Jay Henderson

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Jay Henderson — the director of offering and product management for IBM Marketing Cloud — spoke to Target Marketing about cloud platforms and how IBM Marketing Cloud aims to simplify, coordinate and make marketers smarter.

It took a while for ERP (enterprise resource planning)-style solutions to really reach marketing. Companies could automate and optimize inventory, production and sales information for a couple of decades, but that kind of toolset only came to marketing during the last five to 10 years, and has only really taken off with the growth of cloud computing.

As Black Friday's importance erodes, so will some of the weekend's profits. Named events, such as Cyber Monday, mean less and less to consumers, so marketers have to scramble in all channels to compile the profit. Marketers kept brick-and-mortar stores open on Thanksgiving even as e-commerce sites stayed available 24 hours a day. "For today's shopper, every day is 'Cyber Monday,' and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season," says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a National Retail Federation statement on Sunday.

IBM reports U.S. shoppers made Cyber Monday the biggest online shopping day in history with a 20.6 percent increase in online sales, according to the latest cloud-based analytics findings from IBM. Mobile sales led the way, exceeding 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent year-over-year.

IBM reported a 19.7 percent increase in Thanksgiving Day online sales as holiday shoppers once again went online for the best deals.  This momentum set the stage for a record Black Friday with online sales growing 18.9 percent over the same period last year. This data is the result of cloud-based analytics from IBM. The biggest surge came from mobile sales which reached 25.8 percent of total online sales for Thanksgiving, and 21.8 percent for Black Friday, as consumers went from the dinner table to their tablets to lock in the best offers. In addition, IBM reported that New York City consumers led the way in Black Friday online sales followed by Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Trigger-based marketing uses individual customer behaviors and profile data to better time communications via the most appropriate channel, all within an automated system that reduces the need for marketing to manually coordinate the contact process. Unica's Jay Henderson and SunTrust's Mike Register share the following pointers on how to develop and manage a successful automated marketing program.

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