IBM launches 'Smarter Commerce' marketing consulting practice

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IBM launched a consulting practice on March 14 to help clients automate marketing, selling and fulfillment and create global brand presences. The Armonk, NY-based company created the “Smarter Commerce” initiative to help companies adapt across their entire enterprise to customer demands in a digital marketplace, said Craig Hayman, GM of the industry solutions group at IBM.

“Done well, marketing is a service and not an intrusion,” he said. “We all know how we feel when we receive text messages that are unwanted. When someone is able to reach us when we're interested, we view it as more of a service.”

IBM said it will offer brands cloud analytics software for monitoring their presences across social media channels, as well as software for automating design and delivery of personalized shopping experiences, campaigns and promotions. The “Smarter Commerce” initiative will also provide educational resources to IBM clients.

The initiative will lead to “greater customer loyalty, revenue and margin growth, and agility” for marketers, said Hayman.  

IBM has allocated nearly 2,500 employees and more than $2.5 billion to its marketing services initiatives, the company said. The consulting practice is an extension of the $14 billion in business analytics acquisitions IBM has made in recent years, including its purchases of Sterling Commerce, Unica and Coremetrics. Hayman added that IBM completed its integration of the three companies on March 14, as well.

“Smarter Commerce” will be an additional service available to IBM's more than 2,000 marketing clients, including Staples and 1-800-FLOWERS.

“Any market where people talk about how much they spend, rather than the outcome, will always go through transformative change,” said Hayman. “Marketers are increasingly talking about the outcome of their campaigns rather than how much money they spend on them. Marketers need to be more efficient and [Smarter Commerce] will help them achieve this.”

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