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March 12, 2012

SAS Spots Targets in the Wild

Datanami Staff

When it comes to all the state parks, historical sites, wildlife management areas and other natural resource zones, state-level parks departments have innumerable management challenges that go beyond mere data.

In addition to overseeing broad policy decisions, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is also charged with managing and even promoting the use of state land for hunting, fishing, boating and recreation.

With approximately 85 percent of the states’ population clustered around major cities, this is a Texas-sized challenge for the department, especially with so much of state land under the department’s jurisdiction well outside of urban areas.

Outside of the urban location issues, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had another challenge—it couldn’t begin finding ways to get Texans out of the cities and into some of its pristine state recreation land without first understanding the potential visitors and their needs.

Accordingly, the department turned to SAS Enterprise BI Server to target new market segments that might be interested in making use of the department’s many natural resources, including hunting and fishing—all of which require licensing and potential revenue growth opportunities.

The result was the License Utilization and Revenue Enhancement System (LURES), a comprehensive analytics application that provides a 360-degree view of the customer – parks, hunting, fishing, boating, magazine subscriptions and more.

“Tools like SAS enable us to link and analyze all of our customers – the people who buy more than 200 different types of hunting and fishing licenses, who subscribe to our magazine, who visit our parks, who receive our email alerts – essentially anyone who does business with the department,” said John Taylor, who leads TPWD’s LURES project.

Taylor continued, noting that “For the first time, SAS has let us create individual customer profiles through customer relationship management software that pinpoints trends down to different neighborhoods so we can see their leisure, parks utilization and purchasing patterns.”

For instance, using GIS and SAS analytics, analysts uncovered opportunities to develop the popularity of fishing among urban demographic groups, specifically middle-class Hispanic families in the Houston metropolitan area. This allowed TPWD to expand its popular “Neighborhood Fishin'” program (which regularly stocks nearly a dozen strategically selected lakes near urban populations with catfish and rainbow trout) by stocking a Houston lake that was nearer to neighborhoods with higher concentrations of Hispanic families.

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