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What to Do With All That (Marketing) Data

  In the past several weeks, I’ve had more conversations about omni-channel marketing than I thought I’d have over an entire year. There is intense interest in the concept. Omni-channel marketing advocates a seamless pivoting from one marketing channel to the next with an emphasis on the customer relationship. It is a natural evolution of the multi-channel marketing concept but with more attention paid to personalization of messages and enticements. From a customer perspective, interactions flow naturally without regard for the channels they use. In omni-channel marketing, a customer may begin engaging with a brand on social media, then again through the website, and later yet through a mobile interaction

IBM BlueMix Launches with Subscription & Pay-as-you-go Pricing

Today IBM BlueMix, a cloud-based software development suite, was given its general release. In doing so, IBM recognizes two important trends. First, that leveraging the cloud for development makes as much sense as for sales enablement or marketing. Second, that the way enterprise software is priced is changing. IBM’s pricing scheme for the new IBM BlueMix suite is a combination of pay-as-you-go and subscription pricing. This brings to developers using IBM tools the same financial advantages that exist for office productivity, CRM, HCM, and a host of other enterprise business applications. Subscriptions and pay-as-you-go, where each month a credit card is charged for a license, allows small organizations and teams

Microsoft Office365 is Great for Collaboration (If You Can Figure It Out)

  Back in April, Neuralytix published my report on the utility of enterprise social networks for internal collaboration. At the time, I looked at Microsoft’s enterprise social network product, Yammer, but not as a part of the Office 365 suite of products. That was how the criteria for the report worked out. In order to have an apples to apples comparison with other products in the category, such as Jive or SAP Jam, I had to consider Yammer by itself and not as part of the Office product line. The model took into account integrations with other applications but the enterprise social networks highlighted in the report had to stand

A Busy Week with Three New Papers

Last week was a busy one for me. In what is probably a new record, I released three reports in one week. Beyond Store and Share: Cloud File Sharing Services Go Enterprise. In this paper I look at how cloud file services have evolved beyond the simple store-sync-share model of early Dropbox or Box. Enterprise Cloud File Sharing Converge with Enterprise Collaboration Software. Not only has cloud file services become enterprise grade but they have started to converge with document management, workflow, and enterprise social network software. Informatica Previews Data Self-Service. The best thing I saw at Informatica World 2014 was the emerging self-service trend for data. Another great example of end-user

Jive Changes Status to “In a relationship” with Cisco

If one were to take an objective look – which I did in my most recent report – at Jive Software’s product it would stand up with the best of the Enterprise Social Network products. It is, to put it succinctly, full featured. The single biggest objection to Jive, one that their competitors are quick to point out, is a perceived lack of stability in the business. As many pundits and competitors would have you believe, Jive can’t thrive. The reason, according to conventional wisdom, is that they don’t have the enterprise applications that other companies which gives a natural entry into the IT department. They lack the channel and

What to Do With All That (Marketing) Data

 

In the past several weeks, I’ve had more conversations about omni-channel marketing than I thought I’d have over an entire year. There is intense interest in the concept. Omni-channel marketing advocates a seamless pivoting from one marketing channel to the next with an emphasis on the customer relationship. It is a natural evolution of the multi-channel marketing concept but with more attention paid to personalization of messages and enticements. From a customer perspective, interactions flow naturally without regard for the channels they use. In omni-channel marketing, a customer may begin engaging with a brand on social media, then again through the website, and later yet through a mobile interaction and finally to a brink-and-mortar retail store or online merchant for final purchase. Along the way, information and recommendations are provided based on the perceived signals from the customer and aggregate information about other similar customers. This flow of interactions leading to a purchase is often called the purchase journey or customer journey.

Omni-channel marketing is very data driven. It requires tremendous amounts of information about customers, products, and marketing channels – digital, social, broadcast, and print. There needs to be a clear understanding of what a customer wants (or thinks they want), how they wish to engage with the company, and what the triggers are that move them toward a purchase. This requires both individualized data and aggregate data. Individual data helps to detect and interpret signals from customers about the next step in the journey toward a purchase and aggregate data allows the brand to make recommendations to keep that journey moving apace.

