SAS launches marketing automation program

SAS Institute has unveiled Marketing Automation (MA) 4, a software package designed to make marketing initiatives simple for the...

SAS Institute has unveiled Marketing Automation (MA) 4, a software package designed to make marketing initiatives simple for the enterprise to achieve.

MA 4 is the first product built to operate on the firm's latest business intelligence platform, SAS 9, which was released at the end of March.

The company said MA 4 provides data management and marketing campaign creation capabilities, as well as predictive analysis that allows businesses to go beyond rudimentary customer segmentation based on household incomes and age groups.

"A good example would be in the wireless telecommunications arena," said Cameron Dow, SAS Canada's vice-president of marketing.

"It's great to be able to execute marketing campaigns, but it's even better to be able to identify segments within your customer base that are more likely to cancel their subscriptions with you and go to a competitor. It's more effective to have that predictive capability and then build a campaign to go after those potentially lost customers."

Eric Schmitt, a senior industry analyst at Forrester Research, said MA 4 provides a better user interface than did its predecessor, so people who are not well versed in data analysis can garner useful enterprise info from the program. He added that SAS has done well to base MA 4 on SAS 9. Strong ties between the marketing software and the new SAS platform make MA 4 a front-runner for existing SAS customers seeking marketing automation.

However, when asked if SAS has done anything to ease the burden of implementing and managing MA 4, Schmitt said that remained to be seen.

"The question of what level of commitment it takes, what IT's experience is, I want to talk to customers about that," he said, explaining that he viewed an MA 4 demo a few months ago, but he hasn't talked to any companies that have installed the technology yet. "A piece of software isn't like a record album. You can't listen to it and pass judgment on it."

Stefan Dubowski writes for

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