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Software firm targets marketing departments

Start-up MarketFirst is set to announce what it calls the first enterprise software for conducting and coordinating corporate marketing campaigns.

A start-up company called MarketFirst tomorrow expects to announce what it calls the first enterprise software for conducting and coordinating corporate marketing campaigns.

MarketFirst 1.0 is designed to facilitate the planning stages of marketing activities, to automate marketing processes, and to create databases of marketing information that can be reused in later campaigns.

"Marketing departments today are being deluged with requests for information via the Web but also for marketing communications from other audiences," said Jane Beule, MarketFirst's vice president of marketing. "Most marketing departments spend most of their time attending to the operational elements."

The company's goal is to let marketing professionals in large organizations focus on marketing plans, programs, and strategies, not operational aspects of their positions.

The software encompasses interactive and Web-based marketing efforts but works in multiple media, seeking to integrate Web or email aspects into the marketing mix. It aims to automate such tasks as managing responses, qualifying leads, and arranging logistical aspects of events.

Beta customer Ernst & Young, for example, used MarketFirst's software for automated seminar management. The software sent targeted email messages to potential attendees, allowing them to register by return email or on a Web site. The software sent confirmation email messages, then reminders the day before the event, all without a human being writing or sending the messages.

MarketFirst version 1.0 is due for release this month and carries an enterprise-wide price tag: $195,000 for an unlimited site license, with lower rates on additional licenses for companies that want to use the software at more than one location.