Day Software Acquisition Adds Some Marketing Features to Adobe, But Gaps Remain


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Summary: Adobe added Web content management, digital asset management and social media features to its arsenal when it purchased Day Software last month. But it still lacks key pieces of a complete marketing solution.

Last month, Adobe announced their $240 million acquisition of Web content management vendor Day Software. Adobe was already a major force in Web development through its Dreamweaver, Flash and ColdFusion products, not to mention Omniture for Web analytics. But Day fills out its line by adding enterprise-class content management, digital asset management and social (blog, Wiki, etc.) publishing. In fact, the fit is so obvious that it doesn’t seem to have generated much comment, at least among the marketing gurus I read.

But the significance to marketers may be greater than they think. Back in February, Day released its 5.3 version, which specifically aimed at letting marketers manage their Web promotions without help from technical specialists. Of course, this is a goal shared by so many vendors that it verges on cliché. In particular, it’s also one of the main benefits offered by the landing page, Web form and microsite features of marketing automation systems.

Still, as I’ve argued many times, it ultimately makes more sense for marketers to build their pages in the company’s core content management system than in separate marketing automation tools. This can only happen if the content management system provides the features that marketers need to do their jobs.

Day’s 5.3 release attempted to do this by adding targeting capabilities, including segmentation and segment-driven personalization. Segments can be based on anonymous visitor characteristics such as referring site, search keywords and geolocation; on history captured in a registered visitor’s profile; and on attributes of the pages viewed. Profiles can also be enhanced with non-Web data, such as purchase history.

As you might expect, Day does a particularly good job of tracking visitor activities within the Web site. The system uses Javascript on each page to track cursor movements and capture the details of what each visitors has looked at within the page. It can also read the visitor’s browser cache to check for visits to specified external sites, a technique that’s legal although many privacy advocates think it shouldn’t be. The system also supports multi-variate content testing, which can be related to customer segments or operate independently. Tests are judged on click-throughs, which are captured within the system.

Are these features really enough to replace a dedicated marketing automation system? Surely not: marketers still need to maintain a marketing database, send emails, respond to trigger events, score leads, and integrate with CRM. In fact, Day itself expects clients to integrate with marketing automation products for campaign execution. The system does have connectors that let marketers create their emails and Web pages within Day and use an external system to deliver them.

Day’s Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Cochrane told me yesterday that he sees marketing automation as separate from Day’s business of building “customer facing solutions”. But companies that want to integrate all their online (and ultimately offine) marketing will want to combine both sets of features. Although Adobe already owns many tools used in marketing departments, it lacks the campaign management features at the heart of marketing automation. I expect that Adobe and other major Web content management leaders will eventually acquire email and/or marketing automation vendors to fill the remaining gaps.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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