Eloqua SmartXchange, which is currently in beta, is intended to facilitate the exchange and rapid deployment of best practices among marketers. SmartXchange appears to offer three categories of marketing assets and support:
In essence, the system appears to be an augmentation of asset management, populated with templates for kicking off quick creative. You can find a short overview and datasheet describing the application on Eloqua’s site. http://smartxchange.eloqua.com/
Sourced by: Sandip Patil]]>
I number of years ago–maybe 2002–I was doing a lot of email marketing at my agency. There weren’t all of the SaaS offerings there are today, and in fact, there weren’t a whole lot of options out there for small companies trying to do serious email marketing. Somehow I came across MailLoop, and I have to tell you I was dubious. No matter how you access information about the software, you wind up staring at a wall of long-form marketing copy. “But wait, there’s more!” You know, the kind of marketing that’s used to sell get-rich -quick schemes to people ready to make millions from the comfort of their own home. What can I say? I was desperate for a piece of working software and willing to try anything. I kind of chuckled at the “lifetime upgrade” offer and I pulled the trigger.
I was surprised to find that the software was actually really well built, and did all of the basics I needed it to do. Most of all, it allowed me to manage multiple lists of any size, automate opt-out and exclude lists, and set up newsletters as well as email. I used it for a couple of years, went through at least one upgrade, and then moved on to a new role where I didn’t need to manage my own email marketing. That was over 4 years ago.
Fast forward to this week. I’m doing a webcast next week on social media marketing, and I wanted to send out an email invite to a couple of my contact lists. I’m in the middle of transitioning away from SugarCRM, after a lot of frustration with list management and email marketing. I could send the email out via an Outlook mail merge, but my hosting provider jams any email with over 100 recipients. I could set up an account with iContact, or Constant Contact, but the last thing I want to to do at the moment is sign up for another service. I just need to get some emails out.
And then I remembered MailLoop. Only problem was, I’d upgraded all of my computers since I last used MailLoop. I didn’t have the software anymore. But I did have that “lifetime upgrade”, remember? So, with nothing to lose, I found MailLoop 7 on the internet, complete with their new and improved long-form copy. Sheesh. But I finally found a corporate number, called support, and believe it or not, after buying the software 6 years ago, they simply asked me for my name, updated my account information, and sent me a link for the latest rev of the software. I had it installed on my machine 20 minutes later, and works just like it should.
Now, I’m not comparing MailLoop 7 to all the other email marketing products out there. I know there are a lot of SaaS options that are well regarded. But when a company creates a solid product that’s still solid after 6 years, and they provide customer service like you expect without making you jump through hoops, and they do all of that at exactly the moment you need to solve a problem–they deserve a good review. Long-form marketing copy notwithstanding. And if you’re interested in the product, I can help you cut to the chase. It’s $395 after you do the free trial. I think the deal comes with a number of other free software products guaranteed to make you a millionaire.]]>
So I was intrigued when I saw what LotusJump is doing. They offer a $99/month on-demand service that tees up SEO tasks for someone on your team to execute. It’s an interesting position. They’re not providing an SEO service per se–which would be a whole lot more than $99/month. Instead, they’re automating the messy legwork that prevents most marketers from getting SEO done on their own, such as:
It’s a pretty simple concept. If you had all of these opportunities teed up and ready to execute with the click of a mouse, you could farm out the work to people on your team to get it done–and everyone would be the smarter about SEO and your marketing strategy.
So I asked LotusJump for a demo account to see how easy it is. And yes, it is easy. Once you subscribe, you simply enter your web site domain and a list of three keywords or keyword phrases around which you want to optimize. Within minutes, your task list starts to fill with the directories and sites to which you might want to submit your own web site and articles. Most of these directories and sites are indexed in LotusJump’s database, and they have explicit step-by-step instructions for how to submit to each directory, so even an intern could pick up some slack. Within hours, or at least over night, the buzz links and competitive backlinks opportunities start coming in. These are collected as LotusJump scans the Web to find content related to your keywords, and your keyword competitors, that you can leverage by submitting your own comments or posts with links back to your site.
The interface is easy to use, and has basic workflow features for viewing and managing your task list. It’s hard to imagine how it wouldn’t be worth $99/month if you’re one of the many marketers who neither has the budget for outsourcing SEO, or the time to manage in-house SEO tasks. I don’t yet know how the net results would compare to outsourced SEO since we just ran through the setup, but if you’re doing nothing now, it’s not hard to benchmark. Just take a snapshot of your traffic today, run LotusJump for a month, and compare your traffic then.
