Unica Wants Marketers' Heads in the Cloud

Marketers have many tools at their disposal today, including Web analytics, customer analytics, email marketing, and Web personalization. Until this point, many companies have cobbled together solutions for each of these tools from different vendors, with integration proving to be a major pain point. Looking to provide a one-stop shop for marketers, Unica unveiled its software-as-a-service solution, Interactive Marketing OnDemand.

The solution, delivered on top of Unica's suite of point solutions for Web analytics, campaign management, and marketing management, is looking to solve the problems many organizations and interactive marketers face today, says Andrew Hally, the vendor's vice president of product marketing and strategy for Interactive Marketing OnDemand. "By bringing these disparate capabilities together in one on-demand suite, we're reducing that technological hurdle organizations need to clear in order to be able to use the software," he says.

By integrating tools most marketers have seen as barricaded silos for so long, Unica believes it can deliver the following features:

  • unlocking behavioral data, to execute more personalized email marketing and Web personalization campaigns;
  • end-to-end execution of programs, by enabling marketers to author and execute email, landing pages, and Web personalization;
  • eases the challenge of Web personalization, by creating rules to target customers or anonymous visitors, assemble content, and execute campaigns as it would be done for email marketing; and
  • takes information technology (IT) infrastructure out of the equation, freeing up financial and personnel resources.

"The siloed marketing infrastructure many organizations are faced with today is a big reason for the gap between the promise and reality of personalized marketing online," Hally says. "What's most significant about this software ... is that we've put the marketer in the driver's seat and can run personalized online campaigns soup to nuts without encumbering IT."

Suresh Vittal, principal analyst at Forrester Research, explains that Unica's offering is a start to help addres what he believes to be two major challenges online marketers face today: a lack of effective collaboration due to the unavailability of standard tools, and measurement. "Measurement is all over the place, and can differ by vendor," he says. "As a result, you have a lack of planning and standard practices combined with poor management and optimization challenges, so you can't streamline spending. The point here is there needs to be integration across online marketing processes."

Vittal continues, saying it is important that vendors are now buying into the idea of an on-demand model. He says particularly with regard to marketing solutions, it needs to be delivered in a subscription-based model, integrate across online channels, and have the same level of scalability and flexibility already common in on-premises solutions.

Unica's move to bring together disparate tools into one integrated suite opens itself up to head-to-head competition with both standard and new competitors -- including vendors in email service, Web content management, and online recommendation engines. "This introduces a whole new host of competitors, but also helps Unica spread its market out a little more," Vittal says. "From the core enterprise software world, which is slowing down, into a faster moving, faster growing online marketing space. This is new for Unica."

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