Solutions offer Web marketers customer data boost

John Quinn is a marketing strategist for the Toronto-based offices of SAS Institute (Canada). Traditional bricks-and-mortar companies building e-commerce systems generally start out with a solid base of customer knowledge from previous operations. However, e-intelligence solutions offer companies with little...

John Quinn is a marketing strategist for the Toronto-based offices of SAS Institute (Canada).

Traditional bricks-and-mortar companies building e-commerce systems generally start out with a solid base of customer knowledge from previous operations. However, e-intelligence solutions offer companies with little or no previous customer connections, such as companies founded on Web models, a chance to quickly gather tremendous knowledge about their customers.

It is the promise of customer knowledge that drives AutoTrader.com, the Atlanta, Ga.-based car-and-truck super site with 1.25 million used car listings, to explore and leverage the online buying patterns of its customers. The company is reinventing the way individuals shop for used vehicles and becoming part of a ‘community of interest’ on auto-related facts and knowledge. Online customers can obtain access to leasing, financing and insurance information, vehicle performance reviews and a wealth of other facts and figures they’d never find at a typical used car lot.

AutoTrader.com’s management sought to better understand customer site visits from a number of perspectives. They wanted a breakdown of who was visiting the site, the preferred paths customers took to get to certain parts of the site, the various levels at which customers entered the site, how often the same customers visited the site, and the sorts of buying actions repeat visitors took. Autotrader.com’s challenge was how best to harvest the information from those visits and extract knowledge from the data in order to make better business decisions.

Data warehousing helped the company address their business needs by bringing together Web data with other data sources, cleaning it, and then building business models that would allow them to extract business intelligence based on actual customer activity. The solution, built with software from SAS Institute, gives management insight into Web site traffic.

Now, an automated software application ‘jump-starts’ at 2 a.m. daily, creating logs of site activity. Via an Intranet, the application generates Web pages with appropriate statistics and graphs for early-morning management review. Managers can drill down into the reports to view data. User-friendly tabular or 3-D charts show an analysis of Web site traffic. From this data, managers can monitor the results of specific advertising campaigns and the impact they have on individual buyers.

The information gathered also helps AutoTrader.com management with Web design by analyzing browsing patterns to see which buyers respond to specific pages. The results are helping AutoTrader.com move toward tailoring pages to specific, individual buyers – a sort of holy grail of personalization and the ultimate promise of e-commerce.

Web browser technology is a strategic ally for any business wanting to analyze customer relationship levels and activities, browsing patterns and more. It can also help businesses obtain access to information relative to their customers’ wants and needs so the proper products and services can continue to be offered. Any business wanting to survive in today’s marketplace should not underestimate the power of Web browser technology and what a difference it can make to enhancing customer levels, loyalty and the corporate bottom line.

Also in this special report:

- It’s a whole new ball game: As consumers become more comfortable doing business online, marketers must come to grips with the new challenges that are now facing them p.D17

- Without infrastructure, you’re courting disaster

- Integration can break online shopping barrier p.D20

- Future’s bright for online newspapers p.D22

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.