Alterian`s Ultimate Goals for Alchemy
Yesterday, we spoke with Brian Sprik, Product Marketing Manager for Engagement and Analytic Products at Alterian. He spoke about Alchemy as a framework, not a platform. As a framework it does include a couple of native applications/modules (like the new Engagement Analytics and Engagement Manager), but has been designed to integrate other applications and modules from outside, such as Web CMS, Social Media, Email and traditional print channels.
So while it's a new framework, Alterian hasn't gone away and re-invented the marketing wheel, they have leveraged existing systems, bringing them into a single environment from which a marketer can management the complete customer experience. Note that complete experience includes both online and offline channels.
Alchemy is designed to provide a user experience for marketers that is intuitive, no matter what level of interaction they are at. So there are interfaces for the power user right up to management who only want simple dashboards and reports. The framework is built on Silverlight, which provides a really nice experience on almost every browser and OS. The look and feel is very familiar to Windows users, including the now well known ribbon toolbar.
At the heart of Alchemy is analytics, something Sprik said Alterian wanted to continue to focus on. That makes senses, because without analytics, how do you know who your customers and prospects are and what they are doing/want to do?
Alchemy enables you to bring all your data together under one roof, in real-time, including data from analytics, campaigns and other business systems. Having it all in one location allows you to explore the data in many ways, creating queries, running reports and in the future doing predictive modeling.
Engagement Analytics - Segments
One new feature included with Engagement Analytics is the ability to create Query Forms for casual users. These forms are set up like questionnaires, allowing users to select the criteria to run analysis and segmentation against. The forms can also be included at the top of dashboards, enabling the dashboard to adjust based on selections in the form.
Engagement Analytics - Query Form
The Engagement Manager provides a one-stop location to set up and manage an end-to-end cross channel engagement. This includes activities that can span the website, social media sites, email and print marketing.
Typically a marketer finds themselves going back and forth between applications and systems setting up cross-channel engagement activities. With Alchemy, All activities can be managed directly within the Engagement Manager, including making changes to the content management system, changing creative and creating emails or surveys.
Engagement Manager - Campaign Overview
You've heard this story before: customers have evolved and have become much more demanding and savvy. They expect organizations to recognize them across the different channels in which they choose to interact. They also expect that organizations remember them, their likes, etc.. They can also change their patterns in a heart-beat.
As a result, today's marketers need the right tools to help them build engaging experiences for their customers. Alchemy does offers all the right capabilities in a neat little package. Obviously it will work best integrating with the other Alterian solutions, like its Web CMS and Social Media solution, but it can also integrate with other content management systems, so you aren't locked into a single vendor.
I think this is an approach that a number of vendors have recognized and are working towards. Depending on their backgrounds, their strengths may lie in one area or another.
While the solution may seam obvious, organizations still need to understand what they need to be doing to engage with their customers (their strategy). They also need the right skills and business processes in place. Alchemy may be a marketers dream, but making it the marketers reality could take some work.
The official launch is today in the US, Alchemy is still in beta and will be until January 2011 when it will be offered in limited release. General availability is expected in March.