Those of you who follow my blog will know that I've been on a quest to define marketing measurement in a way that has metrics become a powerful tool for engagement. To that end, I've begun looking at some of the tools available and how analytics are being used.
iPost has a new tool, out of Beta at the end of Q1 2008, called AutoTarget. I spent some time on the phone with Craig Kerr, their VP of Marketing and Steve Webster, Chief Strategy Officer, and took a spin through a demo. I have to say that I'm impressed with what I saw.
AutoTarget is based on historically proven metrics that help you predict behavior. This behavior is grouped into personas they call RFM cells. Traditionally, RFM stands for Recency, Frequency and Monetary value. For B2B marketers the "monetary" value is quantified with the value you place on your marketing content-driven calls to action.
The AutoTarget system automates the grouping of prospects with similar behaviors together for you so you can easily segment those who respond with the highest degree of interest to particular offers or communications. The system has 125 ways in which it groups behavior.
AutoTarget has a cool graph reporting tool that allows you to slide the scale to see who fits into which RFM cells and then immediately group the cells you want to generate lists for relevant follow-up or additional communications.
This graphing feature makes it really simple to determine the people who are obviously low interest and separate them from the actively interested for different levels or types of communciations. Like perhaps a monthly newsletter vs bi-weekly thought leadership marketing communications.
The CRM hand-off is even better. AutoTarget is integrated with Salesforce.com which allows hot prospects to be sent to sales, but reclaimed automatically by marketing should their RFM value change due to a fall off in activity. So the system doesn't stop working just because the "ownership" of the prospect changed.
This takes closing the loop on lead management to new levels of responsiveness. Because even if a lead gets handed off to sales, the system doesn't lose track of them and can pull them back to nurturing if that's what's indicated by their behavior. Marketing is no longer reliant on sales to take the effort to hand back prospects whose priorities shift, and sales can quit worrying about them and focus on hot leads without a noticeable lapse in the relationship. Which can be really helpful in reducing lead waste and missed opportunities.
With the AutoTarget system, you use iPost's email system and you can put a snip of script on your web pages to gather all your profiled behavior in one place, eliminating the need for manual "mashups" of metrics. Which is a huge time saver. They also enable tracking for postal direct marketing and phone calls in an attempt to combine all your marketing channels.
By automating what iPost calls "personas," they've developed a method of scoring leads that takes a lot of the guess work out of it. And the tool is adaptable to B2B needs in ways that provide big insights to prospect interests quickly and efficiently. It appears to take a lot of the time-intensive analytics work and reduce it to easy-to-use charts and features that help you spend more time working on engagement, and less time stressing about deciphering the meaning of the metrics—and without breaking the bank.
I'd say it's definitely worth looking into. But that's only my opinion. You'll have to make your own determination when you see it for yourself. Thanks to Craig and Steve for the conversation. If anyone has experience with AutoTarget, please post it here.