When I reviewed Right On Interactive in a July 2009 post, the company was selling its 5Buckets marketing software as a multi-channel output generation tool that complemented conventional marketing automation systems. Since then, Right On has expanded its functions, dropped the 5Buckets name, and repositioned itself as a marketing automation alternative focused on “customer lifecycle marketing”. It’s tempting to discuss the business strategy behind this, but I assume that you Dear Reader are a marketer and therefore it's not your problem So let’s look at what the system actually does.
We'll start with the standard marketing automation functions. These are what you need if Right On is really to substitute for one of the better-known products:
- data management: Right On can import files from any source, placing the data into standard structures or custom tables. Users can link the imported data to any other table, allowing complex data structures. They can also load data to the system API. This is more powerful than many marketing automation products, which are largely limited to a company, contact and activity history files.
- segmentation: users can define segments using a step-by-step query builder or by writing SQL. The query builder supports complex relationships. This is competitive with or better than standard marketing automation systems.
- campaign design: users can define campaigns with multiple “tactics” . Each tactic has its own action, schedule, metrics, documents, and start and end dates. Contacts can enter a tactic from an assigned segment or flow from a previous tactic based on their response and a user-specified waiting period. These features let Right On support multi-step campaigns although complex designs would be a challenge.
- create emails and forms: Right On uses ExactTarget for email and form creation. The integration is fairly smooth since the editing features are accessed within the Right On interface. A native solution is under development but the current approach should work for unless you have a particular aversion to ExactTarget.
- campaign actions: each tactic can execute one action. These include sending an email via Salesforce.com or ExactTarget, creating a Salesforce.com task, generating an output file, and sending emails to Foursquare friends. This covers the basic needs, although most other products also offer options such as changing data and adding a contact to a list or campaign.
- CRM integration: Right On can synchronize data with Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM on a regular basis. It can also pull file segments and Salesforce.com campaign members as lists. This makes it roughly equivalent to other products. Right On also has a connector with location-based social network Foursquare.
- campaign reporting: users can manually enter campaign costs, target revenue, and actual revenue. The system will capture responses and use the results for response reporting, cost per response and return on investment. This is pretty standard stuff, although many other systems can also import opportunity revenue automatically from Salesforce.com – a feature still in Right On’s future.
- lead scoring: users can define separate scores for customer fit and activities. Customer fit is based on static attributes such as title while activity score is based on events such as email opens or Twitter posts. There’s also an engagement index that compares the actual activity score with the maximum possible score had the contact responded to every promotion. The scoring rules are built in the usual fashion, by assigning to points to different attribute values or different events, although the interface is nicer than most. Contacts are rescored nightly. The scores are stored on the customer record and can trigger an action to send the contact to Salesforce.com. This is on par with other products.
What that means in practice is users can assign contacts to lifecycle stages. This lets the system track contacts as they move through the buying, on-boarding and retention processes. Specifically, it generates reports on the number of contacts in each stage, stage-to-stage conversion rates, and average time spent in each stage. It stores each contact’s stage and score histories so it can report on trends in these metrics as well.
Digging a bit deeper: users define the stages by creating segmentation rules similar to standard queries. The system checks each contact against the rules, assigning the contact to the latest stage for which they qualify. The actual stages can be whatever the user wants. Right On's default set holds two lead stages (investigate and evaluate) and two customer stages (value and advocate).
But there's more. Right On creates scatter plots of contacts in each stage, using customer fit and activity scores as dimensions. The resulting “lifecycle map” is a graphic representation of the shape and quality of the company's contact inventories. The plots are interactive: users can select a group on the plot to create a new segment and can drill down to see the details of the individual contacts. They can view reports and maps for all contacts or selected segments.
Right On recognizes that its data could be used to project future business and to correlate stage changes with marketing campaigns, although it hasn’t yet built these features. Once it does, the system will go a long way to providing the stage-based marketing measurement that I’ve been arguing marketers really need. (You can also view my Marketo-sponsored Webinar on the topic.)
So where does this leave us?
I’m lukewarm about Right On as a primary marketing automation system but see great value in its lifecycle reporting. Pricing is relatively modest – starting at just under $1,700 per month for up to 50,000 contacts – so larger firms may be able to use both Right On and a conventional marketing automation product. Smaller companies will probably have to choose one or the other.