For organizations looking to make smart marketing decisions, coordinated and accessible data sets aren’t just nice to have; they are a basic requirement. And yet, for a wide variety of reasons, usable databases are often hard to realize. This case study is about how one company—a regional leader in the HVAC industry—found a way to bring together disparate data sources to build a powerful, targeted marketing engine.
Established in 1945, Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning (Isaac) is a market leader across Upstate New York. Isaac prides itself on its organic growth, no doubt in response to a combination of its stellar reputation and robust marketing efforts. In recent years, the marketing team has introduced digital efforts in addition to traditional campaigns, and the company has continued to see success. But just how much of that success could be linked back to specific marketing tactics remained a mystery.
“There’s nothing wrong with our industry-specific database, but we needed a way to easily access information that would be useful to marketing,” said Diana Fisher, marketing manager at Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning. “There was a disconnect between reporting in the marketing department and the data in our database.”
In recent years, the marketing team worked on a blend of traditional and digital media channels, and decision-makers began to look at ways to aggregate and analyze the data being generated across all channels. Successfully achieving this would be the key to unlocking the next level of marketing success and understanding the true value of their efforts. With that in mind, easily accessible data needed to be the next step.
That’s when Isaac engaged Cause + Effect Strategy (CE Strategy) to harmonize data from multiple sources and help to surface actionable business insights.
MARKETERS SEEK CONSULTANT TO MAKE DATA MORE CONNECTED
“We knew that the huge missing puzzle piece for us in marketing was usable data. And we understood that expertise in solving that had to come from outside the company. After a couple of false starts, we partnered with CE Strategy on solutions specific to our situation. That turned out to be the right choice.” – Diana Fisher, Marketing Manager
Isaac’s marketing-data challenges started with an industry-standard database program that was never intended to serve the marketing function. The team knew the kind of control they wanted over their data but didn’t have the expertise to extract it in a usable state. The pain was real, as sales reports could take up to 12 hours to process. In the sales department, the standard procedure was to begin running the report at the end of the workday so it could be ready by morning.
The charge to CE Strategy was to transform the company’s use of data. Requests included:
- Creating a single view of traditional and digital marketing buys, showing associated customer leads and incoming phone calls
- Revealing insights involving media spending, prospect leads and customer conversions
- Analyzing the intersection of media tactics and lead generation
- Increasing the usability of existing customer relationship data (CRM) data so that marketing users could access data and create meaningful reports to satisfy multiple needs across the company
All of these objectives required the development of customer profiles, a long-held desire of the marketing pros at Isaac and one that soon would be fulfilled by the data architects and analysts at CE Strategy.
THE WORK THAT BRIDGED THE DATA DIVIDE
CE Strategy data architects used their own transformation process to map a conceptual data model to Isaac’s consolidated business requirements. To put the model into practice, CE Strategy defined extraction processes to pull data into a business-intelligence data mart that now connects Isaac’s internal applications and databases.
CE Strategy set up standard formulas to support a new, unified semantic business layer that enables Isaac management to view and use a single version of the truth—an invaluable capability that the company could not have achieved on its own. The resulting visualizations and dashboards provide actionable intelligence for all aspects of Isaac’s business.
DATA EXPERTISE ENABLES MARKETING ACCESS AND INSIGHTS
The partnership with CE Strategy brought Isaac not only a more organized and accessible data architecture but a whole new level of marketing information that now arms the company’s marketing decision-makers with eye-opening customer-behavior proofs and actionable insights.
To make it all happen, the experts at CE Strategy worked directly with Isaac’s CRM provider and used a business-intelligence tool to fuse together the far corners of the Isaac data universe. A key deliverable was the creation of customer profiles in geographic markets. This enabled Isaac to market more effectively in markets such as Buffalo and Syracuse, where it can work with parameters such as household ages, length of residence, and household income to map and plot growth patterns for the company.
Today, Isaac is able to use high-level profiles for consumer types in each region to inform its marketing campaigns. Model homes and younger couples in Buffalo, for example, contrast with older homes and older couples in Syracuse.
MARKETING CONFIDENCE, INSIGHTS GROW WITH DATA CAPABILITIES
That turnaround started with Isaac’s business problem and understanding the company’s associated data and then developing analytics that help to improve the business strategy. CE Strategy was involved with every step.
“We can’t overemphasize the impact that CE Strategy’s work has had on our marketing effectiveness. We’re thrilled to be able to get such high value out of our data, but on top of that, we are able to report our insights and results to management, which drives higher market awareness and insights throughout the company. We are grateful to CE Strategy. They didn’t rest until they found a solution for us, and we know that wasn’t easy.” – Diana Fisher, Marketing Manager
“Isaac has come a long way,” said Michael Sutton, Vice President of Client Services, CE Strategy. “They knew they had the raw data in place, but they were frustrated with their inability to access it in ways that would benefit their marketing programs. We’re pleased to report that our plan for them enabled Isaac to turn that totally around so they can properly demonstrate targeting, specific impact, and best of all, return on investment for their management team.”
Perhaps the biggest revelation of Isaac’s data transformation is that it now can establish a solid correlation between dollars being spent and leads coming in. Armed with those details, along with the company’s business goals, Isaac executives can decide everything from marketing budgets and creative approaches to which sales and service offerings to emphasize. These are the hallmarks of a truly data-driven organization.
THE DATA JOURNEY FINDS NEW PATHS TO PRODUCTIVITY
As CE Strategy and Isaac round out their second year as partners, there continues to be exciting data transformations on the horizon. CE Strategy’s work to date eminently qualifies them to take on this next challenge, delivering data-driven insights from Isaac’s maintenance and protection plans.
Isaac currently offers maintenance plans as club memberships (GoldCare and SilverCare) to offer protection against unexpected repairs and provide scheduled maintenance. CE Strategy is partnering directly with Isaac’s CRM provider to create a data pipeline that supplies data and ongoing insights on Isaac’s club members, including data points such as whose membership is about to expire, how long they have been customers, and how often they have used the program. The goal is to enable Isaac to create customer value-driven marketing programs for this membership program and to drive campaigns around lapsed membership, renewals, and expected customer savings.
As CE Strategy and Isaac continue to develop their fruitful relationship, the CE Strategy team has its eye on moving the HVAC experts further down the path of data science and machine learning. Now that a solid foundation has been built around reliable data sources and stable architecture, the possibilities to further impact the marketing team and the business as a whole are great.