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CASE STUDY - Direct Marketing Company Gets It Done Faster with the Right Tool

Commentary by Lia Szep, Senior Technical Analyst, Syncsort Incorporated

In today’s complex marketing environment, most marketers have an abundance of data and good ideas but lack an efficient way to merge the two. For more than 30 years, one direct marketing company, which we will call DMC, Inc., has been building and managing customer databases for Fortune 1000 corporations, providing the necessary framework for organizations to aggressively apply database marketing strategies to their marketing programs.

DMC’s client base includes major corporations, many of which have databases that house data on nearly every individual in the United States. They store between 250 and 300 million names, addresses, and other demographic items, so extracting demographic data, analytics, profiles, and model scores for processing can be a cumbersome and time-consuming task.

The Challenge

With model scores for every individual in their system, DMC wanted to run decile and percentile processing at both a state and national level. With their previous process, after extracting the 240 gigabytes of data from their system, it would take another three days to process it.

The Solution

Syncsort provided DMC with a free proof of concept (POC) to demonstrate the benefits that DMExpress could provide. Using DMExpress, DMC was able to significantly decrease the elapsed time. “We extracted 240 gigabytes of data, stripped off the model scores, and ran the processing within 10 hours,” explains the senior database developer. “Now, while names and addresses are being processed, I can strip off the model scores and finish the decile and percentile processing in less time than it would have taken to get the model scores.” With a 98 percent decrease in elapsed time, DMC determined that DMExpress would provide major performance benefits not only here, but across many other projects.

In another project, DMC was processing data on the mainframe. The project involved importing data to the mainframe, scheduling the job, running the processing, and sending the data to a flat file. All of this would occur while other processes were running on the mainframe. Because of this overload, the entire job would take two to three days to complete. Using DMExpress, DMC was able to completely remove the mainframe from the process and complete the job in 20 minutes.


Prior to DMExpress, DMC was unable to run weekly reports because the processing itself would take five business days. Now, the development team receives the files on a Tuesday, and they’re completely done by Thursday. In addition, DMC benefited from the product’s ease of use and Syncsort’s technical support. “The ease of use has been a tremendous benefit,” the senior database developer comments, adding that “people can proficiently use the application without needing three weeks of training. Also, Syncsort’s tech support has been outstanding. From the very start—from the POC—up to my ‘weekly chats,’ I don’t think I’ve worked with a technical support group that has been as attentive and provided the level of answers that this group has. They are just fantastic.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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