Can IT Help Marketing's Integration Challenges?

Loraine Lawson

Honestly, I've never really thought that much about whether print marketing people coordinated with online marketing people or direct sales marketing or even whether any of them checked Web metrics to see if their efforts coalesced into actual sales.


Hey, su problema es mi problema, and as far as I could figure, this wasn't IT's problema, right?

 

Wrong. Of course.


This week, I started rethinking my assumptions after reading a Search Engine Watch column titled, "Integration in a Decentralized World," written by Gregg Stewart, who is the senior vice president interactive for TMP Directional Marketing.


Stewart makes an excellent case for better integration and, frankly, any effort at coordination between marketing, sales and online e-business divisions. He notes, for instance, that 39 percent of sales follow-ups from online search actually happens via the telephone-yet, companies don't always track offline conversions to sales from telephone inquiries, even though those inquiries might have been prompted by national or local search campaigns.


Translated into English, I think that means that companies are spending money on marketing, but then really aren't tracking the range of ways that campaign might generate sales.


To some extent, this is about management rather than technology. And Stewart covers the management issue, outling how marketing divisions can address this problem on their own, with the help of a calendar and a spreadsheet.

 


But keep reading, because he also touches on technology solutions-and this is where IT comes in. It turns out, a few companies offer solutions to address these marketing integration issues. It's a category of technology called Enterprise Marketing Management, or EMM and, according to Stewart, it isn't cheap. Stewart notes the "better known" EMM solutions are Siebel/Oracle, Unica, Eloqua and Aprimo.

 

There's even a Gartner Magic Quadrant for EMM solutions, although when Gartner looked at the market in July, 2008, it was apparently underwhelmed by what it found.


Gartner evaluated solutions from Unica, Aprimo, SAS, Oracle's Siebel application, SAP Teradata, Infor, Alterian and Oracle's E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft. For some reason, Eloqua was not evaluated. And Gartner didn't consider any of the eight vendors mature enough to be labeled a leader. It did rank Unica, Aprimo, SAS, Oracle's Siebel application and SAP as visionaries. Gartner considered the rest all niche players.


Kimberly Collins, managing vice president of Gartner CRM, told SearchCRM.com that EMM is still an emerging field, with "less than 5 percent adoption."

 

Still, you have to assume it won't stay an emerging field. And we all know what happens when divisions adopt new technology-particularly tools that might require application or data integration - without IT's input. So, the smart CIO will bone up on these products now.


Even if you decide EMM isn't a good fit for your company, it couldn't hurt to become more aware of marketing's integration problems. As Stewart pointed out, tighter budgets are forcing marketing divisions to be smarter about how they spend their funds. To that end, I've found this article on marketing analytics. It will help you understand more precisely which data and information are most important to marketing.

 

After all, in the final analysis, IT doesn't operate in a silo, immune to the failures or successes of marketing and sales. Marketing's problema es su problema.



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