Most campaign management platforms provide three core capabilities: email marketing, website visitor tracking, and a central marketing database. In order to differentiate, companies have started providing additional tools as part of the integrated marketing management platform:
However, in pursuit of providing additional tools, several large IMM ( Integrated Marketing Management providers have made significant mergers and acquisitions of late. Each company is trying to expand the suite of marketing services they offer and integrate different capabilities in a common platform. There are several small and mid- size businesses (SMB ) who are offering niche marketing services and driving latest trends in campaign management. They have been major targets for acquisition/ merger (refer Table 1).
Table 1: Major Recent Mergers and Acquisitions in IMM Industry
|Adobe||Neolane||Jun-13||$600 million acquisition|
|IBM||Silverpop||Apr-14||Behavioural Marketing Automation|
|Unica||Aug-10||Marketing planning software|
|Marketo||Insightera||Dec-13||$20 million acquisition of inbound marketing platform|
|Microsoft (Dynamics CRM)||MarketingPilot||Oct-12||Acquisition of Marketing Management platform|
|Oracle||Corente||Jan-14||Acquisition of cloud-based services provider|
|Salesforce||ExactTarget||Jun-13||$2.5 billion acquisition of email marketing services provider|
|Clipboard||May-13||$12.5 million purchase of social bookmarking service|
|SAS||aiMatch||Feb-12||Cloud-based ad server technology|
|AssetLink||Feb-11||Marketing Resource (Operations) Management|
|Teradata||eCircle||May-12||Email and social media management software|
Now, let’ s take a look at emerging capabilities in marketing automation space:
Real- Time Campaigns: Marketers strive to interact with customers in “ the moment ”. Mobile and social mediums together form the backbone of this emerging trend. Brands now prefer to communicate through images and videos rather than vanilla text messages. Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. are competing to grow as main channels of communication. Emergence of wearable gadgets open-up new communication mediums. Posting to these new channels should happen from within the same campaign GUI through both scheduled and real- time posts.
Location/ Geo based marketing: With the rapid proliferation of mobile and wearable devices, and the explosion of the Internet of Things, people will be carrying these devices more than ever. Marketers notice an opportunity to provide personalized and timely services using these devices. Brands can access geo- locations to find when we near one of their store locations. Then, we receive an offer tailored to our proximity to the store. This is about providing the right message at the right time, place and through right channel.
Social Marketing: Companies are updating their business processes to embed big- data analysis into their campaign management platforms. Any kind of digital marketing should invariably include social marketing – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These social platforms not only provide a popular communication channel but also provide critical data to be used in campaigns and marketing analytical models. Text mining techniques are used to convert unstructured social data into structured data and used in campaigns and models. Research shows that inclusion of these data in campaigns help increase response rates and lift model scores. For example, marketing professionals tap into these streams of big data to observe how their products, services, and brands are perceived online. Measuring, analysing, and ultimately influencing customer sentiment allows marketing professionals to formulate more- effective promotions so they can improve customer loyalty and generate more revenue.
Drip Marketing: It is a communication strategy that sends a pre- written set of messages to customers or prospects over time – the timing of the messages are pre- determined and the messages are dripped in a series applicable to a specific behaviour or status of the recipient through appropriate channel. Not many campaign management platforms support this out- of- the- box.
Managed marketing automation service on cloud: Several technology companies are building capabilities to support marketing cloud offerings. Cloud- enabled marketing solutions help organizations achieve superior scalability, efficiency and availability without much capital expenditure. It offers advantages of fast, flexible deployment, good security, simplified mobile access, minimal IT requirement, easy data sharing with customers/ third-party vendors and these solutions can scale with growth of the organization. This trend is indeed significant for small and medium enterprises who do not wish to spend huge capitals on setting up marketing automation platform in- house. To optimize spend, companies prefer an automation partner that offers a monthly subscription instead of one that locks it into an annual contract.
Growth in third- party application ecosystems: There are many third- party developers who create custom software that plugs into the marketing platform. More of an ‘ a la carte’ approach, this lets potential clients pick and choose apps that are most relevant to their business goals, and often appeals to SMB companies on a tight budget. Few such examples are apps for integration of Dropbox/ GaggleAMP / Linkedin/ Addvocate/ etc. Different vendors are offering different degrees of third- party integration, and some have developed “ app marketplaces” (e.g. Oracle) where clients can select from an ever-growing array of choices. While the larger companies have grown via mergers and acquisitions, there has also been rapid growth in third- party applications that are used with marketing automation software. This innovation continues to drive expansion of the marketplace, both for enterprise and SMB marketers.
Cognitive Computing: It is the ability to learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own. Rather than being programmed to anticipate every possible answer or action needed to perform a function or set of tasks, cognitive systems are trained using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to sense, predict, infer and, in some ways, think. This will help humans make better decisions in many capacities. Applying this to marketing and communications will help marketers better understand, anticipate & respond to customers.
Presently, there is not a single company which provides all of these services. However, customers are certainly demanding these services through an integrated platform. This state of the industry should further drive consolidation through mergers, acquisitions and partnerships. From a customer perspective, finding the best marketing automation platform for the organization requires a rigorous internal assessment of its business’ s marketing and sales strengths, challenges, needs and goals. An effective marketing automation certainly results in greater long- term ROI, on- going business productivity and consumer satisfaction and engagement.
Venturing into the Digital Marketing space, Happiest Minds looks to offer next generation Digital Engagement software platform called Engagement JunctionTM. This platform helps “ close the loop ” with consumer communication. Feedback from an interaction with the consumers serves as input for the subsequent interactions. Engagement JunctionTM provides a wide array of rich, pre- built, completely configurable, engagement type templates such as surveys, quizzes, contests and free product samples. Using the platform is a simple three- step process: Choose and configure an engagement type, select a target audience, and promote your engagement by inviting consumers to participate. It helps brands transform the way they engage with consumers, get valuable insights, and identify and reward brand advocates.
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