SAS, SPSS Deliver Revamped Marketing Tools

Vendors announce new tools for marketing automation, predictive marketing

Long-time data mining competitors SAS Institute Inc. and SPSS Inc. have each revealed new versions of their marketing automation and predictive marketing tools. This week in Montreal, at its user conference, SAS announced the availability of the first of these applications—less than two months after SAS9’s official coming out party. And late last month, SPSS announced Predictive Marketing 2.0, a campaign optimization and execution tool that incorporates technology that SPSS acquired from the former Data Distilleries (see

SAS's Marketing Automation 4

For SAS, Marketing Automation 4 is an important deliverable: When SAS Institute Inc. announced its SAS9 BI suite in March, officials promised to port at least seven of its analytic applications to the new BI stack.

The new release of Marketing Automation shows that SAS—which was plagued by delays during the more than two-year ramp-up to SAS9—is executing on these promises. The new product is part of SAS’ Customer Intelligence suite; the company says it incorporates an extensible design so that customers don’t have to re-engineer their business processes to fit their software.

Just as SAS promised that its SAS9 BI platform would deliver on the Holy Grail of BI Objectives—BI for the masses—the company says that Marketing Automation has been designed for users of all different types and skill levels.

In this regard, officials say, the new application incorporates canned support for a variety of different marketing best practices, and features new user interfaces designed to support different marketing roles, from campaign managers to marketing executives. Thanks to Marketing Automation 4’s integration with the SAS9 BI suite, business users can tap SAS’ analytics to create targeted customer intelligence, company officials say.

SPSS' PredictingMarketing 2.0

Likewise, PredictiveMarketing 2.0 is an important release for SPSS, says Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc. “It helps to further establish the company as both a data-mining specialist and a vendor of predictive analytic applications and solutions,” he notes. “It represents the first of a series of such applications, the overall success of which should have a major impact on SPSS’ future growth and prosperity.”

As its name implies, PredictiveMarketing 2.0 is a tool that helps marketers predict how individual customers will respond to specific campaigns and channels, as well as calculate which campaigns will generate the greatest revenue.

SPSS officials say PredictiveMarketing 2.0 features enhancements that can help marketers determine to whom to send offers, which offers to send, when to send them, and which channels to use. Also new is a cross-campaign optimization feature that lets marketers more effectively target customers across multiple campaigns.

In addition, PredictiveMarketing 2.0 can enforce internal contact restrictions and interaction policies, pursuant with federal and state "do-not-call" lists. The revamped tool also supports event-driven marketing campaigns, which means it monitors customer behaviors to identify changes or events that could indicate an unmet need or potential loss of value. PredictiveMarketing 2.0 then attempts to select the best campaign for each particular situation.

Divergent Paths

SAS and SPSS are two data-mining powerhouses that have each gone slightly different ways, with SAS making a strong push into traditional BI and SPSS focusing on its bread-and-butter data-mining and predictive-analytic solutions.

Nevertheless, says Current Analysis’ Schiff, SPSS doesn’t have to let itself be positioned as an also-ran. “SPSS should position itself as a vendor of predictive analytics technology and solutions while emphasizing that, unlike some of its competitors, it does not wish to complete with other BI vendors in the query and reporting arena,” he concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.