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Five priorities for marketing

Bigger budgets and tighter regulations will force marketers to make some smart spending choices this year.

The marketing-automation software sector will grow by 10% to 15% in 2004, according to Forrester Research. The Cambridge, Mass.-based analysis firm thinks that the recovering economy and legislation such as "do not call" will spur organizations to invest in new technology.

Those factors should spell significant changes for marketing departments, with five key trends anticipated:

  1. Distributed, decentralized marketing takes off: Campaign management has traditionally been a centralized process staffed by a handful of super-users, but Forrester analyst Elana Anderson expects companies will start putting marketing in the hands of the bank branch, local store, dealer or franchise. Taylor Made-Adidas Golf, in Carlsbad, Calif., has made it a priority for in 2004. "Content management is the key for us," said Rob McClellan, director of supply chain management and services for the company. "We need global consistency in terms of the brand, the look, the feel, [while] still allowing regions to publish and edit their own content." To help, Taylor Made just signed a portal deal with Interwoven Inc. and is considering hosted software to give offices in the Asia-Pacific region better access to content.
  2. Siebel raises the stakes on marketing: Look for Siebel Systems Inc. to "shoot the moon" with its second-quarter release of Siebel 7.7, which will add more robust planning, as well as support for implementing complex segmentation schemes, Anderson said. Yet B2C marketers will likely continue to opt for software from marketing specialists such as DoubleClick Inc., E.piphany Inc., NCR Corp./Teradata, SAS and Unica Corp. for customer analysis, segmentation and campaign management, Anderson said. Siebel 7.7 will be the company's first release to address the core capabilities required for high-end consumer marketing, including segmentation and integrated analytics, Anderson said. Down the road, she expects Siebel to make gains against more specialized competitors.
  3. Marketers maximize in-bound interactions: The national "do not call" registry, as well as antispam lists and other opt-in laws, are requiring companies to market to customers who initiate contact with them.
  4. Marketing and service to forge closer ties: As an outgrowth of all the marketing regulations, the onus will be on service reps -- specifically those in a contact center -- to sell, Anderson said. "When you introduce a sales aspect, that should force a complete change in how employees are being measured," she said. "Not how fast [the transaction] was, but did you make the offer; did [the customer] accept?" Organizations will also need to figure out new ways to motivate and reward service personnel. In some cases, inbound marketing will mean simply getting a "yes" or "no" answer to a product offer, but generating interest or creating a lead. That's more difficult to track, Anderson said.
  5. Contact optimization will remain hot: Companies will continue to determine just how many offers were made, how often they were made and at what times the company can make pitches without turning off customers. Optimization tools from vendors like Marketswitch Corp. and SAS will benefit organizations, but those tools will also add new complexities, Anderson said. McClellan said Taylor Made is careful about the number of customer touches, particularly those made with customers who sign up for electronic notifications, such as tour dates and loyalty clubs. "Our unsubscribe rates average 0.3%," he said. "Anything above that, in my mind, is a dismal failure. If we have enough news to go to someone more than once a month, we will. If I'm not sure I have something to go back and bug them about, I'd rather go to them with more content on a more frequent basis."

Anderson also identified predictive cues that will trigger event-driven pitches or "a campaign of one," as a trend in the year ahead. For instance, financial services firms might make a marketing pitch after noticing a customer made a large deposit or a credit inquiry.


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Barney, thanks for listing this stuff out. I think it gives marketers clarity with which to do their jobs and helps them make clearer arguments for budgets and strategies moving forward.