Pardon the cliché, but the ex-chief marketing officer of telecommunications vendor Avaya did a good job recently describing the “perfect storm” facing marketers. At the recent IDC Sales & Marketing Effectiveness Summit in New York, Jocelyn Attal described increased pressure to deliver sales, prospects taking longer to get off the dime, and sellers who can’t afford to keep creating and managing individual marketing campaigns.

To what I would add the fact that generic information of any kind seems to be less effective by the day. Media Analyst Screen Digest predicts that online ad spending will decline by 5 percent this year. (We won’t even talk about the outright collapse of print advertising.) Another data point: The editor of a Web –only IT trade publication recently told me that “how-to” stories (“10 Ways to Secure Your Virtual Servers”) don’t get the hits they need to justify their existence. The reason? There’s so much other free advice on such topics already on the Web, much of it from vendors in the form of white papers or Webinars.

Against this backdrop, Attal — a veteran of IBM and Novell, among other major tech players – announced JAgency which will create “Always On Lead Engines” combining social media with interactive websites, contact centers and live chat to keep prospects involved and, hopefully, buying. An IT vendor, for example, would design Web sites with personalized content, and automatically route emails from the prospect to the proper contact, and eventually to a live agent or executive. Key to the approach is continuous monitoring of the Web site, and measurement of the effectiveness of the various offers and collateral.


Fair ‘nuff. But as their Web site itself says, “Everything is in the basics” and I wonder how much and how well this “engine” will customize content for each prospect. Will the “personalization” consist of only generic content or be truly tailored to prospects at different stages in the buying cycle, in different verticals, or facing different pain points?


From my own experience I’d vote for the latter. Whoever was smart enough to give me valuable info at each point in the buying cycle would certainly get me to stick around for a sales pitch, especially for a big-ticket item. It’ll be interesting to see how JAgency provides this customization at a low-enough cost to keep it profitable.  




Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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