Thursday, October 28, 2010

Entiera Competes as Enterprise Marketing Management Software

Summary: Entiera has clearly positioned itself as a marketing software vendor, selling directly or through other service providers. It competes more with enterprise marketing systems like Alterian, Aprimo and Unica than with business-to-business marketing automation products like Eloqua and Marketo.

When we last saw Entiera in my July 2009 post the company was straddling the border between managing client databases and selling on-demand marketing software. Since then the company has come down firmly on the side of being a software vendor.

Entiera still hosts databases for direct clients and provides them access through its Insight marketing automation system. But it also offers Insight to agencies and other partners for resale. The system can be installed at the client or hosted at Entiera.

Insight has been completely rewritten over the past year, although the core campaign manager still works the same. Users set up campaigns by selecting segments, then linking cells to each segment, treatments to each cell, suppressions to the cells, and deduplicaton rules to the suppressions. This works well for traditional outbound and event-triggered campaigns and supports multi-step structures.

There’s a tight integration with Exact Target for email delivery but the system can also deliver messages via API calls to mobile and social media including Twitter and Facebook. Entiera currently integrates with Swyft Technology for real-time interactions and plans to add an alternative interface for interactive dialogs early next year.

(Speaking of third party integration, Entiera makes extensive use of outside technology, including the Vertica columnar database, Alteryx data integration, Jaspersoft reporting, Birst business intelligence and KXEN predictive. The company has been especially delighted with Vertica’s performance and cost-effectiveness.)

The biggest product addition since my last review is a rich set of marketing resource management features. These include planning, budgeting, and project management with detailed schedules and task tracking. All are tightly linked with campaign set-up. These features make Entiera more clearly competitive with other enterprise marketing management systems like Aprimo, Alterian and Unica, which also stress marketing administration.

Entiera also provides substantial content management, including uploads, versioning, approvals, reusable content blocks, offer management, and automated multi-variate testing. Full digital asset management is planned for next year.

Then there’s fractional response attribution. Enteria takes a sophisticated approach, reallocating credit nightly among different marketing events depending on user-assigned factors for recency, channel weight and confidence. I’ve made clear in other posts that I consider attribution based on such arbitrary assumptions to be dangerous. But I’ve no doubt that Enteria’s clients are pleased to have it available. **sigh** Fractional allocation is another common feature among enterprise marketing products.

Although Entiera is a true on-demand system, each client has a custom database. This distinguishes it from most business-to-business marketing automation systems (Eloqua, Marketo, Genius, etc.), whose clients use a standard data structure and sometimes a shared database instance. Also unlike the B2B systems, Entiera doesn’t let users build landing pages into campaigns, although it will be adding that feature next year. It does support leading scoring and CRM data synchronization.

Entiera pricing is aimed at the middle and upper ends of the market, starting around $10,000 per month. Fees can be based on database size or on message volume. Insight is currently used by about 25 clients and is resold by a number of marketing agencies.

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