Tools such as Informatica’s PIM 7.1 give a coordinated view of products and the signals product data produces. Social and digital media analytics from a range of companies including Salesforce.com, Adobe, and Crimson Hexagon detect signals in social and digital media. Needless to say, there are a lot of software products that help marketing professionals to manage interactions with groups of customers who have similar patterns of behavior.

There are also tools that help understand the individual customer. The average sales automation, point of sale, CRM, and ecommerce system tracks all types of individual customer interactions, especially transactions. Marketing automation products ranging from Hubspot and Marketo to Oracle Marketing Cloud know a lot about how customers are reacting to offers, digital advertising, and other digital touch points. Service software also tracks individual interactions with the customers and contain a vast trove of information about interactions with a company or brand, including negative interactions.

Herein lies the problems for omni-channel marketing. All of this information that should help to move a customer along on the journey to purchase sits in individual silos. There are often big gaps between aggregate data and individual data. The CRM or marketing automation system may know what channels a customer is engaging with and the social media analytics tools may know how customers of a certain demographic are reacting to a new product release but no single system knows both in real-time. For omni-channel marketing to work, there needs to be an automated and gentle nudging of the customer toward purchase along any channel they may be engaging with at the moment. Even when there is a consolidated view of all data pertaining to the customer purchase journey, it still requires several systems or humans to act on the data. The tools are still fragmented.

Eventually, companies that focus on marketing will begin to create integrated and coordinated systems to manage omni-channel marketing. This is the ultimate goal of most of the “marketing cloud” products (of which there are many) and data integration systems. We’re just not there yet. Sooner rather than later, we will see all of these customer, product, and transaction systems coalesce into systems that manage the entire journey from mild interest to actual buying.

IBM BlueMix Launches with Subscription & Pay-as-you-go Pricing

Today IBM BlueMix, a cloud-based software development suite, was given its general release. In doing so, IBM recognizes two important trends. First, that leveraging the cloud for development makes as much sense as for sales enablement or marketing. Second, that the way enterprise software is priced is changing.

IBM’s pricing scheme for the new IBM BlueMix suite is a combination of pay-as-you-go and subscription pricing. This brings to developers using IBM tools the same financial advantages that exist for office productivity, CRM, HCM, and a host of other enterprise business applications. Subscriptions and pay-as-you-go, where each month a credit card is charged for a license, allows small organizations and teams to use software that typically would be too expensive to purchase outright. These are more flexible plans as well, allowing companies to adjust licenses quickly in order to accommodate team changes. This is especially advantageous for software development organizations where contractors make up a significant portion of the workforce. Even large companies will want to embrace this pricing model since it shifts CAPEX spending to OPEX and creates financial flexibility.

For big software companies such as IBM, this is clearly a departure. In fact, it represents a different way of thinking about pricing. Most enterprise software vendors still structure deals with upfront license purchases that require a big capital investment and a yearly maintenance fee. Cloud software has upended that model, especially over the past three years. The problem is not customer acceptance but recalcitrant sales organizations. It’s easy to understand why that might be; salespeople used to making money on megadeals aren’t yet comfortable with revenue that trickles in over time. Subscription and pay-as-you-go is a paradigm shift for enterprise salespeople. That IBM is adopting this model for an important new software products such as IBM BlueMix is a testimony to Big Blue’s evolution as a cloud software provider.

IBM BlueMix is a good product with which to introduce this type of pricing. As enterprise software vendors have switched to subscription pricing, they have been battered by the financial markets for perceived drops in revenue. The revenue from cloud products fits a different model than traditional pricing. Because of this, revenue shifts from on-premises to cloud have been painful for many large ISVs. With IBM BlueMix, financial analysts won’t have anything to compare to and the proper revenue model will be applied from the start.

This is a bold move for IBM. They have priced an important product in a new and disruptive fashion, one calculated to blunt the force of a new crop of competitors such as Cloud9 and CodeAnywhere. I’m hoping the IBM BlueMix team can hold off the inevitable pressure to conform to old models.