Manticore Upgrades, Scores New Clients

Online marketing optimization firm Manticore has rolled out a platform upgrade with beefed-up automated marketing capabilities and enhanced backend features.

Two clients, online appliance seller Compact Appliance and “As Seen On TV” distributor Thane International, beta-tested the new release, called Virtual Commerce Master 4.0.

The release expands the company’s proprietary Rules Engine, which delivers automated marketing and CRM offers based on user behavior. The engine has more than 1,000 “if-then” scenarios, 300 of which are new to this release. For example, if a customer abandons a shopping cart, the rules can be programmed to deliver a pop-up ad offering $5 off the purchase. Compact and Thane worked closely with Manticore in the development of additional rules for the product.

“The key challenge is whether you can do it in real time or near real time in a way that’s not intrusive,” said Eric Peterson, analyst with Jupiter Research, which shares a parent company with this publication. “I don’t want a Web site spying on me but if I abandoned a shopping cart and a few days later I got an email saying the item I left in my cart is 10 percent off, I would be much more likely to buy it.”

Manticore’s new release also includes advanced personalization features. Users can designate a given set of reports to be delivered on a single screen. Executive users can set up the system to email specific reports to them at designated intervals. Also, access control has been enhanced.

Manticore is one of a few firms besides DoubleClick to offer email distribution and analytics for online marketing optimization. Its software was built to offer email and analytics as an integrated package, which is not the case with the much larger DoubleClick.

Pricing for Virtual Commerce Master starts at $2,000 a month for 250,000 page views and 50,000 emails a month.

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