W  I  L  L      B  E  A  U  C  H  E  M  I  N
“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

~ Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches 

Research and analysis in business has as its objective actionable intelligence.  To produce that, data is gathered and assessed and combined into information that is transformed into intelligence by careful analysis.  From that intelligence, the research analyst identifies that which is actionable.  When it comes to research meant to assess and improve performance, quantifiable data is essential.  As someone once observed, you cannot improve what you cannot measure. 

My training and experience as a database developer, computer programmer, and intelligence analyst have enabled me to make significant discoveries in disparate fields using sometimes creative means of obtaining essential data.  See the "Data Wrangling" page for examples of those creative means.  Shown below are some of examples of my research and analysis accomplishments, now non-sensitive by the passage of time.  My work in law enforcement, which was highly confidential, earned me several awards.  You can see those here.

Anchor Bank:  Where to locate new bank branch in the North Metro

SITUATION

Anchor Bancorp wished to expand its presence in the North Metro with a new bank branch.  I was given several towns to research in regard to demographics, traffic, future and current zoning plans, current businesses, and competition.

ANALYSIS

The ideal location would have:

  • Little competition.
  •  
  • Near- and long-term growth in potential business customers.
  •  
  • Near- and long-term growth in potential consumer customers (especially high income).
  •  
  • Near a high-traffic area with good visibility from the road.
 

RECOMMENDATION

I recommended Blaine:  specifically, the intersection of 109th Avenue & Radisson Road.    

This was the crossroads of traffic to and from high-income households, office parks, and shopping centers in the town, both existing and under construction.
Blaine was attractive to upper-income families due to its recreational assets (a PGA-operated golf course and the National Youth Golf Center).  It was attractive to businesses because of its municipal airport that could accommodate small private jets.
Although competitors were present in the town, they were almost entirely located in the aging strip-mall area on the west side of town.

In 2004 (two years after my report), Anchor Bancorp opened a new branch 300 yards from the intersection I had recommended.  In 2014, this branch had the third largest market share in the area with over $65 million in deposits, beating out long-established competitors in the market.

 

Click the image below to see my report's chapter on Blaine.



Below are 2014 deposits for FDIC-insured banks in the the 55449 (Blaine) ZIP code.  The "Inside of Market" columns show that Anchor Bancorp is #3 in that market.

 

Minnesota Orchestra:  Segmenting their customers

SITUATION

Prior to 2005, the Minnesota Orchestra segmented its season ticket buyers (subscribers) only by major product category: Classical, Weekender Pops, Adventures in Music for Families, etc. There was no accounting for specific music tastes or buying habits beyond that. 

As a result, New Age music fans were grouped together with Country/Western fans in the segment “Weekender Pops.”  This was not conducive to understanding our patrons or how we might sell to them.  One-to-one marketing was impossible.

ANALYSIS

  • Needed to capture stated musical taste as well as product purchasing history.
  •  
  • Needed to capture recency, frequency, and monetary value.
  •  
  • Needed to capture price sensitivity and preferred marketing and sales channels.

As the Marketing Database Manager, I had the information and the database skills to define and assign segments to our entire customer (patron) database.

 

 

SOLUTION

In 2004, I developed new categories of segmentation.  The first use of these segmentation codes was for the 2005-06 subscription campaign. They were first used for single-ticket promotions in the Spring of 2005.

Part of this segmentation scheme depended on our "Email Club", an opt-in email feature on our website.  In the past it had asked for musical preferences based on our broad product categories, but I changed that to specifics:  Classical, Jazz, Gospel, Country/Western, New Age, etc.  Using the email subscriber's email address, I could tie back the musical preferences to customer information and purchase history.

Previously, the Orchestra engaged a marketing consulting firm for its season ticket campaign.  My work in this area let the Orchestra eliminate that expense.  The 2005-2006 season ticket campaign ended with slightly higher results than the previous season, but at significantly less cost in printing and postage due to better targeted mailings and offers --- and no consulting fees.

