Unlike other technology markets right now, the Marketing Resource Management (MRM) space is dynamically changing. "Interestingly enough, the market grew quite healthily in 2008," says Gartner analyst Kimberly Collins and author of the 2009 Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management. "In a tough economy, MRM is one of the definite areas you want to invest in. Surprisingly, companies are recognizing this and making investments." Collins points out that there were quite a few changes on the quadrant this year -- notably, a new entrant on the leaderboard, a few yet-to-be-seen niche players, and several drop-offs.
Despite the economy, Assetlink was promoted to Leader this year, after what Collins calls the company's "strongest year to date." The vendor joins veterans Aprimo and Unica for top honors. Although Collins says she thinks they will be able to pick back up in 2010, a handful of vendors were dropped from the quadrant for failing to meet Gartner's minimum requirements. Those vendors include Marketingisland, Oracle-PeopleSoft and Xeed. On the flip side, BrandMaker, Saepio Technologies, and VYRE were added this year. The report points out that larger vendors such as Infor and Teradata and Sweden-based BrandSystems have been making a splash in their commitment to MRM, but have yet to meet Quadrant criteria. Perhaps they will surface in 2010.
The best MRM solutions, Collins writes, deliver breadth and depth of integrated MRM functionality on large, enterprise-wide and global implementations. "The real value proposition [from MRM] is being sure you're synced," she says, mentioning the benefits of syncing with financial and procurement applications. Yet, it's a dynamic market and Collins says she wouldn't be surprised to see an acquisition or two over the course of the year as larger vendors look to solidify MRM offerings. Also of note is the range in vendor's geographic locations. Collins points out that organizations are likely to look regionally for an MRM vendor, which is beneficial for vendors such as Australia-based Orbis and United Kingdom–based VYRE.
The 2009 Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management plays out as follows:
- Aprimo: The broad and deep solution has seen an average growth rate of more than 25 percent during the last five years. Aprimo shifted from a license model to a subscription model has, which flattened revenue at first, but will rebound in 2009. The report notes Aprimo's industry-specific capabilities. Interestingly, Aprimo partnered with Kodak in October 2008 to deliver an automated marketing supply chain solution. Tough economic economic conditions resulted in Aprimo withdrawing from its IPO last summer. Collins cautions only that Aprimo could face threats from larger vendors as their solutions and the market mature, and from smaller vendors offering lower price points for entry.
- Assetlink: The new leader has a strong MRM vision and a growing customer base. Assetlink focuses on operational and creative processes, and has had a strong year thanks, in part, to a healthy partnership with Teradata. Collins writes,"The robustness of its solution, coupled with its smaller size, continues to make it an attractive acquisition target for those seeking to establish themselves in the MRM market." It's healthy condition makes Assetlink a likely candidate for acquisition.
- Unica: The report gives the leading vendor props for its integration to the Affinium campaign, and for its on-demand production management capabilities. However, Collins writes, "Although a leader in MRM, Unica does not specialize in any of the five MRM competencies." Also Unica does not support marketing fulfillment, and it does not have robust DAM capabilities.
- Oracle-Siebel: The megavendor, because of its viability and continued investment in MRM, remains a strong contender. Collins says that clients looking for a broad set of MRM capabilities should consider Siebel Marketing.
- SAP: The report mentions that SAP has been broadening its MRM vision, and the redesigned user interface in SAP CRM 2007 is of marked improvement. The prepackaged MRM solution are set to improve with SAP's product road map. However, the majority of the R&D investment for SAP CRM Marketing version 7.0 is within customer loyalty management and campaign management. Gartner predicts that SAP will look to acquire a solution in the area of marketing fulfillment -- but possibly not until 2010.
- BrandWizard: Specializing in creative development processes for brand management, BrandWizard creates a customized solution for clients -- instead of a prepackaged one. As a result, the vendor sells more services than it does software.
- Elateral: Collins writes of the brand asset management vendor, "Consider Elateral for its strong marketing fulfillment capabilities, and its ability to manage the brand globally, while providing capabilities and rules for localization." Elateral continues to grow, but lacks long-term viability.
- Orbis: Collins recommends the Australia-based company for organizations looking for a provider in their region. The report states, "Orbis offers a broad MRM solution across all five MRM competency areas, making it comparable in its vision to Aprimo and Assetlink for offering a full suite." The small vendor is slowly but surely expanding, but still has limited presence in North America.
- SAS: This veteran vendor's strengths rest in planning, performance management, and optimization capabilities, according to Collins. Despite its comparable position as a visionary in the analytics space, SAS is not yet mature in the MRM market, and Gartner recommends that the company increase the visibility of its MRM functionality.
- Alterian: Although uptake has been slow, the solution is broad and focuses on integration between MRM and campaign management. Collins characterises the vendor as having "limited visibility and vision." Notably, Alterian's revenue grew 95 percent in 2008 due mostly to its acquisition of Mediasurface in July 2008. The research points out that much of that growth lies in analytics and campaign management, rather than in MR.
- BrandMaker: Making its debut in this year's report, the German company focuses on brand management, but apparently has a 2009 product roadmap that includes an emphasis on and commitment to developing additional software-as-a-service modules. The report also states that the road map includes integrating the solution with Office applications; supporting mobile devices, offering Corporate Translation Management and also decision support. BrandMaker could be an attractive brand management acquisition, especially if a vendor is looking to expand into Europe.
- Capital ID: European-based companies interested in brand management should consider Capital ID, though clients should "carefully weigh the risks of doing business with a small vendor versus the business benefits they can gain from using its software.
- MarketingPilot Software: The North American–focused provider expanded its customer base and deal size in 2008. Although offering a broad solution with a healthy software-to-services ration, the company needs to sign on larger clients and expand regionally to remain viable.
- Oracle-EBS: The main customers for this product come from cross-selling from Oracle's e-Business Suite. Gartner relays that the offering, although broad, lacks the depth that some of the other MRM sellers provide.
- Saepio Technologies: Collins notes the company's strong focus on the end-to-end process. The new entrant grew by more than 45 percent in 2008 by adding more than 50 new customers. The North America-headquartered company does not offer the full gamut of MRM capabilities, but it has an innovative approach toward sales enablement and brand management in local markets.
- VYRE: The U.K.-based company focuses on automating the digital supply chain, from production to fulfillment. Its strengths include asset management and workflow capabilities. Collins writes that VYRE should be aware of other small competitors and could be susceptible should any fluctuations arise in the market.
Overall, Collins reiterates her belief that this market remains a worthwhile investment: "MRM is something that really can help marketing organizations in a tough economy cut costs without having to cut marketing programs," she says. "You spend on IT to save probably 10 times the amount that you will spend in marketing."
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