BACKGROUND: For more than 24 years, people have trusted Crutchfield for quality car stereo and home audio and video equipment. Consumers are enticed with top brands, unbeatable customer service and knowledgeable sales advisors. Crutchfield currently uses ModelMAX to build strong response models for both buyer and inquirer house files. Crutchfield's primary marketing medium is consumer catalogs, with increasing sales from their Internet Web site.

PLATFORMS: ModelMAX runs on Windows 95, 98 and NT platforms and interfaces with data from anywhere, including SAS, Oracle, DB2, Informix, Sybase and ODBC-compliant sources.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Crutchfield has compared modeling results from various packages in an attempt to produce the greatest response lift for both buyer and inquirer groups. In the comparisons, ModelMAX from Advanced Software Applications (A.S.A) performed very well, consistently producing lifts equal to or greater than all challengers. Crutchfield also benefits from ModelMAX in that its scoring models are easily integrated into their SAS-based production marketing systems.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The speed of ModelMAX has increased with recent releases of the product. Its speed and ease of use have allowed Crutchfield to create and evaluate new variables quickly.

STRENGTHS: Of all packages tested at Crutchfield, ModelMAX produced the most predictive response models. The package's speed and ease of use plus the ability to integrate ModelMAX scoring code into SAS have expanded Crutchfield's speed and flexibility in model building and name selection. The ModelMAX interface has improved with recent releases and now includes user-friendly data manipulation capabilities.

WEAKNESSES: Since 1995, Crutchfield has used ModelMAX to build hundreds of models. Currently, ModelMAX provides no tools for managing "meta-modeling" data, which means it does not track performance metrics of multiple models on multiple data sets. Such meta-modeling data must be managed manually, an arduous and tedious task. Currently, A.S.A and Crutchfield are discussing ways to manage "meta-modeling" data more effectively.

SELECTION CRITERIA: ModelMAX was selected because Crutchfield considered it to be the standard in automated predictive modeling. Its ease of use allows individuals lacking strong statistical backgrounds to build models using the latest statistical techniques, and its speed allows the statistician to focus on business goals quickly. The product is still held in high regard due to its strong predictive modeling. Enhancements to the product have made it easier to use and provide even faster results.

DELIVERABLES: Effective modeling with ModelMAX and a number of other factors have helped Crutchfield improve response rates even while circulation increases. Crutchfield has achieved significant sales growth in the past three years, despite stagnant growth of many competitors in the electronics industry.

VENDOR SUPPORT: A.S.A's staff of professionals have considerable experience in modeling. They are very accessible and are helpful and proactive in their approach to customer service. They have provided keen insight into data manipulation and ModelMAX usage on a regular basis.

DOCUMENTATION: The on-line and printed documentation is timely and comprehensive. The documentation actually gets limited use, as the package is very intuitive and user friendly.

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