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Customer Stories


Delvinia delivers customer insight in half the time with SAS®

Delvinia Interactive helps its Fortune Global 500® clientele understand their online customers better by delivering insights about the online digital customer experience. The firm wanted to increase its competitive advantage by using SAS® to develop an Insight Engine that allows the firm to analyze more data than before, in half the time.

Delvinia Interactive, based in Toronto, is a Canadian pioneer in the digital marketing space. The agency provides its clients with insights into the digital behavior of consumers through its two areas of business: Interactive Solutions and Online Data Collection, which gathers data through its proprietary online consumer panel composed of more than 130,000 English-speaking and francophone Canadians.

With a breadth and depth of online experience that has attracted a blue-chip client roster and garnered a slew of industry awards, Delvinia was looking to stay ahead of the pack in a competitive market.

"The two trends in the marketplace today are a growing focus on the digital space and measurability," said Adam Froman, Delvinia's President and CEO. "We are fortunate that we're well-established in the digital niche. Yet the very nature of this interactive space is that you can measure everything – we collect so much data, but how do we make sense of it? This was the problem we needed to solve."

Delvinia knew its future lies in applying data-driven insights to its client solutions. The challenge was finding a cost-effective way to implement data analysis into the firm's established methodology. After investing $1 million on a yearlong project to develop the new concept in-house, Delvinia found the obvious solution was choosing SAS Analytics (data mining and reporting) to drive its business analytics.

"Our clients realize that technology is driving consumers to change their purchasing behavior, but there is no information out there to tell them why people use digital technologies the way they do. So companies are making lots of mistakes in the interactive space through trial and error, because their online presence doesn't resonate with the people using their Web sites and other digital touch points," said Froman.

He added, "It's expensive to investigate this type of consumer trend; yet clients turn to us for the right answer and they want it fast, without having to pay for time-consuming research. So we needed a way to access massive amounts of consumer data, combine it with information from our own research panel, and make sense of it all quickly enough to develop strategies for our clients. SAS helps us deliver this solution and actually cut our analysis time in half – for us, that's immediate ROI."

Building a solution to engineer insight
Froman said Delvinia's Director of Strategic Development, Julianne Smola, was tasked with finding a vision that fit the firm's picture of the "digital customer experience" together with its online consumer panel and its interactive practice.

The result was the Delvinia Insight Engine – a data warehouse comprised of information from the quarterly profiling surveys sent to the firm’s online panelists asking specific questions about their digital habits (How many hours a week do you spend online?); life stage (Are you planning a home renovation project this year?); attitudes (Do you feel technology makes it easier to stay connected with family and work?); and data from outside sources such as the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), as well as projected census data.

Delvinia uses SAS to run queries against the Insight Engine to generate insights associated with a client’s particular audience.  They can also run a client’s customer file against the engine to enhance their existing knowledge of their customers. The software helps speed up the process of finding particular information – things individual customers are doing, such as online search and purchasing behaviors – within a mass of data. Delvinia’s recent relaunch of the Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) Web site, Froman said, offers a good example of how the solution works in helping to enhance the digital customer experience.

"The COC came to us saying, 'We want to create a digital experience at the same level as the experience of going to the new Four Seasons Centre and attending an opera performance, but we know nothing about our online customers – can you tell us what we need to know?' "Froman said. "We took the postal codes of the customers that they know are transacting online and using SAS, overlaid that data with in-house information in our Insight Engine, which told a whole story about their digital customers. And thanks to the speed of SAS, we were able to do this in a few days rather than spending weeks or months on the research."

The telling thing about this case, Froman added, was the lesson about who the Canadian Opera Company’s digital customers are. Rather than the perceived opera-lover who is someone in an older, less digitally savvy demographic, Delvinia found the average opera-goer is more digitally inclined than the average Canadian even though only 20 percent of opera customers are transacting online. “Now they know that focusing more marketing efforts on the digital channel – encouraging people to transact online – won’t be a shock for most of their customers,” he said.

A crucial step in creating the Insight Engine was Delvinia's partnership with the consumer intelligence research firm, Generation5. Working together, the two firms developed a segmentation schema using Generation5's SAS-based modeling methodology, called MOSAIC. Their efforts resulted in the Delvinia Digital MOSAIC – a market segmentation system that offers a 360-degree view of Canadian consumers' attitudes toward and use of digital technologies.

"We branded the segmentation system because it's not proprietary – other marketers can use it," said Smola as she described the process of developing the Insight Engine. "The Delvinia Digital MOSAIC segments customers into 20 groups across 150 different types – everything from 'Single Metro-tech,' which implies a young, digitally savvy customer, to 'Small-Town Digital Dreamers' who don't have a lot of income and live in rural areas, but spend a high percentage of their income on digital technology."

“For any one postal code we have various Generation5 modules and the Delvinia Digital MOSAIC data, plus we are continually adding our own panel responses through our quarterly profiling surveys. The combination of that information results in a robust picture of a specific Canadian household with a focus on their digital attitudes and behaviors,” said Smola. “But without SAS to help us manage the data, we would have too much information to work with.”

Froman concurred. "SAS is actually helping us manage the data as well as understand the key performance indicators of our own online research panel – the solution is proving to be invaluable in ways we didn't even expect," he said.

"In building the Insight Engine from scratch, we wanted to pick the right software without compromise and after all our analysis it became clear that SAS was the only analytics solution we would have confidence in. With SAS, we have this data warehouse asset that we're able to mine and use to help us move that much further down the path of understanding."

Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Julianne Smola, Director of Strategic Development, and Adam Froman, President and CEO



Combining and analyzing massive amounts of customer behavior data in order to provide clients with digital customer experience-related insights about their customers


Using SAS 9.2, SAS® Enterprise MinerTM and SAS’ Reporting, Delvinia developed a warehouse (the Delvinia Insight Engine) and worked with SAS partner, Generation5, to develop a market segmentation system (the Delvinia Digital MOSAIC) that offers a 360-degree view of Canadian consumers’ attitudes toward and use of digital technologies.


SAS has helped Delvinia cut its data analysis time in half while delivering data-based insights to create more effective digital customer experiences for their clients.  It also helped them easily measure the key performance indicators of their proprietary online research panel.

We needed a way to access massive amounts of consumer data, combine it with information from our own research panel, and make sense of it all quickly enough to develop strategies for our clients. SAS helps us deliver this solution and actually cut our analysis time in half – for us, that's immediate ROI."

Adam Froman

President and CEO Delvinia Interactive

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