Data miner ProximityID looks to marketing

.Net shop has 'never had developer leave'

Auckland-based Proximity ID, a software developer and data-mining consultancy, has found its niche in the integration of technology and marketing.

The company, founded in 1998, has recently delivered a personalised email campaign system to Progressive Enterprises.

Progressive Enterprises’ Onecard wine programme sends highly personalised emails to customers, based on their preferences in terms of wine — down to the grape — and price, says Proximity ID chief executive Geoff Cooper.

Of 70,000 email messages there were 3,000 different segments, with around 700 going only to one single person. Seventy-eight percent of the emails went to no more than 10 people, says Cooper.

Progressive sees Proximity ID as a partner, not just as a software vendor, and the project was very much a collaborative one, says Bridget Lamont, Progressive Enterprises’ loyalty programme manager. The development side was driven by Proximity ID, in response to Progressive’s requirements, she says.

The most impressive features of the system are the mechanisms that draw the vast quantities of customer data from the database and match that data with other relevant information, so that every email to every individual customer contains the right products and the right price band, says Lamont.

“We are very pleased with the result,” she says. “The people who are receiving those communications are proportionally spending more on that wine category with Progressive.”

Another benefit is that the company will be able to apply the same software to other categories in the future, says Lamont.

The Progressive Onecard project won Proximity ID an award for multi-channel marketing at the US National Center for Database Marketing (NCDM) Awards last year.

Proximity ID is a .Net shop with 10 coders, a couple of designers and two data-mining specialists, says managing director Angela Day.

The company has 30 staff in total and it is growing, says Day. “We are always looking for datamining specialists,” she says.

Keeping staff is important to the company, and it has been successful in this area. “We have never had a developer leave,” says Day.

She thinks this comes down to a great working environment, which for example includes monthly shared lunches, but also the company’s somewhat unusual recruitment process. When the company is about to employ somebody, the whole team gets to have its say, she says. So every successful candidate will have the whole team behind them.

The staff come from all across the world — China, Iran, Croatia, Russia, India, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.

Proximity ID has a partnership with US-based email trust authority Habeas, a company providing internet white-listing and delivery monitoring services. This partnership provides white-listing services for Proximity ID’s customers, says Cooper.

Proximity ID sends out about one million emails every month — legitimate emails, in compliance with DIA’s Spam Act, he adds — and Habeas’ technology makes sure that emails don’t get stuck in spam filters. The company had to go through a four month due diligence process to become certified by Habeas’, says Cooper.

Some of Proximity ID’s customers include ACC, New Zealand Post, Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

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