DoubleClick Makes Moves in Marketing Automation

DoubleClick, which took a giant step into the campaign-management business with its November 2002 acquisition of Protagona, is seeking to make major strides in marketing automation by adding analytics and real-time capabilities to its software.

The company’s mission is to make marketing work better, Court Cunningham, senior vice president of marketing automation, told CRM Buyer. “Campaign management is a key piece of the marketing-automation dashboard,” he said. The goal is to increase marketing efficiency, improve campaign intelligence and let users execute plans across multiple marketing channels.

DoubleClick Ensemble 6.0, released in February, offers marketing tools to improve campaign flexibility, a new customizable user interface, open data architecture for accessing data from various sources, and advanced integration between modules. The company also has added thin-client capabilities to the software.

Shoring Up the Foundation

DoubleClick gained a good foundation in campaign management from Protagona and has enough money to invest in expanding its lineup, Forrester Research senior analyst Elana Anderson told CRM Buyer. However, she added, the company needs to play catch-up to compete against the likes of E.piphany, Unica and SAS.

What is missing is integrated analytics that would allow business users to develop a propensity model, according to Anderson. “Once they have integrated analytics, they want to integrate real-time decision-making and offer-recommendation capabilities,” she noted. “It’s likely they will move first to a rules-based solution and then integrate analytics into the real-time piece.”

Adding integrated modeling capability would put DoubleClick on the map, but this is not apt to happen overnight, she said. “If they can do that in a short period, Unica will have a problem.”

Gradual Steps

DoubleClick does have to differentiate itself, and that will take time, Cunningham admitted. Next year, the company will focus more on intelligence, including reporting and analytics functions. It also is exploring the possibility of adding data-management functions to Ensemble.

In this year’s fourth quarter, the company plans to release Ensemble 6.5, which will feature marketing segmentation tools and real-time functions, according to Cunningham. In addition, “pushbutton marketing” will enable marketers without advanced technical training to add their own predictive models.

Ensemble 6.5 will be integrated with DoubleClick’s e-mail and site analysis tools, Cunningham said.

That is the right move, according to Anderson. DoubleClick has a strong ASP-based e-mail tool, but integrating it with the campaign-management application will take time, she explained.

Raw Materials

DoubleClick has the raw materials required for success in marketing automation, Gartner research director Gareth Herschel agreed. “But we’ll see whether or not they can execute on it.” Remaining on CIOs’ and CMOs’ short list will be a challenge, he told CRM Buyer.

Since the Protagona acquisition, DoubleClick has signed seven marketing automation customers, ranging from traditional offline businesses to Internet businesses. For example, General Motors subsidiary OnStar will use Ensemble to manage its customer retention and upsell programs, while Lycos will use it to more efficiently market its products to users and encourage migration from free to paid content and services.

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