REVIEWER: David Norton, senior VP and chief marketing officer at Harrah's.

BACKGROUND: Harrah's Entertainment Inc. is the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions, and now operates casinos on four continents. The company's properties operate primarily under the Harrah's, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names; Harrah's also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos and the World Series of Poker. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

PLATFORMS: SAS retrieves data from our Teradata warehouse and builds predictive models that reveal which customers should be targeted for loyalty incentive programs.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 1998, Harrah's began segmenting its customers to better target customers based on a variety of behaviors. Harrah's uses SAS predictive analytics technologies with its rewards program data to build customer loyalty. By focusing on technology and relationship marketing, we've been able to leverage our distribution advantage and engender loyalty across every key market.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Using SAS predictive analytics, we build models to reveal insights hidden in a massive Teradata warehouse of customer data. SAS spotlights factors currently affecting customer behavior so Harrah's can deliver the most meaningful offers possible to its valued customers through automated campaigns. The precision of SAS helps to ensure the continued effectiveness of marketing efforts. SAS provides us with a range of techniques and processes for the collection, classification, analysis and interpretation of data to reveal patterns, anomalies, key variables and relationships, leading ultimately to new insights and better answers faster.

STRENGTHS: SAS has been developing and delivering advanced statistical analysis software for more than 30 years. SAS predictive analytics has the ability to process large quantities of data quickly, and that has helped us improve our performance. Because SAS software handles large data sets from disparate sources, our analysts are free to focus on analysis rather than data issues. We count on SAS to quickly harvest important insights from these huge stores of enterprise data - something many software offerings cannot do. Statistical procedures in SAS are constantly being updated to reflect the latest advances in statistical methodology, thus enabling us to go beyond the basics for more advanced statistical analyses.

WEAKNESSES: SAS requires a unique skillset to be used. SAS training has increased our organization's productivity and helped us extract additional value from our investment.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated and piloted SAS predictive analytics and it worked very well, allowing us to employ industrial-strength analytics across a wide variety of activities, including mining vast amounts of customer data to help reduce fraud, anticipating resource demand, increasing acquisition curbing customer attrition.

DELIVERABLES: We use SAS to build models that predict upside into the future. Historical data can show how often a customer visits Harrah's casinos, but predictive models can actually reveal which customers are likely to be visiting other casinos in the market so we can include them in campaigns that can increase their loyalty to Harrah's casinos.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The implementation was seamless. SAS has provided support, upgrades, information on best practices, as well as PR. Working with the people at SAS has been a pleasure. That's especially true with technical support and PR. Technical support at SAS is provided by masters- and doctorate-level statisticians who can help address almost any issue quickly. SAS customer support is available by phone, the Web and via email - so we can get answers 24x7. SAS PR is proficient in bringing Harrah's just the right opportunities for positive press exposure. We appreciate SAS' responsiveness.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is very good. SAS documentation is accessible both through an HTML-based online library and in printer-friendly PDF versions.


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