Thursday, September 20, 2007

Serving Up Context with Analytics

Coremetrics released the latest version of its digital marketing suite this week with a focus on “Powering Contextual Marketing”. Their solution keys in on behavioral patterns across the multi-channel environment to target customers through email, banner ads, organic search and web browsing to seize them during critical cycles within the buying and consideration process. The general idea is to place the right offer in front of the customer at the right time. They’re attempting this by taking behavioral information collected during online sessions and mapping it against the Coremetrics LIVE Profile database to develop more targeted segments and more relevant content for visitors.

The contextual marketing concept utilizes the behavioral information and extends that to include predictive modeling, which drives relevance. For example, information gained about customers such as; what they left in their shopping carts, what they purchased and additional products they browsed during a session is coupled with user profile database information. The contextual marketing solution indicates which products sold to other visitors with similar demographic characteristics who also viewed similar products. Using this knowledge, contextual messaging can be delivered to prospects via email or other channels to draw them back to the site.

Advanced segmentation is a hot topic among analytics vendors lately as WebTrends also recently announced their Visitor Intelligence for Commerce solution. Primarily for merchandising, the solution targets customers based on their demonstrated interactions and interests. Similar to the Coremetrics solution, the WebTrends Visitor Intelligence platform uses real-time clickstream data and has the ability to tie in aggregate customer information from their Marketing Warehouse to drive relevance and probable sales using a segmentation strategy. Both products are likely to be a hit with retailers struggling to provide targeted messaging and relevant promotions to customers. The differentiators for marketers and merchandisers applying these tactics will emerge in the level of automation of each solution and the ease of use within the respective user interfaces.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Closing the Loop on Art with Science

Omniture and recently announced a partnership to provide a Closed Loop Marketing service, available to joint clients, through Salesforce’s AppExchange. The solution was designed to measure Marketing’s overall contribution to the sales process by analyzing the impact of multiple campaigns through an attribution methodology. This helps to solve the age-old marketing problem, where the last touch historically received all the credit, by indicating which campaigns collectively contributed to the ultimate sale.

Although it’s too early to tell if the service will be highly effective, I like the concept because it incorporates measurement practices into shared responsibilities that were generally gauged on gut-feel in the past. With the proliferation of technologies such as analytics and multivariate testing, results are driving change. Much to the chagrin of the senior-most executive in the room, operational decisions facing web site managers are increasingly made based on the science of technology rather than the art of intuition.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Omniture Acquires Offermatica

Thus Begins the Multivariate Testing Market Consolidation Phase

Web analytics provider Omniture announced today its plans to acquire multivariate testing company, Offermatica for $65 million in capital stock. The move comes as no surprise as the multivariate testing market grows in popularity and continues to demonstrate value in its ability to quantifiably deliver optimization. Omniture is poised for the acquisition and strategically building out their product set. Today’s news follows Omniture’s acquisition of Touch Clarity back in March of this year for its behavioral targeting capabilities. Omniture customers will now have the strength of a leading multivariate testing platform in its quiver of services.

Jupiter research shows that multivariate testing adoption is on the rise as 29% of executives recently said that they plan to deploy or upgrade their testing solutions within the next 12 months. This will add to the 20% of companies that currently use a multivariate testing application.

The importance of testing is so pronounced that folding this feature into a larger application like web analytics makes perfect sense. With only a few vendors providing multivariate testing to begin with, (i.e., Optimost, Sitespect, Widemile and Google Optimizer, to name a few), I expect that the market will continue to collapse and commoditize based on features. Yet, services will emerge as an essential component of an actionable testing strategy.