February, 2021 Archive
Today’s plethora of social channels and the capability for instant feedback has transformed the way we generate sales leads and cultivate customer relationships.Enter Big Data analytics, which now plays a major role in better understanding our customers and their buying process. A Big Data analytical environment is critical to producing analyses that integrate a wide range of source data, enabling marketers to synthesize data into a high-level view for strategic marketing management, while providing the ability to drill down to the tactical execution level at the same time.Accenture pointed out in Serving the Nonstop Customer (October 2012): “A customer’s path to purchase used to be linear. Now the journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous. Marketing executives need a new model that can help them become and remain relevant to their customers in this uncharted environment.“Even casual observers of the world of commerce know by now: The traditional marketing ‘funnel’—the model that described a customer’s path to buying goods and services as linear… has lost its relevance. It’s too slow, too static and too generic to be used as a foundation for companies’ marketing, sales and service strategies, and as a guide to their execution.”Given this shift in thinking, my team has been using high-performance EMC and Pivotal technology, such as Isilon Big Data storage hardware and Greenplum data computing appliances, to quantify our customer relationships and understand the most relevant way to communicate (and generate sales).There is a lot of variability among our contacts and how they respond to different marketing vehicles. This chart was built by Greenplum and Tableau and represents the audience reached through six months of marketing programs initiated by a single EMC division.Taking the variations into account, our data science team broke these companies out into value-based customer segments, increasing our precision by grouping them based on shared characteristics.This calibrated our marketing mix to maximize effectiveness. Based on the unique characteristics of each population (in terms of decision-making, media mix, products purchased, purchase cycle and spending with EMC, as well as other demographics and firmographics), we can target different segments with marketing tailored to their specific needs.For example, a segmentation scheme for one of the largest Asia Pacific countries enabled us to produce a campaign that targeted the segments most responsive to outbound telemarketing. This in-country telemarketing campaign is in flight now, and it has become the pilot for a large global campaign that we are developing and rolling out through field marketing.Further modeling using association and time-series analysis produced a list of target companies with the five products that each company was most likely to purchase. We are using this approach for cross-sell and up-sell field marketing campaigns globally, based on customer and market potential.The chart below shows market potential based on modeled propensity to buy for campaign targeting (colors represent market segments).The nonlinear nature of the marketing funnel is even more evident when we drill down to the customer level. For each segment, we combine marketing, sales and firmographic data to create marketing “blueprints” representing a typical customer profile. These help us learn about how that customer behaves by graphically depicting all the contacts, job titles and marketing vehicles that the customer responds to during the course of a purchasing cycle.Our next step will be using machine-learning techniques to identify patterns of collective contact behavior within a company so that we can predict when they will be most receptive to our communications. As we work towards a deeper understanding of the “always on” customer buying journey, we will blend in unstructured social data using Greenplum/Hadoop DCA for an even richer view of our customers.
Dell Inc. and Stanford’s Rural Education Action Program (REAP) significantly boosts rural students’ test scores by providing online learning opportunities.Slay a dragon. Conquer a math problem. Rake in the gold coins. And keep on playing. Today, digital games are central to the lives of children and also increasingly, powerful tools for learning.In the mountains of rural China and the underserved areas of China’s booming cities, educational gaming is changing lives.China’s young people living in these areas face many obstacles to academic achievement. Scott Rozelle — a Stanford University economist — has studied these isolated areas for over 30 years and is witness to how computer games can be effective learning tools for these “left behind children.”Rozelle is the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. In partnership with Dell in 2010, Rozelle and his team developed Stanford’s REAP-Dell CAL program, a computer-assisted learning program aimed to bridge the rural-urban educational divide for students in rural schools across China.We recently talked with Rozelle (below left) to learn more about the REAP-Dell CAL program and his experiences in China.Scott Rozelle, co-director of REAP, talks with students involved in the program.As Rozelle explains, the REAP-Dell CAL program uses fun, game-based software run on Dell computers to teach math, Chinese and English to students in grades 3-6.These are the subjects that rural students struggle with the most, and they are essential to the jobs that can eventually lift students out of poverty.When rural and migrant students fall behind in a subject, they cannot get extra help from their teachers, who are not permitted to tutor after school. These students cannot afford to hire private tutors or attend the “cram schools” urban students often rely on. And they cannot get help from their parents, as many rural parents are poorly educated and often work and live away from the family home.“The light of day fades quickly in the mountains, after school lets out. When the CAL program opens up at 5 pm, these kids have lined up early for it,” Rozelle says. “This is the thing they love to do and it also helps their grades — without needing a teacher.”Amongst the beneficiaries, the REAP-Dell CAL program—a Dell Youth Learning initiative—engages young people in communities where Dell operates and manufactures products and provides education and training to children of factory workers in Dell’s supply chain. Dell provides grant funding and our latest technology.Over the past seven years, Dell and REAP have worked together to improve the CAL program and bring it to more schools.In 2015, Dell worked with Shaanxi Normal University and Ankang College to introduce an online version of REAP-Dell CAL in 59 schools serving 3,200 students in Ankang, Shaanxi. Online CAL eliminates the need to travel to remote areas to install and maintain software.The online CAL program enables students to interact and compete with friends, which makes learning even more engaging and effective.In controlled studies conducted in 2016, it was found the online CAL program had twice as much impact on students’ test scores as the installed software (offline) version of CAL.Rozelle recently returned from a trip to see the CAL program in action. Throughout his career, he has lived in China for months at a time to research the problems of the poor and develop broad collaborations with partners from academia, the government and the private sector.Rozelle’s focus on rural education stems from his experiences in 2005, when he asked a Chinese farmer, “What do you really need to live a better life?““He said, if our children can be educated and go to high school and college, our entire family fortune changes,” Rozelle recalls.At the time, China was experiencing an uptake in urbanization and education for children in poor, rural villages was becoming even more important. That trend continues today — underlining the importance of programs like REAP-Dell CAL.In 2017, Dell and REAP plan to scale the online CAL program to all schools currently using our offline CAL program, reaching an estimated 9,000 students total. Our goal is to reach 1 million students with online CAL by 2020.This story shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.We invite you to explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at legacyofgood.dell.com.
About those wooly mittens that Sen. Bernie Sanders wore to the presidential inauguration that sparked quirky memes across social media? Sanders says they’ve helped to raise $1.8 million in the last five days for charitable organizations in his home state of Vermont through the sale of T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers with the iconic image of him sitting with his arms and legs crossed in his brown parka and recycled wool mittens. The independent senator says multiple groups will benefit from the proceeds, including Meals on Wheels and Vermont community action agencies. He also says Getty Images will donate proceeds as part of a licensing agreement.
Event organizers and other unconventional logistics experts are using their skills to help the nation vaccinate as many people against COVID-19 as possible. A year into the coronavirus pandemic, cities and states are enlisting nontraditional people in the effort. It’s been done before: During World War II, American toymakers manufactured parts for military aircraft. A prime example is Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray, who’s now running mass vaccination operations at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. The marathon is on hold until fall, so Massachusetts officials hired McGillivray’s company because it’s skilled at moving people. The push for creative workarounds comes as virus cases surge nationwide and the clamor for tests and vaccinations grows.