Marketers Consider Centralized Decisioning

March 22, 2010

Although only 25% of marketers currently use centralized decisioning technology, another 40% plan to, according to [pdf] a new study from marketing technology provider Unica.

“Centralized decisioning” technology coordinates outbound and inbound marketing through a single system maintaining a comprehensive contact and response history. By allowing marketers to centralize the matching of customers to marketing messages and offers, the technology is designed to make it easier to have a well-orchestrated dialogue with customers.

Total Expected Usage Equals 65%
One in four survey respondents said they currently use centralized decisioning technology. Another 23% plan to use it in the next 12 months, and 17% plan to use the technology beyond the next 12 months. Twenty percent have no plans to use centralized decisioning, and 14% don’t know or aren’t sure.


Europeans More Open Toward Centralized Decisioning
In the short term, there are no differences across geographies, but longer term, Europe is more receptive to centralized decisioning. One-quarter of European marketers plan to use centralized decisioning more than 12 months from now, compared to only 11% of North American marketers. Meanwhile, 26% of North American marketers have no plans, compared to only 13% of European marketers.


IT Issues Less Problematic than Organizational, Financial Issues
The top two barriers preventing marketers from adopting centralized decisioning technology are not being internally ready (e.g., organizational structure, corporate culture, internal processes) and financial (lack of budget).

IT-related issues only pop up in the third-most cited barrier, existing systems and data are too disparate, and fourth-most cited barrier, difficulty working with internal IT. Two other finance-related barriers, cost is too high and uncertain ROI, trail difficulty working with internal IT by two and seven percentage points, respectively.

Lack of budget, with a 76% total response rate, was selected as a barrier by almost all European respondents (86%) and on a wide basis among North America respondents (69%). Not too surprisingly, non-marketing executives see the lack of executive sponsorship as a major barrier; whereas the executives themselves don’t have this problem.

Marketers Use Offline Data
One good reason for marketers to use centralized decisioning technology is that despite the drastic shift the internet has caused in the marketing industry, most marketers still use traditional offline data in their offer decisioning, according to other results from the Unica study.

Seventy-five percent of respondents currently or plan to use offline data when making decisions about marketing offers. Rather than viewing offline and online data as competing or incompatible information streams, marketers are using them in a complementary fashion. When asked in which channel(s) they are using or plan to use offline data to make decisions, the highest percentage of respondents (72%) said email.

About the Survey: The Unica Global Marketing Survey was fielded to more than 150 online and direct marketing professionals in partnership with Salloway & Associates. Online surveys were completed in Q4 2009 within two geographic regions among Unica customers and prospective customers. North America represents respondents from the US and Canada. Europe represents respondents from 12 European countries that are large technology markets.

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