ATG, Unica update online CRM suites

Art Technology Group Inc. and Unica Corp. each enriched their online CRM packages, both with an eye toward helping companies more effectively relate to customers. ATG will soon make ATG 6 available, and Unica made Affinium 5 available recently.

ATG 6, which will be generally available beginning Dec. 20, is based on J2EE and supports Web services and XML, according to Scott Todaro, product marketing manager at ATG, in Cambridge, Mass.

Todaro explained what ATG believes is the distinctive quality of online CRM. “Traditional CRM enables employees to be more productive. Online CRM automates the process of dealing with customers,” Todaro said.

To achieve that, ATG 6 offers an analytics package, search technology, publishing capabilities, and integrators. The analytics package helps users track customer sessions, including site traffic, sales, and page views, to know what parts of a site work and which do not.

ATG licensed search technology form Autonomy and now includes two flavors: basic and advanced. Basic is based on keyword searches, while advanced searches can be done on natural language queries.

The publishing functionality includes a lightweight content management system, for scenarios, promotions, and publishing content on a Web site. ATG 6 also includes integrators for Documentum and Interwoven content management systems.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia, in New York, chose ATG’s suite because of its application development flexibility, which results from the platform being Java-based, said Raffaele Pisacane, vice president of Internet development at Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

“We want to create the balance between people who come looking for information and real buyers,” Pisacane said, adding that currently about 10 percent of the company’s Web site visitors come to make a purchase. “Our goal is to convert the 90 percent that come for content into buyers.”

Unica’s latest version of Affinium adds marketing content management, optimization tools, real-time queuing, and improved reports, according to Carol Meyers, vice president of marketing at Unica, in Lincoln, Mass. The marketing content management controls content creation, routing, and approval. It also hooks into other vendors’ content management systems, or sales force automation software, Meyers said.

On the direct marketing side, new Web-based optimization tools help marketers choose best scenarios for a particular customer, via administrator-set rules. For instance, IT shops could set the system to only send certain customers three promotional messages per month, so as not to agitate or drive that customer away.

What Unica touts as real-time queuing capabilities enable its software to communicate with other systems, based on events, to send out e-mail offers.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, in White Plains, N.Y., uses Unica software to streamline its batch campaign process, said John Kaufman, vice president of CRM at Starwood.

Kaufman said that one of the uses is to target customers that make reservations via phone. So when a customer reserves a hotel room by phone, that triggers Affinium to send an e-mail that lets the customer know what other offers Starwood has available. “We’ve seen click-throughs on the offers that went out be more than expected, and we were aggressive to begin with,” Kaufman said.

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