December 6, 2007


I’d like to address something that may seem almost outside of what we do…but it’s not.  If you bear with me, I think you’ll find it most intriguing.

As some of you may know last March Oracle bought Hyperion.  More recently, SAP acquired Business Objects, and now, IBM has plans to pick up Cognos.  It’s safe to say that SAS will remain independent for a little while and that Teradata, by virtue of its high ticket price, will do the same.

“So what?”, “How does this affect me?” you may be asking yourself, so let me tell you.

Inevitably IBM will begin to steer you to Cognos on its IBM platforms and databases, and Oracle will be pushing Hyperion on their Siebel-based marketing products.  And as the smaller vendors in the new media measurement marketplace emerge with any success, they will be acquired just as quickly.  What this means is that for those of you who like rigid, enterprise wide solutions this is a good thing, but it will not be so good for those of us who like the ‘Best of Breed’ approach that new media drives us to take.

Remember, marketing is not a discipline that grew up with a set measurement orientation, and for good reason.  Every organization is different and has their own way of evaluating their marketing efforts.  The marketplace has allowed us to be flexible and have choices because the marketing tools we use today still interact with secondary core business intelligence tools – for either data mining or measurement (SAS in the case of the former and BI/Cognos/Microstrategy in the latter).

Now some CRM applications like Unica have come a long way in bringing web analytics into their suites, but measurement still remains as one of marketing’s big challenges, especially in the wave of new media.  For instance, how do you currently:

  • Measure the effectiveness of reviews on your website,
  • Asses the value of customers who are heavy online players and
  • Quantify the influence set by people who provide content that references your brand positively, or negatively, on the web

I bring all this up not to give you “the answer”, but to prompt you to begin thinking about your own marketing measurement strategies.  As we count down 2007 and enter 2008, now is the time to look at your upcoming strategies, both the business and IT.  Try to figure out exactly what you’ll want to measure about your customers and marketing activities, how and when you want to measure it, whether your tools are sufficient or is it worth making judicious bets in measurement technologies before the marketplace becomes a whole lot more restrictive – from a price, business AND architecture perspective in the near future.