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Performance Drives Loyalty: Transforming Marketing at Constant Contact

January 16, 2013

Small business is the engine of the American economy.

This is not an engine that is easy to run for any entrepreneur. It takes serious work and you constantly face serious challenges. One of those challenges is centered on a critical component of success for any business of any size: marketing.

In order to properly engage your audience, you need the optimal tools, technology and talent to do the job. But historically, that’s not always been available to small business owners. More often than not, they are far too busy running their business to have the time to assemble everything needed to effectively market their products or services. As such, it used to be that small business marketing lagged behind its larger cousins who typically have dedicated marketing technology and departments.

Enter Constant Contact.

Launched in 1998, Constant Contact wrote the book on Engagement Marketing™ – the new marketing success formula that helps small businesses create and grow customer relationships in today’s socially connected world.

Finally, the little guy had the power of much bigger organizations in ways that generate new customers, repeat business, and referrals through email marketing, social media, events, local deals, digital storefronts and online surveys.  Today, more than 500,000 small businesses, nonprofits and associations around the world use Constant Contact as their platform for powerful marketing campaigns that drive new business and keep their existing customers coming back for more.

Constant Contact has always had one mission in mind: do whatever they can to make their customers successful. And they take that mission very, very seriously because that success is shared. If Constant Contact has successful clients, Constant Contact will be successful as well. After all, performance drives loyalty. So, as you can imagine, if they are not able to help their customers be successful, that creates a clear and present challenge for their organization.

Take, for example, the analytics involved in measuring the various success factors in an email campaign. One success factor that all email marketers wrestle with is time. We’ve all said it: “When is the best time to send my email?” Constant Contact had the data to answer that question, but they couldn’t fully analyze it. At best, they could look at around 100,000 emails at a time, but they needed to go much bigger than that. They needed the ability to deeply analyze the 35 billion emails their customers generated on an annual basis.

Think about that for a second. 35 billion emails. That’s an incredibly huge number. That’s big data. And that led to the logical next step: How can Constant Contact look at this massive amount of critical campaign data in a broader scale to produce better results?

To accomplish this task, Constant Contact chose to work with IBM and one of its business partners, Persistent Systems, to implement a cutting-edge big data solution.  From the start, everyone agreed that the solution had to be highly scalable, easy to deploy, and it had to add value to both Constant Contact organization and their customers’ organizations.

The recommendations called for IBM InfoSphere BigInsights along with PureData for Analytics – powered by Netezza technology and Cognos BI – to craft a cohesive solution with the horsepower needed to overcome any big data challenge Constant Contact could throw at it now or in the future.

The results were as impressive as they were immediate. With analysis time reduced from days or hours to seconds, Constant Contact saw 40x performance improvements while simultaneously improving their customers’ performance. Case in point: when it came to their customers email campaigns, they increased performance by 15 to 25%.

Now, what small business owner wouldn’t jump for joy over numbers like that?

Jesse Harriott, chief analytics officer at Constant Contact, recently spoke with IBM about this project. Check out the video to see how Constant Contact is using big data analytics to help their customers be even more successful.