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Rather than let promotional dollars blow away like so much sawdust, Restoration Hardware wanted improved visibility into the results of its Web customer-outreach efforts. So the home furnishings retailer implemented an analytical solution from Coremetrics Inc. to track both the day-to-day behavior of its online shoppers, as well as new visitors brought in from keyword ad placements at major Internet search engines. Director of Web merchandising Stephanie Garcia uses the analytical results to confirm that the company's investment in online marketing continues to make sense. "Right out of the box we were able to prove that I could get an ROI on a [marketing] program," Garcia says. Aside from verifying the worth of the company's first major search engine ad buy last year, which paved the way for further investment in 2003, the results from the Coremetrics analysis have helped target ongoing campaigns better. "We're saving money, not wasting money on search words that wouldn't be productive for us," Garcia says. The goal for Restoration is to understand the scope and meaning of customer behavior, through any channel. "We don't just want to keep the site up and not learn anything,"she says. Marketers at the San Diego Union-Tribune may be reading over your shoulder. When readers sign on to SignOnSanDiego.com, the online branch of the Union-Tribune, WebSideStory's HitBox tracks their clicks around the site. More than 30 Union-Tribune staffers then use that site analysis to help maximize the exposure of relevant advertising. The Union-Tribune tracks performance by individual content sections to provide greater relevance to the diverse group of advertisers who buy space in the newspaper and Web site. While editors and marketers watch for trends in readership, salespeople can give instant indicators to clients about daily hit rates when contacting those advertisers about expanding their ad buys. The analytical insight is one of the components of the SignOnSanDiego.com strategy that has led to a doubled readership and 50 percent higher ad revenues over a two-year period. In addition to bolstering the insight of the advertising salespeople, the spillover from the real-time view of reader activity has given editors more opportunities to make interesting, fast-paced decisions to expand news coverage as well. "We got into this because I knew we needed better statistics," says Chris Jennewein, director of Internet operations. "I can make decisions based on more than pure ROI, but I am sure it is extremely high."
Customer attrition can send any company reeling, and did for brokerage Dreyfus Service Corp. Five years ago nearly one quarter of managed assets would flow out over the course of a year. This eventually led the company to launch a large-scale analytical effort using SAS software to identify and quash the causes of attrition. But Dreyfus went beyond creating customer profile categories for its sales and service staff to use. The firm created a cross-disciplinary team of sales, marketing, and database experts to interpret the data and develop coordinated retention campaigns. Now, front-line personnel have insight into likely changes in an investor's needs and interests, and the company can act more quickly when assets under management begin to decline, whether simply because of a down market or because of redemptions. The result, says Dreyfus Executive Vice President Prasanna Dhore, is an asset attrition rate today of less than 7 percent. "It's not an overnight--we started in 1997," Dhore says. "But in this market where selling is so difficult, we have to do everything we can to save the assets and give the customer solutions.
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