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Sybase’s marketing executions balloon after deploying Web-based service

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In 2003, when Amede Hungerford arrived at Sybase Inc., the database company was using an underpowered e-mail system to send marketing messages to customers and prospects.

“We were using an in-house-built system that was very rigid and inflexible,” said Hungerford, senior director of Americas marketing at Sybase. (The system predated Hungerford’s arrival at the company five ago.)

“We weren’t able to update new functionality that was being made available through new tools in the market,” Hungerford said.

Some of the new functionalities Hungerford wanted were a way to integrate the marketing database with salesforce.com’s sales force automation application as well as to manage accounts on a global scale.

In 2004, Hungerford and his team began evaluating vendors. After two months of searching, they found the Eloqua Conversion Suite, a Web-based service from Eloqua Corp. that automates marketing campaigns across such channels as e-mail, direct mail, chat and the Web, and notifies the sales team about hot prospects. Eloqua claims 450 companies as customers and 10,000 users.

“We are able to do small, targeted campaigns and large, integrated marketing campaigns,” Hungerford said. “We do both, and it really gives us flexibility to do a lot and frequently.” The system allowed Hungerford to see e-mail bounce-backs and test campaigns for effectiveness.

Beyond allowing Hungerford and his team to track responses to campaigns, the service lets them determine which campaign prospects are responding to. For example, the system makes it easy for the marketing team to use different e-mail subject lines within a campaign and test each before a live launch. That enabled the team both to measure campaign effectiveness and analyze customer behavior.

Hungerford said the services also gave the sales team insight into which campaign was generating more leads and responses.

“It helped us in building a closer relationship with the sales team,” he said, adding that is now “a fact-based relationship.”

For instance, instead of generating 200 individual e-mails, the personalization capability of the Eloqua service allows Hungerford to generate one e-mail campaign while retaining the same level of personalization.

Hungerford said the service has helped reduce campaign execution time by at least 50%, which he called a “conservative” estimate. Moreover, the new approach has compressed the time it takes to pull together a campaign from weeks to “a matter of days.”

In 2006, after a year and a half using the Eloqua Conversion Suite, Sybase adopted it worldwide as its corporate marketing platform. The service has now been deployed in 22 countries and is used by 65 Sybase marketers.

Since implementing the service on a corporate level, Sybase has quadrupled the number of marketing campaigns it uses per month, Hungerford said.

The company now counts 86 active marketing campaigns per month compared to 40 per month last year.

Online event attendance has also seen a surge of at least 50%.

“Instead of getting five to 10 attendees, you get 50 to 100 attendees,” Hungerford said. The increase has led Sybase to make online events available on demand to reach a larger audience.

“[Eloqua] helps us not only with one-time online events when they are live,” he said, “but it helps us with this Web seminar on a ongoing basis as we continue to use it as a marketing asset.”

In addition, Hungerford said the company’s database of prospects grew so substantially with Eloqua that Sybase began using its own data management solution to do trend and effectiveness analysis. While Hungerford declined to specify the size of the Sybase database integrated with the Eloqua system, he would say it has increased by at least “tenfold” since implementing Eloqua Conversion Suite four years ago.

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