Marketing, traditionally considered as a creative discipline, intuitive, even far-fetched, is being rationalized more and more: intuition is losing ground in favor of an ever more sophisticated treatment of information. Statistics have been used for years (purchasing behavior, demography …) to build marketing strategies. It is now necessary to integrate a host of other information, much less easy to quantify: the customer complaint call, the “feeling” of the commercial who went to test the ground during the launch period, etc.
It is to answer these questions that marketing decision support software is multiplying. From a single-person company to a multinational company, everyone must be able to “think about marketing” thanks to an offer that is so wide that it becomes particularly difficult to navigate. Two specialized Trade Shows, e-decisions and MVI pro-com, have just been held at the Defense. Focused on business intelligence and customer relationship management, they represented an opportunity for IT service companies and software publishers to demonstrate the excellence of their products, with testimonials from customers in hand. It must be said that the prospects on the French market justify some efforts: according to the firm Pierre Audoin Conseil,
Verifying the effectiveness of an action
Epicor, a specialized software publisher, is coming out in France today as a tool that clearly belongs to the second category. Called Clientele, this software ” avoids that your accounting department does not tance a customer for a delinquency of 10,000 francs, at the very moment when this customer passes a contract of several million with another of your services,” summarizes Alain Gauthier, Director of Epicor Continental Europe. It is, in short, to connect the sellers, the department that manages the order and production, billing, and after-sales. All these services once connected, the customer’s request could be taken into account more effectively: the whole of the To the R & D department, who could be informed in real time of all customer observations.
” It also allows to verify the effectiveness of an action, insists Alain Gauthier . If a customer responds, for example, to a mailing, I can enter it into my system, and check, month after month, how effective are the different components of my marketing program, and see which ones, for more frequently at a firm sale. “
Other software, such as Board, designed by Swiss publisher Orenburg, aims to become “intelligence management tools”. Philippe Gall, marketing manager of Novartis Agro for Europe, and Board user, says “the ability to track our sales in real time allows us to make our marketing much more responsive, to see a trend emerge. In total, our market share increased from 12% to 14%, thanks in particular to an improved segmentation of our customers, who are our distributors. Board allows us to know which are the most active, the most established in their area, and determine, for example, which to choose to launch a novelty, which will be better indicated to strengthen our market share on an existing product … “
Eventually everything will be integrated
For their part, software “data mining”, those who can analyze and draw conclusions from the most diverse databases, progress each year. ” With a name, a first name and an address, we can, without much risk of error, deduce a lot of very interesting information for applications in direct marketing, explains Thierry Vallaud, Group D.We can program the software so that it crosses between them a large number of variables: to know how many people live at the same address, and to deduce the type of habitat in which the customer lives. Know what types of business are in this area … We can then determine a wealth index, which allows to know which mailings will be most effective. “
Always more sophisticated, some software offers to perform operations typically “human”, such as … the construction of a marketing strategy. Business Insight, co-published by Business Software & Consulting, is the only tool to help develop and validate marketing strategies. ” The idea is to validate all aspects of a strategy ,” explains Thierry Bayon, director of Business Software & Consulting. We describe our action plan by answering a series of questions posed by the software, then we answer additional questions about the market, the competition, the target envisaged. The software can then deliver its verdict as to the strategy envisaged,. The user even has a function to predict the impact of certain unfortunate events, such as the emergence of a new technology or the arrival of a new entrant on the market.
Ultimately, all software companies say it will be integrated: databases and marketing strategies, customer relationships and new product launches … Although some technical problems still arise, the future is “all-in”. -un “… and ease of use. IT departments, generally buyers of these programs, want non-specialists to be able to fend for themselves, to be able to concentrate on other tasks (maintenance, changeover to the euro, etc.). ” But you have to recognize its limits,” insists Thierry Vallaud.A misused decision-support software, by someone who can no longer follow what his software does, can lead to serious errors. And, the more we work to integrate everything, the greater the risk of error will become important.