Marathon Innovations Inc. next week will announce a new marketing automation product aimed at bringing order and efficiency to creating and approving marketing materials.
Marathon's SmartPath MAS (marketing automation software) is intended to help marketing departments produce materials such as brochures, marketing collateral, advertisements, and Web sites. It uses a set of workflows to move the project among editorial, production, executives, and outside agencies.
The technology adds order to a process that has been chaotic at best, says VF Corp., a clothing manufacturer in Wyomissing, Pa., that owns such brands as Lee Jeans, Wrangler, and Playtex. The company is deploying SmartPath to help it automate Web site creation and the production of other documents to give users a standardized process and help them track photos, text, and approvals necessary for the project. "Having all of these things literally at your fingertips on your desktop is a huge benefit," says Amy Robinson, E-commerce manager for VF's IT division. "We're not running around looking for missing photos or papers." SmartPath has helped VF reduce its production cycle time by 40%, which leads to a corresponding cost savings.
Analysts say such technology can bring structure to an area of business that needs it, but add that it's difficult to automate the creative process. "Too much automation can kill creativity," says Joshua Greenbaum, president of Enterprise Applications Consulting Inc.
SmartPath is available immediately, starting at $125,000 for 50 users, training, and a year's maintenance.