IBM launches yet another marketing technology tool: How Coremetrics Lifecycle helped Seton Hall remarket

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IBM might be the hungriest company in the marketing technology services industry.

Last week, IBM introduced Coremetrics Lifecycle, a product designed to provide analytics-based insight into customer acquisition and retention across email, display, search and social. In March, Big Blue launched the Smarter Commerce consulting practice to help clients automate marketing, selling and fulfillment and create global brand presences. Less than two weeks later, the Armonk, NY-based company launched two cloud-based social tools designed to help marketers gain real-time, actionable insight from data available across social media channels.

“Our clients look at different groups [of customers] and how they respond...to different marketing treatments,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM Coremetrics. “Marketers run campaigns against all customers and all customers respond in different ways. [Lifecycle] illuminates how each customer group responds to each broader marketing.”

Sounds great. But most marketing technology product releases promise the moon. In fact, you'll see certain keywords used in each and every press release. Automates. Real-time. Decisioning. Analytics.

To find out what Lifecycle is actually capable of, I spoke with Rob Brosnan, senior director of marketing strategy at Seton Hall University (SHU), which had been using Lifecycle in beta since January.

At SHU, Brosnan uses direct mail, social media, online display and email to recruit new students. Perhaps the most important marketing channel for SHU's student acquisition, said Brosnan, is paid search. Using Lifecycle, Brosnan discovered that perspective students who were already deep into the acquisition funnel continued to use search to land on SHU's Web page.

“Paid search is increasingly important,” he said. “We use it to identify people and we bring them to a landing page with custom content reflective of their search terms. We ask them to fill out a short form: name, email, and when will you enroll, what will your major be.”

But Brosnan noticed he was paying for clicks by returning prospects who were using paid search links as shortcuts rather than discovery mechanisms.

“We thought we could accept this behavior,” he said, explaining his mentality prior to the Lifecycle implementation.

But rather than sit back and pay for unnecessary clicks, Lifecycle allowed Brosnan to use search as a retargeting tool because he was able to better understand search behavior.

“Can we position some links through Google to enhance remarketing activity without costing an arm and a leg?” asked Brosnan. “You can set up a template based on visit frequency and bucket [searchers] together based on population, [such as searchers who have 10 to 20 visits]. You can configure reports to determine what were the top marketing programs. You can also look at the top pages these visitors have used depending on each visitor's frequency.”  

Brosnan said SHU could have tried to track this behavior down in other ways but "we would have just seen slices of behavior,” he said. “It wouldn't have added up to a group of people using search to enhance their relationship with Seton Hall. Not being able to see all these dots lined up means I wasn't seeing the true media mix throughout the life cycle. Until you see how people use search for every cycle transition it doesn't really come home.”  

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