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Past Analytics Excellence Awards

Excellence Awards 2016: Katie Snyder - Most Time Saved

Author: Katie Snyder, Marketing Analyst

Company: SIGMA Marketing Insights

 

Awards Category: Most Time Saved

 

We've taken a wholly manual process that took 2 hours per campaign and required a database developer, to a process that takes five minutes per campaign, and can be done by an account coordinator. This frees our database developers to work on other projects, and drastically reduces time from data receipt to report generation.

 

Describe the problem you needed to solve 

We process activity files for hundreds of email campaigns for one client alone. The files come in from a number of different external vendors, are never in the same format with the same field names, and never include consistent activity types (bounces or opt-outs might be missing from one campaign, but present in another). We needed an easy, user-friendly way for these files to be loaded in a consistent manner. We also needed to add some campaign ID fields that the end user wouldn't necessarily know - they would only know the campaign name.

 

Describe the working solution

Using interface tools, we created an analytic app that allowed maximum flexibility in this file processing. Using a database query and interface tools, Alteryx displays a list of campaign names that the end user selects. The accompanying campaign ID fields are passed downstream. For each activity type (sent, delivered, bounce, etc), the end user selects a file, and then a drop down will display the names of all fields in the file, allowing the user to designate which field is email, which is ID, etc. Because we don't receive each type of activity every time, detours are placed to allow the analytic app user to check a box indicating a file is not present, and the workflow runs without requiring that data source.

 

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All in all, up to six separate Excel or CSV files are combined together with information already existing in a database, and a production table is created to store the information. The app also generates a QC report that includes counts, campaign information, and row samples that is sent to the account manager. This increases accountability and oversight, and ensures all members of the team are kept informed of campaign processing.

 

Process Opt Out File - With Detour:

 

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Join All Files, Suppress Duplicates, Insert to Tables:

 

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Generate QC Report:

 

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Workflow Overview:

 

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QC Report Example:

 

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Describe the benefits you have achieved

In making this process quicker and easier to access, we save almost two hours of database developer time per campaign, which accounts for at least 100 hours over the course of the year. The app can be used by account support staff who don't have coding knowledge or even account staff of different accounts without any client specific knowledge, also saving resources. Furthermore, the app can be easily adapted for other clients, increasing time savings across our organization. Our developers are able to spend time doing far more complex work rather than routine coding, and because the process is automated, saves any potential rework time that would occur from coding mistakes. And the client is thrilled because it takes us less time to generate campaign reporting.