Data, actionable insights

Environics Analytics’ big picture impact
The London Fire Department used Environics Analytics expertise to create a CMA Award-winning data-based marketing campaign.

The London Fire Department used Environics Analytics expertise to create a CMA Award-winning data-based marketing campaign.

“Tell me your postal code and I’ll tell you everything you want to know about yourself,” says Jan Kestle with a chuckle. However, Kestle, president of data analytics company Environics Analytics, isn’t joking.

“We use what we call small-area, multi-dimensional databases to build a rich consumer profile,” she explains. “Marketers use these tools, not to replace data they get from a CRM or transactional database, but to enhance them.”

Environics Analytics and its 90-person staff have been working with organizations of all sizes and in all sectors, from multinationals to mom-and-pop shops, since 2003. Currently the large, diverse client roster includes, Alterna Savings, Cadillac Fairview, Hydro One, the Province of Ontario, Rogers and Sick Kids Foundation.The data and software that Environics Analytics develops are designed to free up their clients’ analysts so they can spend more time understanding results, rather than just creating data reports.

As Kestle says, “Brands know about their consumers, but they don’t know a lot of behavioural activities that we can get from third-party databases. So we create databases such as PRIZM C2 segmentation, WealthScapes and a demographics dataset called DemoStats that we can link to the customer’s own data for a broader picture of what they buy, but also their demographics and what they’re thinking about.”

For example, merging its own data with the PRIZM C2 lifestyle segmentation system, Sony of Canada was able to develop and share the same 360-degree view of its customers with all departments – marketing, advertising and retail. Targeted emails using PRIZM segments produced an upswing in the ‘open’ and ‘click-through’ rates well over Sony’s previous initiatives.

Currency of intel is, of course, key. Although it regularly updates its tools to reflect major demographic shifts, this year the company will release a PRIZM system update in March that features all new demographics and software.

The new system captures trends such as the aging population, increasing ethnic diversity and growing urbanity. The scope and scale of work is as varied as the client base. In an unusual example of marketing analysis, the London Fire Department used Environics Analytics’ customer segmentation and data analytics expertise to identify who caused the most fires, their lifestyles and values, and then developed a targeted marketing campaign to educate the community and reduce risky behaviours. The resulting ‘Fighting Fires with Marketing Analytics’ data-based marketing campaign won a bronze CMA Award for Direct Engagement. But most importantly, residential fires in London dropped by 22%. This approach is now being adopted by fire departments across Ontario.

“It’s the first time I can remember an analytics company being recognized for a CMA award,” Kestle observes. “The London Fire Department won the award and we were cited as their analytics agency partner.”

Given the growing impact and reliance on Big Data, and more importantly, the imperative to uncover the insights within and effectively act on them, Environics Analytics’ role is likely going to capture more of the spotlight going forward.