REVIEWER: Ozgur Dogan, general manager of the Data Solutions Group at Merkle.

BACKGROUND: With clients that include top national brands and Fortune 1000 companies, Merkle helps design, execute and evaluate customer relationship management programs. The agency hosts client CRM systems – building and maintaining the platform and managing information. Using SAS Analytics, Merkle delivers predictive insights that help marketers identify high-value customers as well as those who are attrition risks. With deeper understanding and insight into customer behaviors, clients can direct tailored marketing programs and actively manage customer interactions to increase retention and continuously improve marketing performance.
 
PLATFORMS: We run SAS Analytics on the Linux platform. SAS has long supported open architectures such as Linux. Being performance-conscious, client data is a critical part of our business. Our data volumes are growing, but with SAS on Linux, we’re cutting the time between data acquisition and usable analytic results.
 
PROBLEM SOLVED: Our clients need to know, with certainty, which are the high-value customers and which are at risk. Merkle delivers fact-based information so our clients can proactively manage customer relationships. SAS Analytics go beyond the here and now to provide insight into what customers will likely do in the future. That’s a powerful differentiating strength. During the downturn, Merkle helped limit losses, reductions and attrition. We’re also helping clients optimize the mix of data sources that should be used for maximizing the results of new customer acquisition programs. This represents a big cost savings as well as significant increases in marketing lift.
 
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SAS fully met our technical requirements for data analysis, data visualization, presentation and delivery. SAS Analytics enable Merkle to speed innovative solutions to market so we can create better results for our clients. The proof is in the pudding – our clients are seeing quantifiable business value across the board.
 
STRENGTHS: SAS handles even our toughest challenges. Less powerful software quickly collapsed under our heavy data volumes and configuration requirements. SAS keeps going and going – using advanced analytics to improve client marketing results.
 
WEAKNESSES: When assisting new SAS users in becoming productive, the user guides could only go so far. In those cases, we were able to access SAS’ 24x7 online tech support for the pointers needed.
 
SELECTION CRITERIA: With SAS, we have the flexibility to create customized advanced analytics solutions across many verticals. That was a major factor in our selection of SAS over other products. SAS Analytics allow us to benefit from a full range of enterprise analysis, reporting and visualization. We have reduced our costs of licensing, maintenance, training and support, while ensuring that consistent information is available across our enterprise.
 
DELIVERABLES: We use SAS for data-driven, customer-focused marketing offerings. With SAS, we can access virtually any database to create a customer-centric data repository. This helps us ensure that decisions are made using the right data. Then, using SAS Analytics, we develop predictive models, customer segmentation tools, marketing mix optimization systems and other analytically driven data solutions. SAS enables us to help clients understand the behavior patterns of their best and worst custom¬ers. By having insight into their customers’ attitudes, behavior, profitability and risk, their marketing organization can make faster, smarter business decisions. Our use of SAS Analytics has formed a strong foundation for Merkle’s growing analytic culture.
 
VENDOR SUPPORT: SAS has been nothing but great. We know, firsthand, why other customers feel loyalty for the company. They pay attention to customers. SAS delivered rock-solid solutions to our business problems as well as guidance on how to best address pressing issues. The many ways SAS pays attention to Merkle began with the support services available to us at no additional charge. It includes skilled telephone technical support and unlimited around-the-clock online technical support. SAS is literally always there to support us. In addition, Destiny Corporation has assisted with our build-out, helping SAS be extremely responsive in meeting our tight deadlines.  As a result, we enjoy a great partnership with SAS. They recently participated and presented with us at Merkle’s annual Analytics Exchange. Events like this help to spread knowledge and best practices and help Merkle professionals use SAS Analytics even more effectively.
 
DOCUMENTATION: Some staff members need a little help adjusting to change. The documentation on support.sas.com meets our needs. Because the documentation is integrated with the rest of the support.sas.com content, we can use the product documentation A-Z list to find books that are associated with that product.

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