Live from Las Vegas: TD Ameritrade, Avis Budget Group On How Data Can Drive Results

In Big Data, Loyalty & CRM by laural

Big Data World USA is where retailers and data experts come to network, learn from each other, and discuss the latest data industry developments. [Image:]

The following is a blog written by Caitlin Whitehurst, a Colloquy Staff Writer attending Big Data World USA.

At first glance one may not think that TD Ameritrade, an online broker headquartered in Omaha, Neb., and Avis Budget Group, a global provider of rental car services, have much in common. But where the companies find common ground is in their approach to customer data.

Three years ago, the rental car industry had lost its customer centricity and was focusing more on price, Jeannine Haas, chief marketing officer at Avis Budget Group, told attendees of Loyalty World Las Vegas on Oct. 29.

Most concerning for Avis, was that it had lost some of its connection to its core customer members, Haas said.

“The brand had lost some of its premium edge,” Haas said.

Avis embarked on a rebranding effort to shift the conversation.

After extensive customer research, the company learned that the business travel experience makes customers feel out of control. Avis used its customer data to improve its fleet to make business travelers feel more in control.

The company also created an advertising campaign that featured celebrities engaging with the new vehicles.

Avis’s efforts resulted in a 30% increase in premium rental sales and customer consideration in renting an Avis vehicle also increased by 30%, Haas said.

Data-driven results was the focus of the next speaker of the day – Derek Strauss, chief data officer at TD Ameritrade, spoke about some best practices to maximizing returns from big data.

The online broker employs two strategies from a business perspective in using customer data. First, it tries to narrow the customer segment to one, meaning it strives to tailor messaging to the single consumer. Second, the company wants to level the playing field in terms of the offerings available to customers, Strauss said.

There needs to be an emphasis on improving the quality of structured data. And in terms of unstructured data, it comes down to applying context and disambiguation, Strauss said.

Strauss offered some tips for companies looking to make the most of their data. He suggests organizations start small and scale quickly and recommends selecting a specific client intimacy use case. In addition, Strauss indicates that companies should build up their data and analytics capabilities through establishing a suitable technology infrastructure. Finally he says organizations should perform rigorous testing and “relentlessly repeat.”

“I reserve the right to change my mind about what best practices are, because it’s changing so rapidly,” Strauss said.

Haas agreed with Strauss in the changing dynamic of the field.

Customers, like technologies, change, she said.

“You can’t keep doing the same things and expect to get different results. That’s the definition of insanity,” Haas said.