Marketing Applications for the Masses

AMR Research says that all businesses could benefit from more sophisticated marketing tools, and that these tools offer the greatest potential for return on investment. AMR analysts Rod Johnson and Laura Preslan recently put out a note stating that companies need to better segment and understand customer value and behavior, personalize communication, develop multistep campaigns, and deeply measure effectiveness using marketing tools. As the CRM matures sales and customer service have already been tackled. "Marketing is the final frontier," says Preslan, research director at AMR. "There are still user issues with sales and customer service, but the tools are there and people understand it from a business-process perspective." She says the technology behind current marketing tools has evolved to the point of not needing specialized skills to use them. Preslan says there are the "mad scientists of marketing," who work on complex spreadsheets and analyzing customer segmentation, and then there are the creative types, who are working on campaigns and "don't have that same deep love of spreadsheet." The new crop of tools is a boon for the regular marketing types. However, the vendors that originally provided marketing tools have faded away. The AMR analysts say that extinction is due to vendors' failure to broaden and simplify the use of their tools to address the thousands of companies that need and want more advanced marketing capabilities. Preslan says that marketing is different from most other groups in a company, because tit has its own budgets and makes its own purchasing decisions. Now, software vendors from a variety of areas, including ERP, CRM, marketing, and e-commerce, have stepped in to deliver tools. AMR highlighted CRM players Pivotal and E.piphany, citing the respective companies' blend of best-of-breed functionality and proven business user support. "Both vendors are worth a look for most marketing evaluations," the report states. "While E.piphany is attractive to a broader array of companies, its price points remain too high for most users to justify. At Pivotal the price is right, but does not go far enough on advanced analytics." ERP heavyweight Oracle, has found the balance between power and simplicity, the report states. Using its roots as a financial system, Oracle is delivering advanced data mining to the masses by masking the complexity and including deep integration between campaign planning and design, segmentation, list management, and advanced scoring algorithms, AMR says. In retail and some manufacturing industries, such as life sciences, high-tech, and consumer products, there is a demand for vendors to deliver a differentiated online-and-offline marketing tool set for industry-specific needs. AMR cited Blue Martini as an example of a company doing it right: It offers retail and manufacturing functionality, such as promotion and merchandising management tailored for specific industries. In the marketing world SAS, Unica, and Aprimo stand out, according to AMR. The market researcher says that SAS's product masks the complexity of its analytics in its latest release, but still has room left for improvement. Unica offers a wide range of advanced features, from advanced model development to optimization, but has not sacrificed usability. And Aprimo offers solid breadth-of-capabilities across planning and resource management, campaign management, analytics, and lead management, which are very attractive to many B2B corporations.
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