IBM's Not-So-Secret Weapon: Big Data Marketing

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-02-26 Print this article Print

As the CMO has moved up the learning curve, often knowing more about certain technologies than the CIO, it's not so much that the two intersect but rather that they need to work together to deploy an effective enterprise solution, said Jonathan Yarmis, an analyst with HfS Research.

"Marketing is just one element of the overall corporate picture, so even as the CMO has come up the technology curve, the imperative for the CIO is to understand how those marketing technologies are going to affect the rest of the enterprise," Yarmis said.

Precision marketing at IBM relies on home-grown data management and analytics technologies, plus capabilities the company has acquired through the purchase of companies, such as Unica, Cognos, SPSS and CoreMetrics. IBM software manages and integrates cross-company marketing campaigns—and the sales leads that follow—across digital, social, mobile and traditional marketing channels and the productivity of lead-development representatives. This approach improved the productivity of lead-development representatives by 250 percent last year, while the value of leads created is up by percent.

Not only does IBM use big data and analytics internally, the company has invested heavily to pursue this line of business in its products and services. Internal projects like the team at 590 Madison and Blue Insight help IBM "walk the talk," Horan said. "We want to have good proof points and examples of how we're leveraging some of the new capabilities and helping IBM's business, as well."

However, "the common thread across our entire portfolio is the essential role of analytics," Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Software Solutions Group, told eWEEK.

SHOP.CA, a Canadian e-Commerce marketplace, is using IBM analytics software to help engage online consumers in a unique shopping experience that builds loyalty and a sense of community. IBM's technology powers SHOP.CA's consumer storefront, multi-merchant product catalog and SHOP.CA Rewards program. IBM also provides analytics on how site visitors behave and interact, as well as track their searching and buying histories. This data will give SHOP.CA insight on how, when and where to reach shoppers with content and when to make offers that are personalized to their tastes and preferences via mobile or social vehicles.

"We believe we had a team that could build an e-commerce platform from scratch, but we decided to focus on our unique IP, which is in building customer experience, and leverage IBM's technology," said Trevor Newell, SHOP.CA founder and president.  "Our CIO and CMO work closely together on this every day. We built the company that way."

According to IBM's State of Marketing survey, 48 percent of marketers believe that improved technology infrastructure will enable them to better meet the needs of customers, who are increasingly interacting with brands via multiple channels.

Tools like IBM's Marketing Center combine digital analytics and real-time marketing execution in a single integrated offering that can be deployed without taxing the resources of the CIO. Once live, marketers can turn data provided by customers into personalized offers via email or Website personalization—including the mobile Web, all with just a few clicks.


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