Predicting profits to the nth degree

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Many experts can offer advice on which b-to-b databases contain the best prospects. Urvashi Pitre is one of the few who can predict profitablity of a prospective client.

Pitre heads InfoWorks, the data analytics division of direct marketing firm Rapp Collins/ Dallas. InfoWorks' research, which involves modeling techniques and computer-based analytics, aids companies such as Dell Computer Corp., SBC Communications Inc. and Hyatt Corp. InfoWorks' model underscores the increasing reliance of direct marketers on quantitative information. Its forecasting data can be whittled down to the nth degree.

"I help them determine not just whether someone will respond but also whether they'll be profitable when they do respond," Pitre said.

At InfoWorks, Pitre oversees a group of 12 analytics experts, four of whom, like herself, have Ph.D.s. A psychologist by training, she recently joined Rapp Collins/Dallas from Dallas-based The Associates, where she was director of decision science. Before that, she was a research scientist at Texas Christian University.

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