Multi-channel engagement – tools to manage…

OK, it’s been a while ago since I wrote my last blog. My apologies, it’s been busy and then you will have to set priorities. Easy as that. Anyway, here’s my next blog.

As I said in my last blog, I was supposed to find multi-channel platforms that provide means of engagement with the customer. A search in Google with the string “multi channel marketing communication platform” resulted in a tons of suggestions, of course. Just to mention a few, these were shown on the first page (Dutch Google results, I know, but nevertheless the results are more international than one would suspect):

IBM Unica
Silverpop
– Clixmaster – Web2connect (via Docufacts.nl)
Omniture-Adobe 
E-village – Clang

Other pages were either not interesting enough or just consultancy oriented. All in all I think the list of 4 is a good representation of what is available, but they do not represent of what I think should be a multi-channel communication platform. Here’s why:

1) In neither of the website or product presentations I can find anything about offline communication channels. These still exist, but seem to be forgotten (or I am not able to find information on this)
2) Some of the platforms only provide tools to publish, not to interact. So, basically these are ‘single-source’ CMS
3) Even though they are called multi-channel platforms, others only provide analytical tools or platforms that are not integrated with communication tools (but as indicated before, perhaps I missed this part of the message)
4) Another group of solution providers offer operational excellence, in other words streamline the operational processes
5) Only 1 platform (as far as I could see) provides a central database for all of your customers’ profiles and addresses and connects them together. Indeed, E-village’s Clang has created a giant step forward and is way ahead of their competitors.

I admit that at this moment it is hard to tell which platform or company meets my expectations most, but based on the information and examples provided I think IBM Unica Campaign Management comes close to what I think is a multi-channel communication (interaction wise) platform. But even their solutions do not integrate (I assume) offline communication channels, which is a pity really. Or am I too optimistic about the future of offline channels? That’s a nice subject for my next blog!

Anyway, just have a look around on the net and try to challenge what I have found. Even better, a great suggestion is absolutely welcome!!