Start-ups try to close loop in measuring effectiveness

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In an attempt to help advertisers measure the effectiveness of online campaigns, two new companies this week announce products they say will close the loop on Internet marketing.

MEASURING LIFETIME VALUE

San Diego start-up Straight Up software launches its Straight Up marketing analysis tool, which it says accurately measures Internet advertising sales, post sales, total net worth of campaigns and a campaign's lifetime value.

The solution, which is mainly geared toward electronic commerce companies and ad agencies with e-commerce clients, requires software installation on the Web site's server, but all tracking and reporting information resides on Straight Up's password-protected server.

INTERFACING WITH OTHER SYSTEMS

The product interfaces with third-party ad-serving software systems, such as those offered by AdKnowledge and AdForce.

However, what distinguishes Straight Up from its competition, said VP-Marketing Chris D'Eon, is its ability to track not only impressions and click-throughs, but actual sales, repeat customers and the cost of acquiring new customers.

It does this through interfacing with the client's back-end databases, which store post-sales information such as items returned.

"Ours is the only technology that can do that," said Mr. D'Eon.

However, Evan Neufeld, senior analyst at Jupiter Communications, was skeptical.

"There are a lot of players announcing initiatives in this space," said Mr. Neufeld. "Straight Up, along with other traffic analysis solutions, [is] playing to the cry of advertisers and they are really not offering anything new or particular.

"They are simply productizing the traffic analysis solution and making it more distinct."

IMPLEMENTING MULTIPLE CAMPAIGNS

Another company trying to find its distinct spot in this ever-crowded marketing space is Annuncio Software, Los Altos, Calif. It launches this week with the hope of facilitating the online marketing process.

Its Annuncio Live server solution, due to ship in the first quarter of 1999, is a high-end marketing campaign management tool that develops and implements a variety of campaigns, tracks their performance, keeps a database of customer profiles and integrates with other servers, including third-party ad-serving software.

"Our system is really flexible," said Monica Nester, senior VP-marketing for Annuncio. "It can manage and implement all kinds of campaigns from customer acquisition, development and retention to focusing on supporting channel and partner management and development."

CLOSING THE LOOP

Annuncio is positioning its product as a one-stop shop for any online marketing company. Campaigns take an idea from conception to completion; and they are integrated with e-commerce tools, personalization software, sales automation tools and other systems, although Annuncio doesn't track and analyze actual sales on its own.

"The biggest challenge for marketers is closing the loop and this is something Annuncio has worked really hard on," said Bob Chatham, senior analyst at Forrester Research. "I think they've got an incredible solution for accomplishing that for campaigns that are Web-based and for those that are integrated with other types of media also."

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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