Tag Archives: modeling

NCDM Notes: Pragmatic Analytics

Presented by Portrait and AAA South

Overwhelming amounts of data combined with rapid growth (especially in unstructured data) makes our job difficult: difficult to gather isight and difficult to implement chages once we have insight.  We also need to make sure we are solving the right problem, and not waisting time on results which are not actionable.

Analysts need to minimize time required to understand and prepare the data: tasks that are necessary before any analytics or modeling can be started. 

There are a couple of solutions:

First, create analytical tables that summarize and aggregate data that is now manually pre-processed.  AAA builds a big table that aggregates data at the household level.  It icludes activity summaries (could be transactional and promotional), prefereces, and  demographics.  For AAA this includes about 150 colums, with some colums updated weekly and some monthly.

AAA uses SAS to create this analytical table, but Portrait could do this too.  AAA is moving towards having Portrait create the analytical table.  This table is kept on its own server that the analytics department controls, unlike the primary DB surver (DB2), which MIS controls.

This more structred data table allowed AAA to help managers do some analytics theselves.

Second, use tools that ease the analytical and modeling process.  AAA uses Portrait software.  The output AAA uses is a matrix of various segment intersections, which simplifies the understand of how each segment will perform; it shows how each element in the matrix will perform relative to the norm.

These two efforts shortened AAA’s modeling process from 5 months to 2 months.

Take-away: Modeling can be easy.  You only need the right structure and tools.

Dinner with Portrait Software

I had the great fortune last night to be invited to dinner by Portrait Software last night.  This is a great group of guys, smart and fun, and if you are considering marketing optimization, analytics, or campaign management software it is worth looking into their suite.

The trip to the Forge, in Miami Beach, was something to remember.  The poor driver had no clue how to get there, so three people immediately whipped out their iPhones to provide directions.  Unfortunately, the iPhone presented to the driver had the wrong address, so we ended up in some industrial area of Miami instead of at a restaurant in Miami beach.  It was a rather hilarious combination of a clueless driver and conflicting GPS advice.

When we got to the restaurant, we were seated around this massive table and in 10 foot tall, 4 foot wide, white leather, wing-back chairs.  These things were so heavy that the staff had to help you push them up to the table.  Once in, you were pretty much stuck.

The chairs also made it a challenge for the great service staff to serve the food and drink.  You”d be talking to somebody and suddenly see a waiter’s arm reach out between two chairs to poor wine, but you’d never see his body.  The contrast between the waiter’s black outfit and the white chairs made this even more comical.

Anyway, the Forge has atmosphere and attitude seeping out of its pores.  I ate too much but drank just the right amount (yeah, right).