As a full-service marketing agency, Ansira is constantly using huge data sets of consumer data from sources such as Acxiom and Experian to build out customer profiles. These profiles are an important part of understanding a client’s customer base or assessing target audiences for a new business pitch. Two weeks lead time has been required to build out one of these profiles as the data formatting process was lengthy and transforming the results into a meaningful profile could take days. This final data set would also need to be reviewed by internal teams to build out a strategy around the profile results, thus at least two weeks was generally required to complete the process from start to final solution. After saving significant amounts of time on other recurring reporting needs with Alteryx, the question was posed if this consumer profile process could be a good candidate for an Alteryx solution. Of course the answer was "Yes!" Using Alteryx, Ansira could create a workflow that would format data, apply indexing and create a full consumer profile in a matter of hours, not weeks.
Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve
There are 400+ variables in our Acxiom database, which provides consumer data on 200+ million people in regard to demographics, shopping habits and hobbies/interests. Ansira already had an efficient data hygiene process in place for cleansing a customer list and appending these variables but an effective process for consolidating this data and turning it into a meaningful report that could be easily consumed had not yet been adopted. The data produced to build these profiles was in Excel and required a lot of manual formatting to transform it into an in-depth profile. To respond quickly to new businesses pitches and provide faster insights for time-sensitive strategic initiatives, Ansira needed a standard insights report for understanding and interpreting these consumers. The Analytics team stepped in and built out a process in Alteryx that tackled just that and became a winning solution.
Describe your working solution
Once Ansira receives a client’s customer list to be profiled, it goes over to the Data Services department who runs the data hygiene cleanse on the list and appends the 400+ Acxiom data fields to it. Once the Analytics team receives the cleansed file, it gets loaded into the Alteryx Customer Profiling Workflow. Within the workflow, the data is formatted using several Transform, Filter and Formula tools to prep it for the profile report.
Within the workflow, the same process is run on the entire Acxiom database so that a client’s customer can be compared to the general U.S. population. With over 400+ fields and 200+ million records, the Acxiom table is very large so In-Database tools are used to sample and extract that data.
Once both data sets are cleansed the results are indexed and broken out into four categories (Demographics, Shopping Activity, Hobbies/Interest, and Banking/Financial Metrics). Using the Reporting tools, tables are built and conditional formatting is applied to color code variables that over and under index, making the profile easy to interpret. The final eight-page customer profile report is then exported in a PDF format.This profile is then sent to internal teams where they incorporate these findings into their strategic initiatives with minimal additional help from the Analytics team.
Describe the benefits you have achieved
We have received multiple benefits from this project. The biggest one is being able to turn around a full in-depth profile in one day, not two weeks. As an agency we are constantly balancing our workload with tight deadlines and too frequently a customer profile has been desired for a new business pitch or strategic initiative for an existing client but it just was not an option because it took too long to pull together. Being able to now create a profile in a matter of hours provides a huge advantage by having this rich and important data readily accessible.
Another unexpected benefit we encountered was in a recent Forrester Wave. The Forrester Wave is an evaluation of vendors in software, hardware and service markets where they grade and score vendor offerings to serve as an industry benchmark for companies looking to expand their vendor partnership. These evaluations are subjective and are intended to be a true and transparent look at a companies’ capabilities.
Ansira recently participated in two Wave studies and was named a leader and strong performer in the Customer Database and Customer Engagement reports. Part of their evaluation included scoring for the data hygiene and customer profiling process. For this, Ansira scored very high, which is a testament to how well we were able to streamline the profile development process and how valuable the quick delivery of this information is to our clients.