General Manager, Targeting and Data Services
Analytics transforms data for 30% revenue growth
Canada Post’s accurate address information, combined with partner data, empowers customers
Where most people see a database, Alexis Zamkow sees customer value.
Her background in interactive marketing and experience in customer relationship management gave Zamkow the unique skill set needed to turn an underutilized asset into a bottom-line impact.
The asset? Canada’s most accurate, up-to-date database of mailing addresses. Canada Post, the country’s national postal distributor, tapped Zamkow to run an internal targeting and analytics team to support direct marketing campaigns. It’s evolved into a product line of its own, offering everything from targeted mailing lists through turnkey database solutions.
We’ve had 30 percent year-over-year growth in revenue for address data products. And that is unheard of.
“We’re the address experts in Canada and we help businesses convert that into competitive advantage,” Zamkow says. “That data originates in our operational systems, from every delivery point in Canada. Then we add third-part data from partners: business data, retail data, demographic data, their preferred channel of communication. That information is added to our addresses and we convert that into a list, a license, a targeting analysis or even potentially a professional service.”
James Smith, director of digital asset for Canada Post, says 70 to 80 input files – go into the repository every month.
“There are about 25 products that we take every month from that,” Smith said.
The biggest challenge is interpreting, analyzing and aggregating that data effectively. “Our source systems are not designed for massive data analysis. They’re designed for mail and parcel delivery logistics,” says Zamkow. “Traditionally, Canada Post has not had a great deal of experience with things like advanced consumer modeling and segmentation.”
As a result of an extensive RFP process, Canada Post turned to SAS to bolster its product offerings. SAS’s Data Management solution helps Canada Post use analytics to transform those discrete data sets into customer insight and a host of products. The impact on time-to-market for new products has been astonishing.
“In the data business, you have to move quickly,” Zamkow says. “Our speed to market has increased fivefold. We used to take a lot of time to massage data, manage it manually. Now, we’ve got our data structured, cleaned and ready to transform in weeks rather than months.
“SAS works on site and understands the nuances of our data, and works seamlessly with our analysts.”
There’s been a corresponding impact on the bottom line. “We’ve had 30 per cent year-over-year growth for our strategic address data products. And that is unheard of,” she says. “In the past, we’d run at 5 to 7 per cent growth.”
And there’s room for more growth, Zamkow believes.
“Addresses are the future of communications and marketing, and we know that accurate addresses in digital and physical states, are the keys to great customer retention,” she says. “We are expanding our offerings based on our strengths. Our strategy is, the closer to the core mailing business a product or service is, the greater our ownership in delivering it. Farther from the core, we enable other companies with great addressing.”
It’s critical that Canada Post continue to expand that revenue stream, Zamkow adds. “With the continuing decline of mail, the digital side is becoming more important. “It’s a strategic mandate for us to leverage our address data to drive new growth opportunities in digital and e-commerce.”
Developing new services from existing assets as legacy revenue streams diminish.
Speed to market has increased fivefold with a corresponding 30% increase in revenue on address data products.