Year-End Intelligence

There’s always an aphorism about Santa, stockings and year-end funding news, but I am tired of them so I’ll let you imagine one. However, the funding news is so good from so many sources that I thought it worthwhile to mention a few items — there are patterns emerging.

First, Salesforce bought MinHash, according to news reports. That’s not a funding event proper, but it does provide some modicum of cash to the founders, who henceforth will be Salesforce employees. They presumably will enjoy the holidays.

MinHash is an analytics play that evaluates customer data from multiple sources and makes recommendations to marketers. It sounds simple and like it’s been done already, but that’s fine. The deal shows how analytics continues to be a front-burner issue.

The 80/20 Rule

Second, and also in the area of analytics, Full Circle Insights announced a US$4.7 million funding round that — as is typical — will give the company more support to build out the organization, especially sales and marketing, and to continue raising money.

Full Circle offers marketing performance analytics that can help organizations understand their best programs and pitches, as well as their worst. Users are then able to do more of one and less of the other.

The old saying that a marketer knows that half the marketing budget is wasted but is unsure of which half is no longer operative.

The 80/20 rule should obtain now, CEO Bonnie Crater told me, and programs that don’t work should be the B in an A/B test. Technically that means that none of the budget is wasted, since a negative result still provides the experimenter with important information.

The Primate Factor

Third, take a look at Pramata, which my spell checker just changed to “primate.” Hmmmm. Pramata digs through an organization’s customer data, specifically billing system data and contracts to identify milestones of relationships: effective discounts, key dates and triggers; what customers agreed to purchase; and a lot more.

With Pramata, vendors develop intelligence about customers so that they can know next moves in relationships. We apply a lot of thought and products to sales and marketing for net new customers, and it’s very nice to see a vendor focusing on the customer base for a change.

So, here we have three types of intelligence spanning the customer lifecycle from earliest contact to optimizing and extending relationships. With these markers, it’s easy to see that analytics and big data are not simply ideas that big vendors own exclusively.

More importantly, it’s easy to see how analytics is percolating through business to provide insights to various groups in the enterprise. Also, note how important it is that these tools be able to present their results to humans — aka “primates” — who can do something with it.

The more intelligent our systems become, the more they need us.

Denis Pombriant

Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry researcher, writer and speaker. His new book, Solve for the Customer, is now available on Amazon. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on Google+.

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