Turbocharge marketing campaigns with fast data access

Media company Sanoma uses SAS® to unlock more value from Hadoop and optimize customer conversions

Regardless of industry, many companies face a common problem – their cross-channel marketing efforts often result in the creation of multiple data silos. But to stay data-driven and focus on a unified view of the customer, they need to bring all that data together.

For many, Hadoop offers a welcomed solution, allowing companies to store enormous amounts of data on clusters of commodity hardware. While this open-source software has become widely popular for housing big data, connecting that data to analytics and marketing automation solutions can be a challenge.

Now that our data is more accessible, it opens the door to a plethora of new campaign ideas. SAS has turbocharged our marketing organization.

Edwin Van Besouw
Business Intelligence Consultant

To solve this problem, Sanoma – the largest media and learning company in the Netherlands – turned to SAS/ACCESS® Interface to Hadoop. The solution allows Sanoma’s marketers to power their omnichannel marketing efforts directly from Hadoop within a SAS interface – without using cumbersome Hive, Pig or MapReduce commands.

Staying on top of its game

Sanoma is in the midst of a digital transformation. Increasingly, its brands have a multichannel presence. TV shows now have mobile apps, publications are accessible online, and textbooks are morphing into digital learning solutions. Maintaining its industry-leading position means Sanoma needs to connect the dots between those channels.

“Data from all these digital channels is becoming increasingly important,” says Edwin Van Besouw, Business Intelligence Consultant at Sanoma. “To optimize our campaigns, we need to collect the data, link it and augment it with other data. But that’s a challenging endeavor.”

A large part of Sanoma’s marketing data was locked in a Hadoop cluster. While the organization had used SAS Marketing Automation for years, many of the underlying systems operate independently from one another. As a result, provisioning data from Hadoop for those systems had become a laborious process. The IT team had to manually make multiple copies of the data, sort out what it needed and augment that data with other data. And because linking data was so time consuming, this process was often left out, leading to missed opportunities.

“We needed a solution to make the data from Hadoop directly available in the SAS Marketing Automation system,” Van Besouw says. “SAS/ACCESS Interface to Hadoop was the answer.”

People in a store on a tablet

Increasing conversions with real-time responses

With SAS/ACCESS Interface to Hadoop, Sanoma is able to select data faster and more efficiently. It also can link data – such as viewing behavior and buying behavior – to get a more complete picture of the customer.

“Even though we collect data from all our online activities, we only need a small portion of it,” Van Besouw says. “Previously, we had to upload and export all the data. But with SAS, that’s no longer necessary. We can select only the relevant data in advance. Ultimately, this boosts the speed in which we create and personalize campaigns.”

Real-time response also means Sanoma can optimize its conversions. “Trigger-based, personalized campaigns increase our conversion rate by 45 percent,” Van Besouw says. “By acting even faster, we expect that rate to improve even further. For example, if a subscriber of VTwonen magazine leaves an article in her online shopping cart without checking out, we can follow up with a personalized offer via other channels.”

With SAS/ACCESS Interface to Hadoop in place, marketing tasks are more feasible. “It is easier to build models and to initiate promotions based on behavioral targeting,” says Van Besouw. “We did this in the past, but only based on data from digital channels. Now we can enrich those profiles with data about offline behavior, such as visits to an event.

“Now that our data is more accessible, it opens the door to a plethora of new campaign ideas,” Van Besouw says. “SAS has turbocharged our marketing organization.”


  • Unlock data from Hadoop faster and more efficiently.
  • Link data from multiple marketing systems for personalized, real-time marketing promotions.



  • Access, link and enrich data more quickly.
  • Select only relevant data to customize offers.
  • Increase conversions of marketing campaigns
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