Adobe and Salesforce steal an early lead in marketing cloud race says Forrester

Forrester Research has pegged Adobe and Salesforce as the early leaders in the emerging Marketing Cloud software suite (EMSS) space although the researchers stress that these are early days. SAS, Oracle, Teradata and IBM all get the thumbs up, but SAP and Marketo have their work cut out for them, according to the report — which rates them as contenders.

In “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q4 2014”, authors Cory Munchbach and Rustry Warner write “The enterprise marketing software market is changing fast, as CI (Customer Insight) pros need to simplify their marketing technology portfolios, integrate customer data to drive better marketing programs, and engage with customers in their moment of need.

They argue that vendors have large portfolios of point solutions but haven’t yet delivered on the promise of end-to-end integration.

According to the report, “For many years, marketing was the master of its own domain when it came to buying, implementing, and maintaining its technology, from campaign management and marketing resource management (MRM) to web and mobile analytics and cross-channel attribution solutions. In the age of the customer, the brands that thrive will focus their agenda on business technology (BT) — the technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. The BT agenda catapults enterprise marketing technology to the forefront of the CI professional’s strategy.

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Munchbach and Warner argue that the current crop of vendors are juggling Best of Breed and integration priorities, which gives rise to an obvious conflict: one necessarily comprises the other (our words, not Forrester’s). “Vendors claim to provide both category-leading point solutions and an integrated suite across their products, but they overstate how desperate marketers are to streamline their marketing technology stacks.

The report describes Adobe and Salesforce was the early pace setters, SAS Institute, Oracle, Teradata, and IBM as strong performers and SAP and Marketo as Contenders.

Among the findings for each provider:

  • Adobe Rated highly for its core service capabilities, product road map and overall vision, but it needs to improve its measurement and customer journey mapping;
  • Salesforce Strong on product vision and innovation but not especially outstanding on most capabilities, and marketers might even find it lacking in some specific functionality such as marketing resource management;
  • SAS Institute Data, campaign management MRM and analytics are key strengths but integration with other technologies needs work;
  • IBM Its historical and recent acquisitons have bought it broad capabilities but IBM’s EMSS strategy suffers from overlapping capabilities and inconsistent features across modules;
  • Oracle One of the most active vendors when it comes to adding components to its Marketing Cloud solution, Oracle has one of the largest business units dedicated to marketing technology — however the company still has a lot of work to do to tie its various acquisitons together;
  • Teradata Strong data pedigree and a broad set of offerings but faces challenges reconciling acquisitions with its own data driven CRM capabilities;
  • Marketo A marketing pure play with strong integration within its unified platform, and an excellent reputaion for customer satisfaction, but not the best bet for enterprise clients that have high-volume data and messaging needs;
  • SAP Strong in the Glass House but both the current construction of SAP’s EMSS and the messaging around it lack clarity and innovation — “ None of SAP’s customers could speak to a multiproduct implementation of the marketing solutions, and today, much of the functionality provided by the SAP EMSS offering appears hypothetical, delivered through partnership with other vendors, or planned for the future.
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