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IBM Buys Marketing Automation Company Unica for $480M–More Algorithmic Marketing on the Move–Same Services Used by t

Posted Aug 13 2010 10:07am

I just took a brief look at the customer list and the AMA is listed as a client so you can see some other big names on the list as well.  The company offers somewhat image templated marketing to focus on your interests.  Best Buy is another big client touted on the site.  We know IBM is making a big move into healthcare so add on this new tool with some automated marketing and even that area will appear to be fine tuned into determining what you are looking for and how they can best market you for sales and input.

You will also find the American Cancer Society on the list too as well as several financial concerns like Goldman Sachs and some big pharma companies like Bayer on the list.  I do have to say the banking list is pretty large.  They also have a service for predictive insight which is hot today as everyone wants to figure out how to benefit from this huge electronic crystal ball via data mining to focus where their image dollars are spent. 

It’s all about those algorithms once more and a few are listed in the quote below. 

From the website:

“Marketers know that data mining and predictive modeling are powerful marketing tools that can improve the results of every marketing program.

But to put predictive models to work, many marketers must rely on trained specialists with complicated analytical tools, waiting in line for their scarce time. How can marketers get access to the power of predictive modeling without relying on these specialists?  How can they tap the power of the most sophisticated predictive algorithms, even if they have no technical or statistical training?  And even if getting an analyst's time is easy, how can marketers swiftly put predictive models in action, so they deliver value rather than simply being an intellectual exercise?”


Unica PredictiveInsight's intelligent algorithms choose the best-fitting models and input variables from hundreds of models generated automatically for the marketer’s data set.  Examples of the types of algorithms used include:

  • Logistic regression
  • Linear regression
  • Neural networks
  • CART
  • Naïve Bayes
  • K-means
  • RFM
  • Parameter optimization (exhaustive and generic search)

Obviously IBM sees value here too on wanting to know where their efforts are best spent and marketing the same to others.  We call this subsidiary watch here in knowing what is going on with corporations as a whole. 

This didn’t surprise me at all to see Blue Cross on the list as they are actively mining and finding data to work with their algorithmic behavioral underwriting procedures.  You can also see how this comes together with companies like Red Brick who use Ingenix data base information (subsidiary of United Healthcare) to also analyze and predict.  Here’s a couple links to familiarize you with the analysis process on steroids in that area since health insurance is up front in the news today. 

You can watch the video about Red Brick from the CEO below and see what this is all about on the healthcare side.  He sounds a bit scripted if you ask me but you can make your own opinion and go from there as you can see the big focus on reaching out to employers for intelligence to save costs, it is what it is. 

Wellpoint Enters Contract Agreement with Red Brick for Behavioral Underwriting

Now with the resources that IBM currently has, combined here, there’s almost not limit on how much marketing data will be collected with consumers so be aware and read up on all privacy statements.  Best Buy already does a good job with their data as I have had a package of M and M’s show up on my profile that I bought over 5 years ago so this has been a building process.  This is just a post in a day’s work for a blogger trying to generate a consumer awareness of what is going on behind the scenes that you may or may not be aware of as data mining and specific marketing intelligence continues to grow and stare you in the face every day whether it is health insurance or a visit to your favorite electronics store.  BD 

The Unica buy will strengthen IBM”s existing portfolio of software meant to “help companies automate, manage, and accelerate core business processes across marketing, demand generation, sales, order processing and fulfillment” — which includes the aforementioned Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics purchases. It will allow IBM to better help businesses predict and analyze customer tastes, and focus their marketing efforts.


The Waltham, Mass.-based Unica has more than 1,500 customers worldwide — including Best Buy, eBay, ING, and Monster. Its 500 employees will move to IBM’s Software Solutions Group, and its software will bolster IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting organization — which IBM describes as “a team of 5,000 consultants and a network of analytics solution centers” that’s backed by $11 billion in acquisition investments made over the past five years.

IBM acquires marketing automation firm Unica for $480M | VentureBeat

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