Shown below are just a few of these segments.  Click the graphic below for a slideshow on how this was (and could have been) used.

See also the report I wrote on a direct mail campaign where these segments were used to analyze the results.  You will find this in the "Miscellaneous Statistical Analyses" later on this web page.

Minnesota Zen Meditation Center:  Attracting generous donors

SITUATION

In 2013, the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center had occupied its current building on Lake Calhoun for over 40 years.  Originally built as a private residence, the building was proving too small for the growing number of attendees at its varied events throughout the week.  The structure also needed a a lot of maintenance work.  Money needed to be raised to preserve and expand the building.  As the new chairman of the fundraising committee of this 501(c)(3) non-profit, it was my job to help find new ways of raising funds.

Simply inviting more of the general public to our events would not be a good approach.  Following that approach in the recent past had led to our overcrowding problem with no commensurate increase in revenue.  Due to our limited space, the arrival of a large number of first-time visitors would mean most would need to be turned away.  This was already happening with the weekly "Introduction to Zen Meditation" class on Sundays.

ANALYSIS

  • Because we could not fit many more people into our building, we needed to approach potential members who offered the greatest financial return for the space they would occupy. 
  • We needed to be certain these potential new members would have room for their first few visits.  This meant either having new events on the few nights of the month when there were none or scheduling the campaign to hit homes during college Summer Break (when attendance went down).
  • With a sufficient amount of new revenue, we could employ one of our volunteer instructors on a full-time basis, allowing additional events to be added to the monthly schedule and so relieve overcrowding.  New events would make it possible to continue to increase our membership rolls with high-contributing members.
     
  • Because our marketing message might not resonate at first, we needed a mail piece that the recipient would want to keep and look at often. 
RECOMMENDATION

I planned a direct mail campaign to households in nearby census tracts marked by high incomes and high levels of charitable giving.  I identified these using Microsoft MapPoint software and the US Census and other demographic data that comes with that software.  Each mail drop would be to fewer than 200 addresses to limit the number of responders who might appear at our events shortly after the drop.

For the mail piece, I would have a postcard with an engaging photo.  The "call to action" on the text-side of the postcard would invite the recipient to the "Introduction to Zen Meditation" class.  Discussions with our volunteer instructors, already busy with the regular schedule, led to the decision not to add a new event to the monthly schedule to support this campaign.  Rather, the postcard would advertise the regularly scheduled Sunday introductory class.  The drops would be scheduled during college Summer Break when attendance at our Sunday events was down and we could be certain of having room for campaign responders.

The photo for the postcard would be consistent with the Zen Center's mission and attractive such that the recipient would want to put it on their refrigerator or office wall.  One of our members, a skilled photographer, volunteered to take photos for the Board of Directors to consider.

To minimize mailing costs, my plan was to use the US Postal Service (USPS) "Every Door Direct" (EDD) program.  In EDD, every mailbox along a postal delivery route receives a mail piece.   By overlaying my MS MapPoint map of census tracts on the EDD mail route map, I could select just those mail routes I needed, thereby minimizing overage (see maps below).  Because the USPS could tell me how many delivery points are on each route, I knew how many mail pieces I would need.

To monitor the initial impact of each drop, I planned to use Google Analytics to monitor the Zen Center's web site for changes in visits, clicks, and time-on-site for visitors from Minneapolis.  To that end, I monitored web statistics for a month to develop a basis for comparison.  If a mail drop response exceeded expectations, I would be able to give early warning to the instructors that new space needed to be prepared, such as by asking long-standing members to not attend that Sunday's events.

Despite offering to pay all the campaign costs myself, my idea was not adopted.  Several years later, however, the concept of marketing to high-income people was adopted, although through special events for business leaders and lawyers.

Minnesota Orchestra:  Bringing the concert to those who won't drive 

SITUATION

Using Microsoft MapPoint, I plotted information about the Minnesota Orchestra's customers:  both its season-ticket buyers (subscribers) and those who only purchased tickets to individual classical concerts.  I overlaid various demographic data from the US Census Bureau and commercial sources.  These demographics included household income, spending on entertainment, and presence of children, to name a few.  I reported my findings to the Director of Marketing in an informal report.

