SaaS Marketing Side-Effect

by ChrisDewey on March 31, 2010

Chris Dewey

We have all witnessed the rapid emergence of the class of marketing tools provisioned to users over the web through the SaaS model — whose capabilities are already impressive and growing rapidly.  Adoption of social media monitoring tools is adding turbo boost to an already fast car.  There is however, a side-effect that’s underappreciated … specifically the relative isolation of the data being used and produced by these tools.  The vehicle itself is not at fault, there’s little doubt that SaaS applications and the following cloud technologies are a viable force in how business applications will be consumed in the future.

The unintended side-effect is the creation of a walled garden of functionality and the valuable data whose visibility is all too often constrained to its own scope and experience.  In many implementations, the actionable data, i.e. universe membership, offer selection, and response data, isn’t considered holistically with the enterprise’s other data on customer experience and attitude.  For example, a customer registering a complaint through 1-800 customer service, or by social commentary, would continue to be marketed to via the prescribed cross-sell/upsell campaigns in place elsewhere — without the added insight of their new activity.  Most likely, the consumer’s next step will be to opt out of your communications altogether in frustration.

The good news is that this challenge is not insurmountable.  The total design of campaign management needs to include streaming touch point and response data out of the SaaS marketing applications and into an integrated marketing database.  From this context, a broader view of offline data is available to combine with the online experience data, and decisions on how, when, and/or if to communicate next can be made with the best available data.  The results of those decisions, as well as the ability to refresh dimensional data, can then originate from the marketing database and update the SaaS applications’ view.

About the Author:

Chris Dewey is the CIO at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Chris on , or follow him on .

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Josh Gordon June 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Interesting post. I think, however, that re-labeling a holistic approach to marketing database as an “integrated marketing database” is misleading. Too often even tight data integration is costly and time-consuming.

Are you familiar with the concept called universal profile management? It’s a data mart offered via SaaS that stores and captures both known customer attributes and anonymous online behavior in one spot. The kicker is that the universal profile management system lives in the same SaaS offering that delivers the content – multi-channel content delivery, ideally.

Knotice (, for example, is the only ESP capable of capturing behavioral data native to its software platform. Obviously there are significant advantages to this, but it’s also the new, more nuanced way ESPs must differentiate.

The real-time nature of data use is also on the rise. Any content delivery mechanism must be lithe enough to respond to sudden changes within the database with targeted content.

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