Forrester Eyes Marketing Cultural Shift

Call it the dawn of direct e-marketing. The Web, e-mail and interactive television are changing the face of marketing, which traditionally relied on a more broadcast approach, according to findings from Forrester Research. All of this means marketers better get IT savvy -- and fast. Specifically, they must reduce their reliance on third-party services and increase internal investments in enterprise marketing automation software, Forrester advises. More than just campaign management and fanciful analytics, marketing automation software addresses the entire lifecycle of marketing, from planning, to process to lead and even asset management. "Marketers are undergoing a cultural shift and demanding more control over their customer interactions," said Eric Schmitt, senior analyst at Forrester, in a statement. "To do this successfully, firms are turning to marketing apps that allow them to tailor communications to individuals and track their efforts and resources more accurately and cost-effectively." Marketers, especially those new to CRM software, will find that many of the marketing applications tout the same things. How does one distinguish between them? For starters, Forrester recommends looking at key areas: high-end analytics; Web-based campaign delivery; real-time decision making; and process management features for planning, managing and approving marketing programs. On the technical front, marketers must consider how different applications architect data, support databases and work globally, especially in non-English speaking markets. But tracking the effectiveness of e-marketing dollars remains a moving target, says John Norkus, partner in Deloitte Consulting's manufacturing practice. He contends some manufacturers have spent hundreds of millions on marketing programs that have little -- and even negative -- impact on their customers. "The real kicker is that no one knows what the right number is, because no one has the mechanism to determine how effectively their marketing spend is," Norkus says. In other words, no amount of software is going to fix deeply embedded, poor marketing practices. Before spending a dime on pricey CRM software, says Norkus, manufacturers should perform a back-to-basics diagnostic to see whether they can put their marketing spend to better use. Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com
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