Designing and building a custom interactive to educate customers while providing market and product research.

Marketing as market research

Case Study


as market research

In just a few months, 40,000 people visited the Marketing Confidence Quotient assessment.

Nearly 1,000 were

qualified leads

SAS Marketing Confidence Quotient Interactive: A two-way communication tool

SAS helps customers in 48 countries turn data into business insights that drive innovation and improve performance.

As the leader in business analytics software and services, SAS identifies what’s working, fixes what isn’t and discovers new opportunities for customers. SAS recently partnered with Centerline to develop the Marketing Confidence Quotient interactive, which is both a marketing insight tool for customers and a lead generation source for SAS.

More than just a lead generator

SAS asked Centerline to create an assessment tool to capture qualified leads for the sales department, and to help SAS learn more about various industries in order to better understand their customers. Why? They wanted to engage their customers in a new and different way.

The typical sales information cards — the ones you usually toss in the trash — only give the basic information. SAS really wanted to know more, like what the company cares about, where they are in their marketing efforts and where they want to go.

Since no one wants to give out their information, especially C-level executives, SAS knew the tool needed to give the user something that they wanted in return — something valuable. At the same time, SAS wanted to demonstrate their expertise in marketing and data without lots of jargon and branded content — a light-touch type of marketing.

Create relevant, satisfying, valued customer experiences

A high priority was also driving traffic to SAS’s upcoming new digital marketing product, SAS Customer Intelligence 360.

Oh, and on top of all that, it needed to be easily replicated and scalable for other departments and uses within SAS.

Yes, all of that in one interactive assessment.

Kickoff and creative concepting

The project kicked off with Centerline learning about SAS’s brand, their business and exactly where they wanted to go with the tool. Then came lots of brainstorming and collaborating with the team at SAS. What would it look like? How would it be structured? How would the quiz be scored? What content was needed?

Everyone had the same goal — to create a two-way conversation between SAS and the user. From beginning to the end, the project worked just the way Centerline prefers — a true partnership with the client, working as an extension of their marketing efforts, not as an external team.

The result was a quiz-style tool that asked carefully crafted questions about the user’s marketing efforts. Based on a user’s answers, the tool would share content — whitepapers, videos, infographics — throughout the quiz that might be of interest to the user.

After the user completed the four part quiz (and a complicated scoring algorithm was run), they got a report full of tips to take to their boss and share on social media. Most importantly, the report also ranked the user against their competitors. At the same time, SAS got valuable information about a new potential customer — a highly qualified and very warm lead.

A rebranding curveball

The not-so-easy job of making it all work technically and functionally began.

Centerline’s team of in-house experts — content strategists, developers, UX specialists, graphic designers and writers — went to work.

Storyboards, content drafts, prototypes. Lots of hours, lots of working together with SAS and lots of collective, creative brain power. The tool had to be eye-catching, useful and fresh.

And then a curveball was thrown — SAS decided to rebrand their company in the middle of the project. It was time to regroup and redesign many parts of the tool already in development while the new branding was being designed at the same time.

In the end, it all worked out thanks to open communication and a deep sense of partnership between Centerline and SAS.

Through the users’ eyes

The next step was to see interactive in action — first with SAS employees as testers, then with real users.

Centerline sat in on the testing process and saw firsthand that instead of 10 minutes to complete, the quiz took an average 30 minutes — a long ask of a C-suite executive. It took longer to read the questions than estimated, and the links to added content took the user away from the quiz, either adding to the time to complete the quiz or simply losing them altogether.

It was back to development — shortening the text so it took less time to read, removing similar questions and losing many of the links to supporting content.

The launch — and some results

To make it easy for users to find and remember the tool — as well as earn high SEO — a microsite was created. Nine months after the project began, the tool was live.

SAS launched the tool in a big way — flyers at conferences, paid social media ads and email marketing. They gave away bookmarks directing people to the Marketing Confidence Quotient Tool, and salespeople walked individual prospects through the process.

Users responded — over 40,000 people visited the Marketing Confidence Quotient assessment and close to 900 were qualified in just a few months.

Continuous Evolution

Based on weekly reports after the launch, the team learned that most users were choosing to complete Section 1 of the quiz first and, since it was the longest section, apparently assuming that all parts were the same length. To increase the number of people completing all four sections, Centerline randomized which section was displayed first.

Centerline recently learned that the greatest number of visitors are on mobile devices, but only 10 percent of these users actually finish the quiz. The current challenge is modifying the tool to make it easier for mobile users to enter information and complete the assessment.

The tool itself gets smarter as well — as more people use the tool, the database contains more information on various industries and provides even more valuable information on the reports.

The Marketing Confidence Quotient Tool isn’t the type of project that ends with the launch. Instead, it’s a product and process that will continue to evolve over the coming months with SAS and Centerline working together to further refine the questions and user experience.