Marketing and Intelligence, Together at Last

  • Written By:
  • Published:

Marketing and Intelligence, Together at Last
D. Geller - August 1, 2000

Event Summary

Angara offers an ASP-based service for targeting web site content to unidentified visitors (see article, "Getting Strangers to Take Your Candy"). The company buys online profile data from other websites. These are data that users agree to provide in exchange for receiving newsletters or other offers or are captured from clickstreams by online advertising networks such as MatchLogic.

By arrangement with the websites Angara gets to drop a cookie - but not any data that might identify the user as an individual. When the user later visits an Angara customer, Angara can provide segmentation information such as age, sex, or geographic region. The customer's website uses the segmentation information to serve targeted content to the visitor.

In the case of data from ad agencies, Angara is given access to the cookies dropped by the agencies. In both cases the data only identify broad characteristics of the user, such as sex, interests and responses to categories of advertising. The goal is to make first time visitors more likely to make purchases or return to the site.

Net Perceptions specializes in analysis of existing customers. The company sifts through data on the viewing and purchasing behavior of shoppers and uses its conclusions to make recommendations for personalized offers and targeted ads. Net Perceptions has chosen Angara to complement its own offerings in its new ASP offering, called the Net Perceptions Personalization Network.

The Personalization Network will offer four "channels," each driven from databases compiled by the network:

  • The Intelligence Channel provides analytic tools to let companies understand their website visitors.

  • The Recommendation Channel makes recommendations for cross-sells and up-sells based on the behavior of previous visitors.

  • The Customer Acquisition Channel uses Angara's Converter product to target content to first-time visitors.

  • The E-Mail Channel, a strategic partnership with Xchange, Inc., provides clients with the ability to design and target consumer emails.

Market Impact

The move by eCRM firms to embrace ASP offerings is accelerating. In Angara's case an ASP model is a necessity because of the dependence of their solution upon the data they collect. Net Perceptions is one of the very first to move an existing, successful suite to an ASP model. We expect that this will encourage the expansion of the market.

One thing that could hurt this market in the future is a privacy scare. Angara has a good privacy model in that they never get to see information that identifies individuals. One might argue that opting in to receive promotions does not necessarily mean that you want to be identified to a service that tells websites how to serve content to you, but given that the Web is supported by advertising this seems to us like a minimal intrusion, if it is one at all.

Net Perceptions takes no responsibility for the use its customers make of their data; its official policy is "Net Perceptions encourages all of its customers to adopt privacy standards of their own and make those standards freely accessible." We haven't yet seen a privacy policy for the ASP service. We believe that it should contain provisions that each ASP customer's data will be kept isolated from all the other customers, and that data collected through Net Perceptions' applications not become part of the Angara database.

We don't see data merging of this type to be a priori improper - that would depend on the mechanics - but we feel certain that it would ignite the concerns of privacy advocates and the public. Angara assures us that there are in fact no plans for any such data merging.

User Recommendations

For a small or mid-sized business an ASP solution can be a good way to find out what various forms of eCRM can accomplish. First, we always urge that companies moving into eCRM do some baseline studies so that they can evaluate the actual improvement due to the new technology. (See "Predictive Product Keeps Debtors' Prison Empty")

Also, be aware that it isn't a trivial task, even with an ASP model, to get personalization up and running. It could require major redesign of your website to be able to make use of the information that these products can deliver. Make sure you get an up-front estimate of the work involved and a firm limit on what consulting services from the vendor will cost.

comments powered by Disqus