I definitely like the concept, and I think it’s an interesting market position that likely has a critical mass of prospects. I’m thinking of asking LotusJump to keep our demo account open for a couple of months so we can benchmark traffic and report back on results.]]>
The Marketbright team comes out of marketing ops at large enterprise technology companies, so it’s not surprising their focus as an early stage venture has been building the tools and systems necessary to streamline large-scale demand generation programs. Marketbright offers the essential basics of marketing automation, including campaign execution, lead scoring and qualification, closed-loop marketing analytics, and integration with CRM/SFA tools. But addressing the more complex challenges of larger scale marketing programs, Marketbright also provides channel marketing support, enabling marketers to syndicate channel campaigns and push leads out to partners; event management with support for managing event registration and event content; and content management support for corporate Web sites. Marketbright also pays the obligatory obeisance to Marketing ROI and performance accountability with a dashboard for program metrics.
While Marketbright has been building their customer base among companies like Business Objects, VMware and Serena, they have on-demand solutions for SMB as well, with pricing based on number of seats. They have a link on their solutions page that says “click for an online demo”, but there’s no link. Guess you have to call for a demo. I did call just to check it out, and after one click through the phone tree, they had a real live knowledgeable person answering the line. So if you’re shopping for marketing automation solutions, Marketbright is worth putting on the vetting list.]]>
With the growing popularity of Web access through smart phones, the need to optimize and customize content for mobile users is creating a growing market for design and dev tools that simplify mobile marketing. PhindMe is out of the gate with one of the first self-service mobile marketing suites for marketers and agencies looking to develop marketing content optimized for iPhone, Blackberry, and the new Android platform which will power T-Mobile’s G1 Google Phone.
Recent surveys by Azuki Systems found that four out of 10 Internet users surfed the mobile Web for two or more hours every week, and 62 percent of mobile users surveyed said they either already owned a smart phone or would own one within the next 12 months.
That’s Joe Barone, a former board member of the Mobile Marketing Association, and now an advisor of PhindMe, explaining the primary market driver for their platform. With an estimated 140 million people actively using SMS, the market is clearly sizeable. According to PhindMe, the compelling features of their latest agency-friendly release include:
• Improved mobile Web publishing providing optimized content rendering for any mobile device, including dedicated styles for iPhones, Blackberry and Android-supported devices
• Private label system that manages individual client accounts and provides business client access in a partner-branded portal
• A simplified user interface that supports text campaigns and a content system for creating mobile Web pages and user management features
• New features for client business pages, including a fully wireless carrier-certified permission-based marketing system and an easy, informative sign-up process for users
Now if they can just create a stupidity filter that prevents over-eager agencies and businesses from migrating spam and annoying ads to mobile devices.]]>
WrapMail is fairly literal — wrap emails coming out of your domain with things that convey a marketing message. This can be featured products, sales pitches, or just customer communications. This is one of those incredibly obvious ideas that I am sure someone has done before. In theory, this is a good dea. There is no real reason why employees of a company or organization should not an active advocate in every email — a potentially viral and low-cost way to spread the word and communicate effectively with customers, not to mention boost incremental sales. On the other hand, it could get ugly and noisy pretty quickly if the message isn’t kept relatively mellow and the media wrap is not too rich (Do you really want punch the monkey wrappers on corporate email?). By extension, the wrappers could be used not only to sell but also to convey key facts — say about a fundraising campaign for a charity, for example. The terms are quite reasonable — $5 per user per month, unlimited wraps, $50 minimum sign-up commitment, no minimum length of usage. You can use your current domain with emails processed by the WrapMail server. No desktop installs are required — it all lives on the WrapMail servers. Whenever a mail recipient clicks on any of the wrappings, you get an instant alert. For retailers, WrapMail offers rotating product picks. No word on whether it can offer behavioral targeting for its message wraps — that would be amazing. The pay-as-you-go version offers limited reporting capability. The Enterprise version lets you install the software on your own servers inside your own firewall and get more robust analytics and reporting capabilities. Potential problems that I see? You better pray that someone on the same server as you doesn’t get too wrap-happy (Wrap sends emails for multiple accounts off the same server) or else you may end up SpamHaus hell. In the same vein, the whole point of email is to succinctly convey a message so over-loading emails with graphical geegaws clearly runs a risk of ticking off recipients. All of that said, I think smart implementations of this system for retailers or other commercial uses could be very powerful. Here’s what one looks like.
