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2007 July - MarketingRev - Tech News for Marketers

Archive for July, 2007

July 17th

Loomia Signs Deal to Provide Personalization for WSJ

Christopher Kenton

LoomiaLoomia is one of a number of fast-moving companies in the ultra-hot marketing technology sector known variously as Optimization and/or Personalization. The companies in this complex sector have differing approaches and technologies, but the concept is to analyze traffic and user behavior on your Web site and to use the data as a real-time input for dynamically tuning the content on your site to better serve and retain users. There are a number of tangents and angles off this central concept that different companies specialize in. Loomia’s specialty is providing product and content recommendations based on both explicit user preferences like ratings and implicit preferences based on where users go on your site, what they spend time on, and what they buy.

Loomia has a great graphic on their site that demonstrates their process, which they’ve given permission for me to post here to better explain what they do.

This space is continuing to heat up due to the effectiveness of optimization technology for tuning content to help user find things they want. It relies on the “wisdom of the crowds” to understand what people are interested in and to constantly tune content accoringly, rather than relying on the subjective opinion of an expert or editor which can only be updated in time-consuming content management cycles. Many companies are claiming substantial increases in time-on-site, conversions and close rates for online sales by using optimization, personalization and recommendations technology. Loomia claims an algorithm advantage over competitors like Aggregate Knowledge and Baynote by being able to drive personalization and optimization on a much smaller sampling of data, meaning faster time to relevant recommendations for users.

The big win announced by Loomia yesterday is a deal with the Wall Street Journal to provide content recommendations for WSJ readers based on preferences of other readers.

Recommendations provided by Loomia will appear in a module next to WSJ.com articles, under the header “People Who Read This…Also Read These Stories.” These recommended articles are based on a user’s current reading as well as their past behaviors around related content on WSJ.com, such as time spent or printing an article. These behaviors are matched against other users who share similar interests, generating article suggestions that are more relevant and personalized.   

The full release is available on Loomia’s press page.

Category: Optimization, Personalization | 1 Comment »

July 10th

Unica Snaps Up MarketingCentral

Christopher Kenton

Unica has just announced the planned acquisition of MarketingCentral, a Marketing Resource Management (MRM) tool that has been popular for it’s on-demand ease-of-use. MRM allows marketers to easily manage and share digital assets used in campaigns, such as images, logos, documents and other working files. MRM typically includes file sharing, work flow and review, and asset management functionality, and is an essential tool for agencies and marketing organizations.

Unica already has an MRM solution, called Affinium Plan as part of its Affinium Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) suite. But Affinium Plan was built as an enterprise-class solution, targetting complex marketing organizations. MarketingCentral was built as a much simpler on-demand solution for agencies and small businesses to get up and running with MRM quickly. The acquisition will broaden Unica’s appeal to agencies and small businesses, providing an entry-point into EMM with significant scalability.

For MarketingCentral customers, which currently include New Balance, Philips Medical and Saatchi & Saatchi, the acquisition will mean access to a more sophisticated suite of marketing management tools. As agencies continue to expand their technology capabilities, this will become an important opportunity to grow marketing management services.

Unica acquired MarketingCentral for “$12.5 in cash and transaction-related costs”, meaning the actual valuation of MarketingCentral was somewhere south of $12.5 million.

Category: Analytics, Enterprise Marketing Management, Marketing Resource Management | 5 Comments »

July 4th

Optimization Firm Maxymiser Revs Up Acquisitions

Christopher Kenton

Maxymiser is a fast-moving company in a marketing technology sector that is rapidly becoming one of the most important fronts in Web marketing–a segment nominally defined as Optimization.  Optimization is basically the process of changing the contents of Web site or Web page to make it more accessible to users and search engines. That’s the short story.

The longer story is that Optimization includes a wide variety of functions and approaches. Optimization can be manual or automated. It can be based on multi-variate testing (the process of trying different things to see what works the best) or behavioral heuristics (watching what people do and changing to fit behavior). It can focus on search engine optimization, or user experience. It can deliver dynamic landing pages, or change site navigation and search results. The list goes on. Which is why this space is getting so hot. Many companies are seeing great opportunities to fine tune traffic flow and user experience by shaping their sites to better fit their users, and there are many ways to skin that cat.

Maxymiser is a European company, headquartered in London. (So we should probably call it Optimisation, right?) The focus on multi-variate testing routines to improve click-through and conversion. The concept will be familiar to marketers with DM experience–you never just ship out a campaign, you create control groups and test many different variables to narrow in on the campaign components that will deliver the best results. That process has been developing on the Web for years, with tools that help marketers create, test and compare web pages with different designs, different messaging and different offers. It’s finally hitting prime time with powerful tools that automate multi-variate testing, and in some cases leverage powerful algorithms to statistically narrow down the options to the most likely top performers. Other companies in this space include Offermatica,  Kefta, Memetrics, Sitespect and Optimost–and even Google Website Optimizer.

The news with Maxymiser is that they’ve acquired a Web development company based in Ukraine, which will become a services arm for the growing company. This follows a similar pattern with other companies in the space, and in fact, a broader trend in marketing technology at large. Vendors with promising technologies are finding significant bottlenecks in selling into marketing organizations, because most companies don’t have a strong marketing engineering group–they have an IT department that has a lot of priorities that don’t include serving their marketing team. By adding services capabilities, vendors can provide a more complete outsourced solution that doesn’t require heavy lifting by their customer’s IT group–especially when their technologies are Web-based. It’s an interesting hybrid between services agency and technology vendor that is emerging throughout the marketing technology industry.

The acquisition brings Maxymiser’s European team up to 80, including 15 analysts and online marketing specialists, and will allow Maxymiser to acclerate their Website testing and optimization (sorry, optimisation), specifically in the areas of personalization (darn, personalisation) and behavioural targetting.

Maxymiser’s CEO, Bill Dobbie, gave a canned comment in their press release, stating:

Our clients face increasing stress on their development resource. Maxymiser Services will soak up this pressure by providing clients with value added development and analytical capabilities allowing their businesses to benefit from optimisation and personalisation technologies.

Watch for more coverage on optimization and optimisation players in this space.

Category: Optimization | 5 Comments »