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IT And Marketing: How Digital Media's Changing The Relationship

The pressure is on to show measurable results from campaigns. That should make IT and marketing teams closer partners than they are.

Manage The Marketing

Making the most of customer information is more than half the battle, but marketers are also starting to consolidate all the data on their marketing activities. That's where the aforementioned marketing systems enter the picture. In place of a hodgepodge of spreadsheets, these systems track campaign plans, budgets, customer targets, lists used, and results, and in some cases even track performance of individual content components such as ad copy, images, video clips, and variations by language.

Kodak uses software from Aprimo, the company acquired by Teradata, to manage campaigns and customer segmentation on the business-to-business side of the house, which includes its commercial printing, document imaging, and TV and motion picture divisions. The software taps into Kodak's customer database to pick B-to-B customer segments to target with ads via Web, email, and mobile devices. As for Kodak's business-to-consumer operations, it's evaluating whether to go with Aprimo in-house or outsource to a data management company like Epsilon or Acxiom, which have sophisticated tools for segmentation and data mining. They also have integrated email and mobile support, so once the analysis finds the right customers to target, companies can turn that right into email campaigns and advertising tailored to the iPhone, BlackBerry, and most Android devices.

The Big Vendors Are In

Teradata acquired Aprimo to extend its reach into marketing departments. It already had integration partnerships with Aprimo, whereby the marketing tools could tap Teradata data warehouses and marts. Kodak's customer database is currently Oracle, and no doubt Teradata hopes Aprimo's relationship with Kodak and other customers will open doors to future data warehouse deployments.

If Kodak turns to a marketing service provider like Epsilon or Acxiom for more of its data analysis, it likely would need fewer staffers to do such work. It also would introduce questions about how to integrate data between the on-premises data sources and those held by the service providers, and responsibilities for maintaining and securing customer data.

It's similar to the kinds of IT resource decisions most companies will face in the years to come as cloud computing takes hold. Which data and capabilities do you really want on premises rather than in the cloud? What infrastructure is too much bother or expense to develop and maintain internally? What level of sophistication can you hope to achieve internally versus what's available as a service?

Unica, Aprimo, and Assetlink support cloud-based as well as on-premises deployments, and there are plenty of signs that IBM, SAS, and Teradata are preparing for a hybrid world. IT pros need to do the same, but more on that later.

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