ANALYSIS

  • I noticed that the area around Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, and Mahtomedi had a high number of single-concert buyers, but almost no subscribers (i.e., season-ticket buyers).
  •  
  • Cost did not appear to be the issue because this area had a high percentage of households making over $100,000 a year (and this was in 2004).
  •  
  • By also plotting the distance from Orchestra Hall, I surmised that it was the distance that dissuaded people in this area from becoming season subscribers (a commitment of six to 24 concerts a season).
  •  

In the map below left, ZIP codes are shaded according to the number of single-ticket buyers to classical music concerts ("1Bs" in my report) who were not season-ticket buyers.  The map below right shows that these $100K households could afford a subscription, but probably did not wish to drive to Minneapolis every week to attend.
 

 

RECOMMENDATION

I recommended that when the Orchestra planned "outreach" concerts around the State, it should always include the Shoreview-Vadnais Heights-Mahtomedi area.  Besides having a large receptive audience, there was the possibility of converting some single-ticket buyers into subscribers.

When the next season was planned for later that year, it included a "Close-To-Home" concert in Mahtomedi --- part of the Shoreview-Vadnais Heights-Mahtomedi area I had identified in my report.  In later years this was expanded to two concerts per season.  They would sell out shortly after tickets went on sale.

Miscellaneous Statistical Analyses

Problem/opportunity reporting - market research

Prepared for the Minnesota Orchestra in 2005, I reported on and analyzed the results of a direct mail campaign that was based in part on a system of customer segmentation I developed.  

Applying census tract data to a campaign:  a low-cost solution

This now-outdated report was one I created for the launch of WillBeauchemin.com in 2008.  The principles and cost-effectiveness of what I propose are still valid.  However, some of the technical aspects have changed:  (1) The US Census Bureau web site now offers an address verification service that eliminates the need for the web scraping I describe; (2) The web scraping software VelocityScape no longer performs well in newer versions of Windows (I now use the application import.io); (3) Microsoft MapPoint is no longer being sold by Microsoft due to their promotion of BingMaps' new online services.  I will create an updated version of this report when time permits.

Composer-specific subscription packages (proposed new marketing tactic for non-subscribers)

From my research of the buying habits of the Minnesota Orchestra's customers, I proposed a new way of packaging related concerts.  These packages would be designed and marketed to households with a clear preference for a certain composer and who do not buy a subscription (season tickets) to the Orchestra.  In this report, I present the statistics that point to the opportunity as well as the revenue the Orchestra would lose if they missed this opportunity.  I repeatedly call attention to the number of target households that permitted us to market to them by email.  I did this to point out that this new marketing tactic could be tested without any printing and mailing costs.  My idea was not accepted for testing.   

As with all my research for the Orchestra, this was done concurrently with my other duties of producing campaign lists, sales reports, maintaining the Orchestra web site and reporting its visitor metrics, and generating email marketing messages.

Email subscriptions (weekly report)

A sample of the reports I created weekly for the Minnesota Orchestra as their Marketing Database Manager.  It was an Excel file saved as a PDF produced from a template that pulled data from an MS Access/SQL Server database application I created.  In addition to this report, I also did ad hoc reporting on email campaigns:  opens, clicks, and ultimate purchases (seats and dollars).

Customer Experience/Focus Groups 

Report of first-hand observations - focus group 

As the representative of the Quality Assurance Department of Nabisco Tablespreads Company, I was an observer of two days of focus groups of margarine users. The study included comparisons of our products with those of our competitors.  NOTE:  Nabisco Tablespreads Company no longer exists, its brands having been sold to ConAgra.

Website designed and created by Will Beauchemin.  Graphics © 2013 Iconshock by Unusual Minds and © 2002 Riverdeep Interactive Learning Ltd and its licensors.  Map graphics ©1988-2012 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers.  Except as noted, website © 2015 Will Beauchemin.