89 Degress: Unleashing the Power of SAS

Phil Hussey, Managing Partner While most industries today look for flexible solutions coupled with high touch service models and senior professional assistance, not always is it easy for these organizations—big or small—to possess them all. But what if such a combination is available on a single platform?

Having made a strategic decision to focus on the few technologies confined to improving customer engagement and build competencies around them, here is a company that truly extracts the real value, which most industries are in search of today—89 Degrees. Driven to help clients spur customer engagement, 89 Degrees, founded on the proven SAS analytic platform, is connecting the dots for their clients—especially around the data and marketing domain.

If brought in during pre-implementation, 89 Degrees’ consulting services team is oftentimes found focusing on data architecture and the overall technical design, as well as marketing strategy. When engaged in the implementation phase, the company fills the gaps for technical, hands-on development—in marketing database development, set-up, and integration of SAS components. And when called upon post-implementation, the company takes a dive into system troubleshooting and optimization, along with advanced analytics, and program and campaign execution support. “Regardless of when we are brought into a project, the 89 Degrees team will quickly move to perform discovery and root cause analysis,” says Phil Hussey, Managing Partner, 89 Degrees.

Designed to Make Marketer’s Life Easier

With a team of 100 professionals working in headquarters located just outside of Boston, in Burlington, MA, 89 Degrees supports marketers by leveraging customer intelligence and marketing optimization software provided by SAS. Reflecting on SAS as a foundation for 89 Degrees’ solution, Hussey remarks, “SAS is an expert at writing really good software and we are adept at taking that software and making it work in a client’s very unique ecosystem to deliver value.” From organizing data to providing analytics and optimization, 89 Degrees’ objective is to enable optimal customer engagement.

Combining years of experience working with Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) across verticals like retail, automotive, pharma, hospitality, and financial services, 89 Degrees designed ‘SAS Cloud for Marketing,’ a scalable database that works with SAS’ Visual Analytics (VA) and Marketing Automation (MA). Positioned at the heart of 89 Degrees, SAS Cloud for Marketing—a proprietary marketing database—arms marketers with a customer intelligence suite that helps them utilize the power of SAS Data Quality, VA and MA. While 89 Degrees’ SAS Cloud for Big Data Analytics helps marketers transform clients’ existing systems into a big data platform, SAS’ Marketing Optimization takes it to a completely new level, combining the power of SAS Analytics with an easy to use interface and powerful “what if” tools.

While undertaking a post-implementation on premise consulting engagement with the Chicago based Tribune Publishing, 89 Degrees designed a new data model appropriate for the publishing vertical allowing them to quickly engage with customers.

We are very innovative in how we integrate a myriad of technologies developed by SAS and we see ourselves in unleashing the power of SAS and resonate in a variety of industries

Tribune faced difficulties creating a unified set of campaigns for its various business units using SAS Marketing Automation. 89 Degrees’ consulting team identified a number of issues that were adversely impacting the success of the SAS MA deployment and quickly resorted to mitigating them. The firm also trained Tribune’s IT staff on how to diagnose and resolve issues with their SAS MA platform. Christopher Delessio, Executive Director of Analytics at the Tribune Publishing, had this to say about their engagement with 89 Degrees: “We have been working with 89 Degrees for nearly a year, and they have not only helped us to rethink our underlying data model so that we could identify customers across all channels, they have also helped us optimize marketing automation to really improve performance. They understand our longer term marketing roadmap, and have been an important component to the team.”

Deeper Insights for Better Business

Consulting services are more than mere advisory services. They allow clients to gain deeper insights into their customer relationships, and enable real-time action based on the level and intent of interactions for each customer. Whether a client needs to perform marketing attribution, offer optimization, or analyze the omni-channel customer lifecycle, the key ingredient required for all of these types of analysis is granular customer engagement data. 89 Degrees’ SAS Cloud for Big Data Analytics is a ‘hosted solution’ that combines the best tools from Hortonworks and SAS, developed to open up entirely new categories of marketing analytics for organizations.

Highlighting the significance of SAS Cloud for Big Data Analytics as a hosted solution, Hussey points out—“We find that for smaller and medium-sized companies, going with a hosted solution is really a no-brainer.” Extending its expertise to fill the inevitable skills gap experienced by smaller players, Hussey says, “Because of the efficiencies of our shared environment, hosting through a business partner like 89 Degrees gives smaller players the ability to compete with larger players at a very reasonable cost.”

At the same time, other clients utilize 89 Degrees’ consulting services to develop insights on their own systems. For example, an assignment for a Fortune 100 Mass Merchant was centered on SAS Marketing Optimization assignment.

The challenge—optimize offer assignment for use in the email and direct mail programs targeting their 90MM loyalty program members.

The assignment began with the development of a suite of hundreds of custom predictive models. The team then configured all of the business rules within SAS Marketing Optimization, piloted with an initial set of campaigns, and read the results. This provided an opportunity to calibrate both the models and the marketing optimization rules. Hussey noted, “The results were the exciting part – a 20 percent lift over business as usual targeting”.

A Strategic Approach

Hussey’s approach concerning 89 Degrees begins with, “hiring professionals who truly love what they do.” Finding people who “fundamentally get a kick” out of using data and technology to make smarter marketing decisions is 89 Degrees’ first step toward determining the best technology to solve clients’ business problems. Starting with analytics consulting, whether it is the development of predictive models, custom segmentations, campaign analysis or data mining, Hussey ensures that, “89 Degrees’ promising team of professionals are very good at delivering immediate value to the client.” Going by the name ‘89 Degrees,’ which represents the declination of the Northstar, Hussey states— “Our name is a nod to the way we use data and technology to help clients navigate toward their true North.” Given the small size of 89 Degrees, the clients receive a “white-glove treatment,” from the senior executives of 89 Degrees, encouraging them to further invest in the company’s solutions. Upholding the utmost importance laid in offering flexibility to his clients, Hussey explains, “We do not have one prescribed way of doing things, we are very willing to adapt our delivery methodologies and our work styles to the client’s unique and specific environment.” The combination of SAS is great software and 89 Degrees’ expertise on how to implement it in a variety of environments is a game-changer.

Today, 89 Degrees is solely focused on improving its efforts in making innovative integrations with SAS. Favoring the company’s long-term goals to serve SAS’ customers, Hussey proudly mentions that, “SAS itself has made a tremendous investment in helping 89 Degrees become an expert SAS services provider.”

Envisioning the company’s future, Hussey says, “We are very innovative in how we integrate a myriad of technologies developed by SAS and we see ourselves in unleashing the power of SAS and resonating in a variety of industries.”

A Partnership with SAS

SAS unveiled a new Partner Program in September that rewards and encourages its partners – across all engagement models – to participate in various training and certification offerings. “We wanted to work with our partners in a new way – to show them that we are as invested in them as they are in us,” said Donna Peek, Director of Partner Enablement and Program Operations at SAS Software. “This approach ensures that their clients – and our customers – are getting the value and support they need and expect to be successful with users’ SAS software. As a member of the SAS Partner Program, 89 Degrees has the knowledge and expertise to address business challenges they are seeing in the market that SAS can help solve. They act as an extension of our Professional Services Division, which is responsible for aligning opportunities to the partner best suited to help a business achieve measurable business goals.”

89 Degrees

Burlington, MA

Phil Hussey, Managing Partner

89 Degrees is a leading provider of customer engaement, agency services and technology products designed to enable greater analytic insight and higher marketing ROI

89 Degrees