Marketing Automation:What Do We Do Now?
Larry would like to thank Tim
for his contributions to thismonth's column.
hile the concept of marketing automationis not a new one, man^ companies needto pay close attention to this aspect oftheir business and the associated soft-ware solutions for a variety of reasons.They include:
You've been doing a "good enough" jobover the years, keeping up with marketing demands via a man-ually intensive process. Why change now? Cost cutting,increased competition, declining or stagnant sales and re-source attrition are forcing you to look for new ideas to bemore efficient and effective.
Online marketing disconnect.
More and more
organizations are realizing that the rampant growth of com-munications with their online consumers and prospects hascaused them to recognize, new requirements for their market-ing automation tool and processes. Few organizations havebeen able to successfully break down the barriers between on-line and offline marketing.
Total cost of ownership continues to rise.
ripple effect from the consolidation of vendors, some tradi-tional vendors have forced their users to go through painfulupgrades. In some cases, these upgrades or conversions arecosting organizations large investments. If a large invest-ment
going to be made, some organizations must re-evaluateif they are on the right horse.
What to Look For in
Marketing Automation Tool
Here is a list of questions and features you should focus on:
Integration with your existing customer re-lationship nianagement (CRM) solution.
already adopted a CRM solution across the organization,this is a great starting point Specifically, staging campaigns withincustomer service and e-business solutions are beginning toescalate.
Lead management support.
Can the application
share and track leads with your sales force? How does it pullin responses from touchpoints made from each channel?Can these things be done in near real time?
Email and Web marketing.
This is a primary chan-nel of interest for most organizations. Does the applicationsupport email distribution and personalization? If not, you'llend up with-
applications doing the job of
Opens, dick-throughs and bounce-backs are old school. Organizations reallywant to track conversions - did they register for something,did they buy something, did they download something? In sit-uations where delivery is outsourced, how does your campaignmanagement application interface with your outsourcer?
Dumbing it down.
Several vendors provide "lite"versions that allow power users to create complex cam-paigns and less-sophisticated users to run them with minormodifications.
How are campaigns ^'outed through ap-provers, management and/or other systems? Once you haveleveraged campaign management for a while, you start to un-derstand the value of marketing resource management (MRM),Project planning, budgeting and coordinating create evenmore efficiencies for marketing.
How is a response attributionactually executed? Are you able to customize the algorithms?How does it
in the data necessary to identify possible matchcandidates? Keeping response algorithms outside of the IT de-partment provides marketing with powerful capabilitiesunless it is perceived as a burden.
Reporting and analytics.
move between analysis and campaign management. Doesyour application offer canned reports? Are they customizable?What reporting tool is offered, and does it fit in with your en-terprise-wide reporting application? Can you move seamlesslyfrom a report to a segment?The marketing automation space continues to provide valuefor marketing functions across ranges of marketing sophis-tications. Some vendors to think about include:' The options for application service providers campaignmanagement models are getting better Salesforce,com,RightNow and Siebel offer rental services,' Siebel/Oracle probably remains the best campaign manage-ment tool for those vendors selling holistic CRM solutions,• Unica is expanding their solution set to start covering all ofthe gray areas between marketing and other functions, suchas lead management. Web analytics and multichannel offermanagement,' Who are the key contenders? Aprimo has successfully inte-grated Doubleclick with their product set Siebel and
havealso stepped up their development and sales efforts in this areato try to fill the void of contenders,' Some of the most interesting developments have surfaced inwhat has typically been the midmarket Priced very aggres-sively, vendors such as Smart Focus and Decision Softwaremay not have a full breadth of modules, but their campaignmanagement functionality is very dose to on par with theenterprise vendors,• Open source is an interesting, if not adventuresome option,SugarCRM, vtiger. Centric CRM and Queplix offer solutionsfor those in the open source game,
prtsideni ofAmberUaf. He may be