Statistical rigor has been applied to marketing for years, but there are still far too many siloed applications--for tracking and executing direct-mail campaigns, email campaigns, Web analysis, lead nurturing, print and broadcast ad buying, and more.
Marketers have yearned for a holistic, cross-channel view of campaigns and spending. A crop of vendors responded in the 1990s with software known variously as marketing automation, marketing resource management, enterprise marketing management, and integrated marketing management. These software products have recently come to the attention of mainstream IT vendors. Oracle acquired the technology behind Market2Lead in May 2010, IBM acquired Unica in October 2010, Teradata bought Aprimo in December 2010, and SAS acquired Assetlink in February 2011.
These acquired companies have different strengths: lead nurturing in the case of Market2Lead, e-marketing at Unica, planning and financial management at Aprimo, and workflow and digital asset management for Assetlink. What they all have in common is marketing-specific capabilities and a focus on cross-channel analysis.
IBM, Oracle, Teradata, and SAS are diving more deeply into marketing because "they see it as a huge analytical play," says David Raab of Raab Associates, an analyst who specializes in marketing technology. "We've been talking for years about coordinating all the customer contacts, but now big IT vendors are starting to put some muscle behind the concept." Marketing is looking like one of the next great opportunities in analytics, following on successes in areas such as fraud detection, supply chain optimization, and risk assessment.