Affinium Upgrade Manages Brands

Unica's Affinium 4 moves beyond marketing campaign management into project and brand management and marketing department planning.

Unica Corp. is adding higher-level marketing capabilities in the next release of its Affinium customer relationship management software suite.

In Affinium 4, which was introduced this morning, the company moves beyond marketing campaign management into project and brand management and marketing department planning.

This version adds the Affinium Plan module, which uses a customizable dashboard to allow marketers to track budgets, overlap, coordination and performance of all their marketing programs, whether direct response, advertising campaigns or brand initiatives. The module provides workflow and collaboration tools to coordinate planning, improve communication and increase productivity, said Unica officials, in Lincoln, Mass.

The module is designed to allow marketers to identify the most effective program strategies, keep marketing programs in line with corporate objectives, and manage marketing expenditures, officials said. It also allows them to automate approvals, to-do lists, reports, notifications and alerts, and instill marketing best practices through re-usable templates that capture the knowledge of the top talent in the organization.

Intuit Inc. recently licensed Affinium 4, though it has not implemented the software yet. It plans to run a pilot project with the software for its TurboTax product line, according to David Kirven, group manager for corporate marketing strategy for Intuit in San Diego. Intuit will use the new Plan module as well the Campaign Management module. If the pilot is successful, the company will expand use of Affinium to all of its products, Kirven said.

"Were focused on improving our ability to process campaigns internally and become more efficient in our marketing," Kirven said.

Kirven said the new Plan module would allow Intuit to track its various marketing campaigns more effectively and "fill in the gaps" it discovers.

"We want to reduce the cycle time for campaigns and improve our efficiency in the way time is spent on them," he said. "We want to spend less time on administrative activities and more on development processes and strategies."

Ultimately, the expected end result of such marketing improvements would be higher profits, Kirven said.

The e-mail marketing component of the Affinium suite, eMessage, has also been enhanced in Version 4.0. New features include a flexible content management structure to help marketers organize e-mail creative such as text blocks and graphic elements; a point-and-click, WYSIWYG HTML editor to create HTML mails; automatic status notifications and updates; and enhanced personalization support, including support for reusable online surveys.

Affinium 4 is available now. Pricing varies based on a specific customers needs, but typically starts around $100,000 and averages $650,000.