Magazine article CRM Magazine

Practical Presto! Customer Clarity Is an Analytical Wand's Wave Away with New Marketing Automation Apps

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Practical Presto! Customer Clarity Is an Analytical Wand's Wave Away with New Marketing Automation Apps

Article excerpt

The marketing world is at a crossroads, and technology is to blame. Today, customers have more ways than ever before to contact a company, whether it's via the Web, phone, or mail. On the flip side, organizations can select from an array of marketing mediums to connect with consumers, returning to marketers volumes of transactional, behavioral, and attitudinal information. The downside to all this information is that marketers can get lost in myriad data sets, and so may fail to mine the customer gold within. Campaign management tools help to conjure clear customer data through easy-to-use solutions, and in the process improve campaign effectiveness and response rates.

If your company does not own a campaign management tool, then it's certainly in the minority. Forrester Research recently found that almost 100 percent of 300 marketers surveyed said their company owns a campaign management application. Historically, most vendors within this space have focused on campaign management, but have expanded their offerings as customers look for solutions that integrate marketing programs across all channels. The market for these tools continues to expand, both in providers and capabilities, as companies move away from standalone applications to marketing suites that take advantage of multiple channels.

It is important to understand three elements of campaign management tools. The first element is how they are used; the second element is what the landscape of the companies providing them is, and the third is how the technology is changing as marketers begin to communicate with younger, tech-savvy consumers--gens X and Y, of which, one analyst bluntly states, marketers "want to take advantage."

DEFINING A MARKET

Campaign management tools fall into the marketing automation category, which also includes marketing resource management (MRM), marketing optimization, and marketing interaction management applications. Knowing the purpose of each of these applications will help determine how to apply them in your organization.

MRM software measures the impact marketing activities have across various channels, including finance and budgeting, trade promotion, and public relations efforts. This software is often considered the back-end app of a marketing suite. Interaction management solutions focus on inbound customer interactions and garner information from customers contacting the company through traditional or digital channels. Using analytics, campaign optimization tools let marketers track and evaluate campaigns to increase ROI and maximize effectiveness, while balancing goals against budget constraints. (See "Re:Tooling," on page 54, for some examples of these apps.)

This leaves campaign management tools: the applications that segment, select, and target consumers or potential customers for outbound marketing campaigns. Campaign management tools were developed to automate the once arduous process of identifying and selecting specific customers for a campaign. This is becoming more important as marketers continue to inundate (and so lose) customers with ads from traditional and digital channels. Savvy marketers, however, are gaining back consumer mindshare by creating segmentation strategies to communicate to smaller, discrete audiences with more relevant messages. Campaign management tools automate this process, selecting which message goes to which customer via which channel.

Campaign management uses data and customer analytics to segment, or "slice and dice," a customer base via demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal information. Functionality typically includes data mining, market basket analysis, link analysis, forecasting and planning, and profiling and behavior analysis. Some of the more advanced solutions allow marketers to conduct response attribution, or tracking a campaign in real time to see which customers are actually responding to emails or telemarketing calls. …

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