER: Carmine Nardis, senior vice president of Global IT for Media Planning Group.

BACKGROUND: Media Planning Group (MPG) is the media division of Havas, the sixth largest communication group worldwide. Working in partnership with our sister agencies within the Havas Group, we offer a global service to our clients. As media specialists, we offer a full range of services, including media planning and buying, market research and efficiency measurement, strategic communications development, and interactive and online advertising for a range of blue-chip clients via our specialist divisions, media planning, arena and media contacts.

PLATFORMS: SAS runs on Sun Enterprise 420R and 220R servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With SAS, MPG helps its clients sift through mounds of customer demographics and hundreds of advertising channels to fight media clutter and produce attention-grabbing publicity campaigns across television, magazines, newspapers, outdoor ads and the Web. Each unique client solution includes recommendations for ad frequency and location as well as a complete strategy for delivering the right message for each product. MPG also uses SAS to correlate consumer spending with advertising investment and to offer post-campaign results online.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The product is functioning well for us. SAS' CRM solutions offer analytical capabilities, data mining capabilities and OLAP performance, which allow MPG to use the same product from the research phase all the way to the final presentation of results. With in-depth analytics from SAS, MPG can predict return on investment (ROI) before the campaign begins and then measure final results against expectations. Throughout the process, MPG relies on SAS' modeling capabilities to answer all of our clients' what-if scenarios, calculate new results for a diverse mix of media buys and advertising strategies, and correlate the results with the advertising investment.

STRENGTHS: Ultimately, SAS has helped MPG become a more intelligent company that can spend its customers' money wisely. Because of SAS' myriad capabilities, we've been able to standardize the company by using one product, meaning less time is spent learning new products and more time is spent processing information. The SAS solution gives us additional time to think about our customers' brands and maximize their results. With SAS, we can make relevant information available to our customers in a very flexible manner through protected extranet sites, enabling them to make informed decisions more easily.

WEAKNESSES: The server-side, OLAP reporting that has been implemented uses JavaServer Pages and currently has less end-user customization capabilities than SAS' client-side OLAP reporting solutions. It would be nice if there was a bit more flexibility in the server-side OLAP reporting so that we could better tailor the reports to our end users' needs.

SELECTION CRITERIA: From a statistical analysis point of view, SAS offers analytical capabilities, data mining capabilities and OLAP performance. SAS is strong in all the areas required by MPG, and it covers a wide spectrum of information and data analysis. SAS is the product that best matches our requirements in each phase. Our business projects include research, strategic planning, scheduling and buying, and the analysis of the results. Furthermore, SAS alone provides a solution that includes integrated simulation and analysis capabilities that run simultaneously with operating data managed on the Web.

DELIVERABLES: MPG employees and buyers have access to an intranet Web report that details account activity, and they have access to analytical applications regarding media investments and advertising effectiveness. Clients are able to analyze campaign results online through a password-protected extranet site. We take the data, bring it into SAS and then, on a nightly basis, run reports so clients can look at the information online and in real time. Additionally, using SAS OLAP capabilities, our clients can "slice and dice" the data any way they choose so the information is most useful to them.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support was excellent during the pre-sales phase. SAS employees are very professional and skilled in understanding what the customer wants to do and how to apply SAS solutions to solve their problems. During the post-sales phase, we dealt primarily with a SAS partner who helped with the implementation and continues to provide occasional support. Because implementation went so smoothly, we have had very little need for additional interaction with the vendor.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is so complete and easy to understand that it is all we need to run the product.

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