Any WrapMail users out there want to weigh in?]]>
Measuring the Social Web has long been a royal pain, what with Flash, AJAX, RSS feeds, and other slivers of content mashed and remixed into a trail that even Sherlock Holmes might have trouble parsing. NuConomy, an ambitious Site Analytics startup launched in 2006, aims to restore some analytical rigor to the Social Web. TechCrunch and others have blogged it already but it merits a look. The company opened up for public use today a suite of free analytics tools. If they can deliver on what they promise, then Nuconomy could set a new standard in Web analytics and offer a killer challenge for Google Analytics, not to mention Omniture and others. Here’s a rundown of what it promises, which is a lot. (P.S. – typo on the F.A.Q.. page, marketing team)
-proactive analytics automates the tedious chores of slicing and dicing data and building customized reports.
-promises an “intelligent” data mining engine to continually monitor every aspect of site traffic and user behaviors and automatically highlight the most important things to make businesses better. (data can be retrieved onsite or via email/RSS feed)
-promises to catch formerly elusive but critical data like changes in commenting trends for a particular segment of viewers, etc
-says that companies without dedicated site analyst geeks can now fire its analyst geeks and be unfraid (sorry, analysts)
-claims its metrics measure the social elements of digital media, including Flash, AJAX, and Silverlight applications, along with page views, uniques, and other traditional analytics
-combines and packages multiple flavors of insights into real world behavior on the web (comments, ratings, video plays, sharing links, purchases)
-allows “publishers, advertisers, and business executives to finally see the people behind the numbers (???) and measure the engagement, or lack thereof, in order to cultivate relationships and brand interactions, optimize social media programs, and better monetize ads and e-commerce offerings.” A mouthful but it means mo’ money.
-Builds rich behavioral profiles, or interest maps, for each user by tracking site-level activity for individuals (would be interested in hearing more about how they plan to do this)– such as who is posting comments on bikes or sharing music recommendations with friends.
-This level of detail gives publishers a deeper understanding of user behavior so they can optimize their sites and marketing messages for different audience segments, even different individuals (I find this hard to believe – I regularly move between four computers – how would it work?)
-“features a two-way API that dynamically changes sites based on current metrics and insights, including the ability to show ads or push specific content relevant to a user’s interests.”
-easy to use with plug-ins for tracking users and traffic in WordPress, Movable Type, Community Server, and dasBlog
-partners include Technorati, Microsoft, Six Apart, Pioneer, Kaltura, and Federated Media. (heckuva partner list).
-register for free.
Video analytics and actions spurred by ineractions with widgets are other things NuConomy is offering. It’s a whole lotta package for free. If anyone out there is using it and already has an opinion, feel free to post.]]>
RSS (Real Simple Syndication] makes the delivery of all kinds of content easy over the Web, enabling users to subscribe to blogs, videos, music, news, even product sales and coupons, and have that content delivered directly to their desktops. From a marketing perspective, RSS provides a critical alternative to email and Web marketing. Since it is a subscription medium, RSS is more tuned to customer’s interests, making it more relevant, less intrusive, and the resulting metrics more reliable.
SimpleFeed helps marketers leverage RSS by making it easy to publish feeds that consumers can subscribe to for timely information and offers they want. SimpleFeed makes it easy to:
V3 adds some new and powerful innovations. The most interesting is the development of Search-Based Feeds. On many business sites, users rely on the on-site search engine to find relevant information. SimpleFeed V3 allows companies to provide RSS feeds for search results–so if users want to subscribe to any new information or updates on the same topic as their search query, they can receive alerts automatically. In essence, this allows users to go beyond the pre-defined RSS feeds companies normally provide to create their own customized feeds based on what the details of their search. V3 also includes enhanced analytics and tools to publish information to formats other than RSS, allowing content to be automatically published to other applications.
As a personal disclaimer, I met Mark Carlson, the CEO of SimpleFeed back when they were first launching, and I’ve stayed in touch ever since because I think they have a cool technology, and the right focus for a marketing application provider. They’re constantly innovating new tools and techniques to improve their product, and the features are always focused on empowering marketers. I’m impressed with how they’ve weathered the hype and post-hype cycles of market buzz, and maintained a steady pace of customer growth and product development. Congratulations on V3, guys.]]>