CATEGORY: Analytic Applications

REVIEWER: Elissa Fink, director of corporate marketing for TopTier Software.

PLATFORMS: Aprimo is hosting Aprimo Marketing 3.5 for TopTier Software. The hosting environment includes a SQL Server database, and TopTier is accessing the application via Internet Explorer 5.0.

BACKGROUND: TopTier Software, Inc. develops e-business portal technologies and products that integrate information residing in a company's internal and external enterprise applications, databases, documents, Web sites and other data sources. TopTier's products are designed to enable an extended enterprise of employees, suppliers, business partners and customers to directly access, navigate and manipulate integrated information using an intuitive and effective portal interface. With TopTier's technology, organizations can create collaborative advantages for their enterprise by driving a real-time, frictionless flow of information between employees, partners and customers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: TopTier's marketing department manages numerous activities including Web site maintenance, direct marketing, trade shows, collateral materials, integrated direct mail/Web site promotions and public relations. Before Aprimo Marketing, we managed these critical, multistep activities manually via spreadsheets, calendars and Microsoft Word documents. There was minimal collaboration, making the planning, execution and analysis of these activities cumbersome and awkward. Our efforts to launch e-mail and direct mail campaigns were especially difficult. We needed an automated campaign management system to execute and track these campaigns rapidly, while allowing us to eliminate duplicate efforts, become more proactive and identify successful initiatives. We looked for a solution to help shorten our decision cycles and increase our ability to execute highly sophisticated, multistep campaigns in a much shorter time frame.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We utilize Aprimo Marketing for all stages of our marketing process. With it, we move from planning to execution rapidly ­ significantly shortening lag time between "let's do it" and "it's done." For example, before Aprimo Marketing, we utilized a combination of systems that issued CDs to prospects in three to 14 days via our Web site. With Aprimo Marketing, TopTier reliably distributes CDs within six hours of the initial request, resulting in increased productivity, more satisfied prospects and faster revenue conversion. We now rely on Aprimo Marketing to successfully manage many other marketing efforts. Because the solution includes powerful campaign management tools for our one-to-one marketing campaigns and automated workflows, we are implementing several additional automated interactions to continue our emphasis on campaign management.

STRENGTHS: With Aprimo Marketing, we can comprehensively view our marketing activities. For example, we can: define and organize marketing objectives and appropriately assign corresponding strategies and tactics; automate one-to-one marketing activities with robust campaign management tools; utilize a Web-based review process for activities and view each reviewer's comments in a single location; dynamically profile and segment prospects and customer data; create, manage and analyze campaigns in real time and easily update campaign recipient lists; allocate personnel more effectively; and automatically generate marketing calendars for detailed project management. We also will take full advantage of Aprimo Marketing's ability to analyze campaigns.

WEAKNESSES: Although the application enables the user to attach files, the user must have the native applications to view any attachments.

SELECTION CRITERIA: TopTier chose Aprimo Marketing because it was a two-for-one winner, providing both campaign management and marketing operations management. As a rapidly growing company, we realized we could not afford to manage marketing initiatives in an ad hoc manner. With Aprimo Marketing, we track every activity in our department in real time from start to finish.

DELIVERABLES: With the click of a button we generate a marketing calendar that displays all our activities. Because it is derived, no maintenance is involved. Project management lists easily capture the critical tasks of our complex activities. With the use of templates, we apply best practices, making our planning and execution efforts more efficient. Aprimo Marketing's reporting structure gives us better control of budgets. We now have visibility into budgets vs. forecasts vs. actual expenses, all from a single report.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The best part of working with Aprimo is their team. They are friendly, knowledgeable, responsive and reliable.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided with Aprimo Marketing is comprehensive and straightforward.

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