Monday, July 6, 2009

Tool Aims For Easy Data Integration And Targeting For Email Campaigns

Having quick and easy access to data has always been a barrier that prevents marketers from implementing targeted and integrated campaigns. Marketers have had to call on the IT department to mine customer behavior or transaction history in a data warehouse, or use Web analytics.

Responsys -- which provides on-demand marketing services for email, Web, print, mobile, and social media -- on Monday is expected to release Interact Connect, a tool that allows marketers to define, schedule and automate data transfers with external systems through a Web-based user interface. The tool can now integrate internal data from multiple platforms. This eliminates the need for scripting and reliance on IT resources.

Marketers can point Interact Connect toward an Oracle, SAP or Teradata data warehouses, among others, and automatically pull in data from a specific customer segment.

John Berkley, VP of product marketing for Responsys, believes the technology has a "behavioral targeting" twist. The difference is that the Responsys platform integrates data to rely on email as the delivery mechanism to target and remarket to known customers from a list.

Marketers can target a specific behavior. "If you know through a Web analytics platform that someone has been looking at a specific set of products, but they have not bought anything, you can target that behavior," says Berkley. "You can also target the segment of customer who you know has abandoned a shopping cart."

Several weeks ago, San Bruno, Calif.-based Responsys released a product that integrates external data from analytics platforms to personalize email marketing content. Now the product does both, giving marketers control over how they use customer data to build timely campaigns.

"I can do a campaign in Responsys to all people who have abandoned a shopping cart, and with one click I can direct the system to use Baynote to determine the exact product relevant to them," Berkley says. "The recommendation is provided by our partners, but the campaign is served up by us."

Data integration remains a challenge for most companies. Infrastructure and technology constraints prohibit many integration initiatives, notes Forrester Research analyst John Lovett. For example, 54% of large organizations -- representing more than $1 billion in annual revenue -- are challenged by infrastructure constraints, according to the Forrester report "What's Your Web Data Integration Strategy?"

To understand how data integration issues affect marketers, Forrester Research surveyed 275 Web site decision-makers about business practices. The report, released in February, revealed that one-third of large companies do not have the staff or the resources to integrate data. More than 40% of mid-size companies are handicapped by resource constraints. And 21% of companies, from large to small, cite difficulties in finding a technology solution capable of satisfying integration needs.

Responsys supports companies such as Avis Europe, Continental Airlines, Deutsche Lufthansa, Intrawest, Lands' End, LEGO, and UnitedHealthcare.



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