Blue Martini stirs up new mix

Blue Martini Software Inc., known for its signature e-commerce catalog software, is now serving up a different mix: software tools for managing e-mail advertising campaigns and analyzing sales data from Web and in-store sales.

Blue Martini next month plans to ship Blue Martini Marketing server software for Windows NT or Unix servers. The tools will let users organize customer data by extracting it from Oracle Corp. or SQL Server databases to issue reports such as customer demographics or item preferences.

The software will bring Blue Martini into competition with two other relative newcomers, E.piphany Inc. and Broadbase Software Inc., which sell their own brands of customer relationship management (CRM) tools for e-commerce. The "eCRM" focus is fuelling the growth in what market analysts call marketing automation software, which according to research firm IDC, stood at US$613 million a year ago but is expected to reach $3 billion by 2004.

The Blue Martini online analytical processing tools (OLAP) tools not only retrieve information from Blue Martini databases, but also combine data from other e-commerce applications, including BroadVision's One-to-One and Siebel's Call Center applications.

"Marketing organizations can combine data from these sources and with data analysis manage an outbound e-mail campaign to target a message to a buyer," says Michele de Haaff, senior product manager at Blue Martini.

Gymboree, which sells children clothing in stores and through its Web site - which is based on the Blue Martini e-catalog software - just started testing the Blue Martini Marketing tools "We tried the e-mail campaign tool so we could send out e-mail on sales on children's clothing to households with children in the right age group," says Susan Neal, Gymboree's vice president of business development. "That's the only one we've done so far. But for data mining purposes, we expect to be able to combine the Blue Martini customer data from the Web with information about sales from our store point-of-sale devices," Neal adds.

The Blue Martini Marketing tools, which start at $250,000, do work by means of a Web browser. But proprietary Blue Martini client software that comes with the package allows for more in-depth data-mining capability than a simple browser.

"Typical marketing people would use the browser to find information they need, while the proprietary client would be for the data-mining experts focused on more in-depth reports," says Blue Martini's de Haaff.

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