An Introduction to Campaign Management: My Story of Heartbreak and Hope

April 13, 2017 Greg Hennessy

My name is Greg Hennessy and I’m the Director of Product Strategy for Aprimo Campaign Management. I’ll be writing about campaign management for the Aprimo blog, covering the campaign management space, the benefit to marketers, best practices and more. But, before I get to that, I think the best place to start is with my own torrid love affair with campaign management. It’s a story full of ups, downs and a lot of marketing technology.

Where it all began

I started in the marketing automation industry in 1997 with marketing service provider May & Speh. I was part of the Quiddity team at May & Speh, its in-house campaign management solution. The Quiddity team, headed up by Phil Cederstrom and Jim Hannula, was ahead of our time, especially within a company that previously only wrote code in COBOL, saved to tape, and ran on a mainframe. Quiddity was true object-oriented and based on open systems, UNIX, and Oracle. The development team coded using the agile development methodology and relied on design patterns. This is where I caught the campaign management and software industry bug.

May & Speh had won too many credit card company deals and so they were acquired by Acxiom in 1998. Acxiom’s Decision Support Analysts performed a review of Quiddity and had determined it was a better product than Exchange Application’s Valex, the leader in the marketing automation industry at the time and an Acxiom partner. However, due to strategic decisions made at the very top of the Acxiom organization, Acxiom stopped development on Quiddity and signed a multi-license contract with Valex. This was my first heartbreak.

After my time at Acxiom, I moved on to Recognition Systems, a software company based out of Birmingham U.K. that developed a marketing automation application working with Tim Suther and Michael Emerson. The company was rebranded Protagona and the campaign management product named Ensemble. Ensemble competed against Unica Campaign and held its own, but eventually ran out of funds and time. Protagona was acquired by DoubleClick. Eventually the intellectual property that was Protagona (DoubleClick) Ensemble was acquired by Aprimo and still lives on today. Marketing automation is a very small world.

Post Protagona, I had stints with Alterian, which was acquired by SDL, and now spun off again as its own entity. I then transitioned to marketing automation consulting with the tech wreck of the early 90s working at both Quaero and IBM. Finally, I landed at Aprimo.

Enter Aprimo

Aprimo was a hidden gem, as it is even today. It was hidden in plain sight in Indianapolis, IN, but was quietly developing its own, cutting-edge enterprise software for an entirely new category of product called Marketing Resource Management (MRM). This was under the leadership of founders, Rob McLaughlin and Bill Godfrey.

Besides being a leader in MRM with enterprise-class marketing production workflow, marketing financial management, and marketing asset management software, Aprimo had a very strong set of multichannel campaign management capabilities. Aprimo developed a journey builder before anyone else, called Dialogue Management and a strong Lead Management application that included lead assignment and lead routing rules.

In campaign management, Aprimo rearchitected the DoubleClick Ensemble code and made it a true, thin-client browser-based application. New campaign management features were added for Context Switching (audience-level switching from individuals to households to accounts) as well as the ability to query within a campaign across multiple databases (cross database joins) to compete with Unica Campaign’s UDI. Aprimo’s Campaign Management capabilities were so strong that we were consistently winning deals against Unica. When Aprimo added Teradata database support, we were also winning deals against Teradata’s Relationship Manager, previously named Ceres when it was acquired in the late 90s by NCR. But then things changed...

History has a way of repeating itself

Unica was acquired by IBM, and soon after, Aprimo was acquired by Teradata. In the beginning, I was very hopeful that the Teradata acquisition would provide new customers and R&D support for our MRM and campaign management capabilities. Due to strategic decisions made at the very top of the Teradata organization, Teradata focused its attention and resources on its own applications or new acquisitions. Aprimo eventually was rebranded to Teradata Applications and then rebranded again to Teradata Marketing Applications. I was heartbroken again.

I then focused on what my next marketing automation company should be. Obviously, I am very into marketing automation. I chose Marketo because they are a leader in SaaS marketing automation applications and excellent brand marketers themselves. I have so much purple marketing swag now! I had the privilege of working during the crazy last year of Phil Fernandez before it was acquired by Vista Equity Partners. Marketo is a great product. They deliver on the promise of making marketing automation accessible to the average marketer.

The only thing that was missing from Marketo for me was the ability to connect directly to on-premise marketing databases. I am a data guy. Being a “data guy” goes back to my data warehousing and marketing automation days with May & Speh. Marketo, as with all marketing cloud applications, does not directly query your marketing data sources. Customer data must be brought up into the marketing cloud via API or flat file import. This customer data is stored in a predefined data model to query against for targeting and list selection.

At the time, I thought how great it would be to connect Aprimo’s ability to query and select from marketing data sources directly and bring the result sets to the marketing cloud. This capability is especially necessary for executing marketing programs for enterprises with large amounts of data – financial services, retailers, telecommunications, and hospitality. It is not feasible and efficient to carry all this customer data, including transactions, into the cloud and then keep it current and maintained in the cloud. Also, for many industries, the security exposure is too great to even consider the cloud.

Re-enter Aprimo

Back at Teradata Marketing, Teradata sold the application business to Marlin Equity. Marlin Equity made the smart move of combining Aprimo with the leader in through-channel marketing automation, Revenew. Soon after the close of the deal with Teradata and the merger with Revenew, Aprimo was relaunched and the complete product portfolio was evaluated. Yay! Aprimo is back!

Aprimo leadership recognized that Aprimo Campaign Management was still relevant and useful for a sizable number of customers. Specifically, John Stammen, the CEO, and former Aprimo SVP of Global Sales, understood the value of the Aprimo Campaign’s feature set in the market.

So, what has brought me back to Aprimo? I love campaign management and marketing automation. I love Aprimo. I love the Aprimo Campaign Management product. I can see how Aprimo Campaign Management can bridge the gap between enterprise marketing data sources that are on-premise up to the marketing cloud and I hope you will too. Be on the lookout for more from me about campaign management – coming soon! 

About the Author

Greg Hennessy

Greg has over 20 years of experience working in the marketing automation software industry in product development, marketing, and consulting roles holding positions at various companies including Aprimo, Acxiom, Alterian, Quaero, IBM, Protagona, and Marketo. He has designed and delivered marketing automation solutions for large enterprises in the financial services, insurance, healthcare, travel and hospitality, high tech, retail, and media and entertainment industries. He is currently Director of Product Strategy for Aprimo Campaign and looks forward to sharing some of his personal insights, best practices and love of marketing automation, especially Aprimo Campaign. Contact Greg at or @gvhennessycrm.

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