Category Archives: unica

‘Measurement, analysis and learning’ key bottleneck for marketers

In Unica’s recently published ‘State of Marketing 2011’ study, measurement and analytics was identified as the top bottleneck for the 279 marketers polled:

This is the first year that this has registered as the top pain point. I’d suggest one reason for this, could be the maturity of web marketing and the emphasis this discipline puts on measurement.

Interestingly, the survey finds that the key issue marketers face is turning data into actions. There’s a problem with obtaining data, and there’s a problem with converting that data into valuable outcomes.

This relates to an earlier IBM study which showed that businesses who can act on business insights generally perform better. Looks like many marketers realize this but are struggling to turn this into reality themselves.

Peruse the report in its entirety:

A wonderful use of the persistent URL: Unica Netinsight

image We currently use Unica NetInsight as our web analytics tool of choice on IBM.com. One of it’s advantages is that it’s highly configurable: on practically any report you can go in and add filters to hone in on the data you want and add metrics/dimensions to expand out on the information you get back (say if you want to add Visits as well as Views to a report).

All wonderful stuff.

But what happens if you want to pass that information around? One neat feature of the tool is that every report you run has a unique ID in the URL. So you can send someone the URL of a page you’re looking at and be confident that they will see exactly the same report as the one you are viewing. If they change any of the values (say run the same report but roll back one year prior), once they rerun the report, they get a fresh URL. The structure is setup like this:

https://xxx/xxx.cgi?base=getreport&id=29877

Every time you change any value and rerun the report, that ID on the end of the URL increments. The server does the work to map that ID to all the report variables as the page is being generated.

How does this differ from other tools?

Many other tools out there (such as Google Analytics and Omniture, if my memory serve me correctly) may use the URL to specify what kind of report you are running, eg. Keyword report versus Top Pages report, but other key pieces, such as which data profile you are viewing, are stored through other means such as cookies so what one browser sees will differ from the next. You can’t be exactly sure that the URL will generate the same report for everyone.

It would be wonderful to see other applications in the business intelligence and analytics space follow this example. It may require slightly more coding on the backend to map unique IDs to reports, but from a user perspective it’s great to have the sense of security that when you pass around the URL, you can be confident everyone sees the same thing and that you can record or bookmark the URL and know when you reload it a year from now, you’ll be looking at the same report you have in front of you today.

IBM’s marketing automation solutions: a primer

Christopher Hosford over at BtoB Magazine ran an interesting piece on IBM’s foray into the field of marketing automation focusing on the recent spate of acquisitions here at IBM. I thought it would be worth expounding on how each of these acquisitions fits into the notion of a holistic marketing automation solution – using an example that hopefully most of us can relate to: internet retail.

Coremetrics

Internet retailers use web analytics to explore which parts of their site are most effective, which channels are driving most visitors and what are the common paths taken by visitors who buy. Conversely, analytics can also highlight problem areas such as product lines that receive heavy traffic but little conversion to sale, expensive marketing channels that provide little revenue-generating traffic and navigational bottlenecks. You can take this further using a solution such as Intelligent Offer, which exposes the analytics to the visitor: much like the recommendation engine used by Amazon bookstore on their individual listing pages to say ‘if you like this book, you may be interested in these books too’.

Unica

An internet retailer that exploits different marketing channels, eg. email, web, social networks, can use Unica’s Interactive Marketing solution to track responses across the different channels and use this data on past behavior to tailor future messaging. It also allows you to uncover those prospects that have been most responsive and are more likely to cross over and become customers.

Netezza

Netezza can help the internet retailer wherever there are large sets of structured or unstructured business data. For instance you can use Netezza for bid price optimization of search marketing campaigns where you might have 100s or 1000s of keywords covering product inventory, coupled with multiple text ads and landing pages, leading to millions of permutations. Predictive analytics can help you determine what is the optimal paid search campaign structure.

Sterling Commerce

When it comes to order processing, Sterling Commerce can help internet retailers ensure consistency across different channels (eg. keep consistency across different web sites with different experiences). As one example, the system can help dealing with coupons and the correct application of discount codes across all channels.

I should point out that these are only individual examples. Each of these acquisitions have plenty of other offerings, many of which touch on different components of marketing automation.

I’d be remiss not to mention Cognos, SPSS and ILOG, all of whom offer business analytics offerings that can be customized in a marketing automation context.

IBM’s Business Analytics solutions are set to mature as these acquisitions are woven further into the fabric of each other and the expansive IBM quilt of offerings. Early indications are positive however, as IBM’s Business Analytics revenue has grown 12% over the last year to a net income of $3.6 billion. This would suggest we’re in for some interesting times ahead!

BtoB Magazine article on IBM’s marketing automation solutions