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Unica Says You're Unique
Enhanced optimization in Affinium 7.3 -- the latest release of the vendor's flagship suite -- aims to make the campaign fit the customer, not the other way around.
Posted Apr 1, 2008
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Unica, the enterprise marketing management solutions provider, recently announced the release of Affinium 7.3, the latest upgrade to its Affinium suite. The primary focus of this launch is optimization, according to the company, bringing marketers one step closer to delivering the right message, from the right channel, at the right time. What's unique is that, while a customer-centric approach is -- and forever will be -- critical, Unica is empowering the marketers to focus not only on the customer, but on the benefit each customer can bring to the company. According to Amartya Bhattacharjya, Unica's director of product marketing and market intelligence, the enhanced suite of applications in Affinium 7.3 attempts to cater to three main problems all marketers face:
  • Increased complexity: media segmentation, more products, more constraints;
  • Demanding customers: harder to reach, "customer fatigue/contact fatigue" from too many offers or solicitations; and
  • Need for accountability: marketing needs to prove its relevance.
The most challenging part of addressing these pain points, Bhattacharjya says, is: How do you market to these "demanding customers" when you have billions of combinations of offers, channels, time, and other preferences? How do you know which one is perfect for whom? And this, he says, is what Affinium 7.3 is all about. The marketing optimization application has been pushed to what he calls the next level, ensuring that users are able to maximize their return on investment and at the same time abide by marketing best practices, such as customer contact frequency rules, channel capacity limits, and budget constraints. Bhattacharjya claims that no other application is able to strike the balance between abiding by business constraints and still giving the customers what they want. "You're not doing charity," he says. "You're doing business." "Traditionally, marketing has been, 'We have this great campaign, let's go find a bunch of customers who are most likely to respond to it,' " explains Suresh Vittal, senior analyst at Forrester Research. He adds that now, "[Marketing optimization] flips that model and says, 'I've got a customer, let me find the right campaign/message/offer for that customer.' It makes it seem more customer-centric." In addition to optimization, Unica claims to have toughened up its existing suite with other new features, including:
  • scenario analytics, which lets marketers quickly compare multiple possibilities to see simulated results before executing a campaign; and
  • tighter integration within the suite, giving marketers the ability to better collect and understand information about their customers, whether it's obtained online or off, inbound or out.
While hitting the perfect time, channel, and message seems like the answer to every marketer's woes, there's still much more to be done. Unica's release provides incremental value to the marketing world, Vittal says, but it's not changing the dynamic of the market. Nevertheless, he says, Unica is enhancing the tools at its customers' disposal. The Affinium suite's added functionality allows customers to stick with one application, on one platform, to do all their planning, optimization, and management.
Vittal says the release provides a lot of functionality around campaign planning and value analysis; but with more functionality comes more complexity. He emphasizes the importance of vendors providing sophisticated solutions that are still easy to use. "[Vendors are] raising the level of maturity," he says, which is a testament to the evolution of marketing. For complex solutions to become prevalent, they need to have "user-friendly interfaces that put the marketer at the center of the platform, not have the marketers change everything they know so they can use these platforms."

Related articles: Feature: CRM Gets Serious With customer loyalty an ever-more-fleeting commodity, businesses must deliver consistent -- and consistently high-quality -- service. In the five stages that define CRM maturity, is your company among the leaders? Not knowing means you're not there yet. Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Marketing Automation This has been the year of the end user in marketing automation. Unica Announces Acquisition of MarketingCentral Unica expects the merger of its Affinium Plan with MarketingCentral will contribute to the growth of its on-demand MRM solutions; meanwhile, the vendor lowers revenue projections, to Wall Street's dismay. Unica Acquires MarketSoft Unica takes the acquisition route, not a usual move for the company, to enhance its marketing automation functionality. Unica Says You Are the One At the Unica Corporation's annual user conference, the vendor maps out new ways to for its customers to cope with growing consumer power. Unica Gets Marketer Friendly Unica releases the latest version of its Web-analytics product, Affinium NetInsight 7.1, focused on ease of use and tighter multichannel tie-ins. Return on Rupees An Indian bank maximizes its marketing success.
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