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First Look – Toovio

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Toovio was founded by a group of ex-database marketers who have extensive consulting and implementation experience with various marketing, decision management, and analytics products. Their backgrounds in real-time/database marketing in terms of analytics, building tools and using existing products has led them to develop their own solution. What they call their “Service-as-a-Service” (I would call it Decisions as a Service) is designed for marketing users, requiring much less investment and configuration

Their focus is on inbound real-time customer, marketing, interactions, rather than outbound email or batch campaigns. However as you might expect they are finding some small companies that don’t have anything to manage these campaigns either, so Toovio does provide some reconciliation of core marketing activities. Their target clients are mid-size and smaller companies that don’t have the budget or expertise required for one of the larger products in the space. They say, though, that their ease of set up and price point are generating interest from larger organizations trying to prove new real-time marketing strategies or quickly build a business case.

As a solution provider they are focused on four key problems they see with existing marketing campaign or marketing decision management platforms:

  • They are expensive to license and customize
  • They take too long to implement and realize the ROI
  • They are too complex for the business to own
  • They require additional cost for IT infrastructure and skills to support

The Toovio product is cloud based and their clients buy into a package of industry specific strategies focused on acquisition/retention/cross-sell rather than just buying a platform and then having to build what they need. As a result they offer a fairly prescribed, yet proven set of strategies configurable in specific places based on a set of data elements passed in from the client. This makes set up easier and quicker, and this eliminates the need for data management or ETL tools with their solution.

At the core of the product is the Toovio Interaction Manager, which uses non-sensitive customer data and offers from the client environment to handle a standard sequence:

  • Segment Customers
    Based on basic rules with a simple interface that focuses on put customers into different “bins”
  • Questions
    These can be asked of customer in a way that is very directed to the offers that are available so that they only get asked if they would make a difference
  • Offer Eligibility
    Based on more rules and available data
  • Scorecards & Predictive Models
    Models can be applied to the customer. These can be typed in plus Toovio has a discretization algorithm for self-learning predictions
  • Prioritization & Weighting
    An equation using a balance slider metaphor prioritizes the eligible offers based on data and analytic models
  • Results
    The best offer is returned for consumption by the client’s website or application.

The core functionality allows users to create reusable assets and interactions including:

  • Basic scorecards
    Focused on opportunity scorecards with simple binning and scoring
  • Offer categories
  • Offers
  • Eligibility rules
  • Segment rules
  • Investment rules
    User can set a budget based on value of customer for instance or an absolute value – this is consumed by interactions. Can have one across multiple segments or define different ones per segment (assigned using Tracks)
  • Q&A
  • Tracks: The relationship between a customer segment, customer investment and a possible Q&A flow

Toovio use a Drools implementation to give the user robust if / then rules and have developed very focused, and thus simple, interfaces to make them easy to write.  The rules are only needed in a few key places to make the strategy work and because of Drools domain specific language feature the language of the rules can be customized for usability for each Toovio customer.  Everything is aimed at an appropriate level of complexity so that marketers can create and consume all the information needed to create a real time marketing strategy.

Toovio also has the concept of a micro, or customer level, budget and this is a necessary step in creating a strategy.  Customer level investments can be easily recorded in the context of the interaction as well as the segment of the customer and this allows for a holistic approach to investing in a customer at any point during their lifecycle instead of having to separate investment strategies from retention, cross sell, service etc.

The users can also define various attributes to prioritize offers.  While there is a recommended data set, users can provide any data they want and this set of data is then required for every offer. A simple slider interface lets users specify which attributes contribute to the offer prioritization at what level. One of these must be a propensity to accept score – either using a scorecard or predictive model built behind the scenes by Toovio using machine learning algorithms. The resulting prioritization is then managed under the overall budget set earlier for a great deal of control without too much complexity.

In addition there is a simulation tool that allows a set of customer data to be loaded up and run through the currently designed interaction. Clients can use up to 5,000 interactively and can do larger in a batch mode. This can be used to show comparisons between approaches as well as analysis by segment and by offer.  The tool is designed to allow for “what if” scenario changes on the prioritization weightings which can be compared to another “what if” scenario or to the production strategy.  Anything learned from the simulation activity can immediately be put into production.

The Toovio solution consists of four modules – Interactions, Analytics, Modeling, and Applications.  Currently the Interactions, Analytics, and Applications modules are working today with new functions and enhancements coming in the next few months.  The Modeling functionality, which includes self-learning models, will be complete in the coming month.  Soon they will launch incremental revenue and price elasticity analytic reports,  as well as adding control groups for comparison reporting (each interaction will be able to identify who to leave out as control).

Going forward into Q2 the Modeling component of Toovio will start to build models based on business requirements – K-means and regression models initially. The K-means models would go directly to drive segmentation, and the regression models would go directly into the offer selection. The intent is to enable the marketing users to specify their needs easily and then get a model built and deployed automatically.

They are currently testing the added Q&A functionality to the customer profile, offer ranking, and offer presentation in the Application module, which they expect to be released by the end of February.  Longer term offer bundling will be added by Q3.

Lastly, they offer a free trial to prospective clients and partners on their website with full access to the interaction Manager solution.  It is pre-loaded with sample data, logic, offers, models, and reports.  For more information or to contact Toovio, visit www.toovio.com.

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