Q&A: John Squire, IBM Coremetrics chief strategy officer

John Squire, chief strategy officer with marketing technology company IBM Coremetrics, discusses IBM’s recent Commerce-as-a-Service and Social Media Marketing product launches. IBM was ranked atop Forrester Research’s Oct. 6 Web analytics Wave.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): IBM recently launched two new solutions. How do they build off of the company’s other products?

John Squire (IBM): One is around providing a broader set of analytics for larger organizations running their business on a global level. We try to provide very detailed information about products, stores, so that they get a very deep unique understanding about visitors and different business lines across a whole variety of different hierarchies. The second area is around our ability to provide a single data collection system that can now syndicate information to a broad set of partners to reduce the overall time and maintenance clients have today around instrumenting their site and working with a large number of marketing partners. There are two other pieces: one is around social media marketing in terms of combining listening technologies on social channels and also measurement of social media that pulls in on-site along with on-the-Web interactions. The last piece is around commerce-as-a-service and taking key processes in terms of commerce that have been generally available as an enterprise solution and putting them into the cloud.

DMN: What will IBM’s future product releases focus on?

Squire: Because consumers are crossing traditional channel lines we’re hearing that retailers want a consistent way to reach consumers with a message. If you look at IBM investments, such as Unica, Coremetrics, Sterling, those are focused on tying the back end of the supply chain to the last pixel when we reach the consumer.

DMN: Analytics on social seem to be stuck in the listening format. Can analytics go beyond that?

Squire: There is a place where we’ve seen a number of CPG companies or commerce companies that want to see how consumers are interacting with brand content on the actual social channels and then on Facebook and whether those consumers come to the e-commerce site and transact. Seeing a customer or visitor move from social to buying is certainly a key piece. In the social channels where you can’t see unique individuals, such as Twitter, it becomes more about what are the activities on your site that are tied to commerce. Do promotions and information about products that are being tweeted lead to a higher propensity of people coming and does that lead to sales? Is there a loud enough noise in the Twitter atmosphere to bring people into the site?

DMN: How important is it that retailers get ahead of mobile commerce and mobile payments?

Squire: If you look back two years ago, during the 2009 holiday season, mobile made up 1% of e-commerce sales in the U.S. We saw that about 4% of all sales came in from mobile in 2010. Nine percent of all online e-commerce sales are coming from mobile. During the holiday season, it’ll be around 15-16%. To do that effectively, it’s about being able to take the payment. Retailers are trying to think about how consumers will use the mobile device in the store for more product information, to interact with QR codes, to read ratings and reviews.

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