Coremetrics Offers a Foggy View of Lifecycle Analysis


Share on LinkedIn

I stumbled over an Adexchanger interview yesterday with John Squire, the Chief Strategy Officer of IBM Coremetrics. It first caught my eye because the headline read “IBM’s Vision for the Marketer”, which is always a topic of interest. Then I noticed it was touting new reporting feature called Coremetrics Lifecycle, which the company describes as “the industry’s first application geared to enable online marketers to track and understand how customers progress through long-term conversion lifecycles.”

This was intriguing. On one hand, I’ve seen plenty of systems that track customers through the buying process, including Eloqua, Marketo, Leadformix, Clear Saleing, C3 Metrics, and Encore Media Metrics. So the claim to be first is questionable. But, on the other hand, seeing another vendor offer this sort of analysis reinforces the importance of the concept.

But a closer look at Lifecycle itself was disappointing. The product does allow tracking of individual Web site visitors over time, which is the foundation of lifecycle analysis. But, in my opinion, a lifecycle tracking system reports on movement of customers across stages within the lifecycle. That is, it shows conversions from one stage to the next. This implies reports that show the previous stages of customers who enter a new stage (“where they came from”), and show the destinations of customers who leave a stage (“where they went”). These are typically represented as a matrix showing all combinations of previous and current stages, or a flow chart that highlights the most common before-and-after pairs.

Lifecycle does none of this. Rather, it lets users define any number of segmentation schemes and count the number of customers in each segment. It does report how many customers entered each segment during a specified time period, but not where they came from. In fact, there is no requirement for a logical progression from one segment to the next, which to me is what a lifecycle implies.

Lifecycle has some other useful features. It can report on the most common marketing treatments received by people who moved into a segment, giving some insight into treatment effectiveness. It calculates the average number of days and Web sessions that customers spend in a segment, which is a limited velocity measure. It also lets users select segment members and send them messages through Coremetrics’ products for email, display ad retargeting, and Web site personalization, although it’s not clear the process can be automated.

But a proper lifecycle analysis tool would go much further. It would calculate the end-to-end completion rates, show the drop-off from one stage to the next, estimate the incremental impact of specific treatments, project future segment counts, and show changes in these measures over time. So while I’m pleased that Coremetrics is promoting the concept of lifecycle analysis, I’m disappointed that its product doesn’t deliver a real lifecycle measurement solution.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here