The word "cool" isn't reserved for jocks and cheerleaders anymore. Techies are claiming their spot in the limelight as Gartner once again recognizes vendors doing unique and interesting things in its annual report, "Cool Vendors in CRM Marketing and Analytics, 2008."
The industry is coming out with more sophisticated solutions for the marketer -- but what good is a cool solution if it's not being used? In this year's report, Gartner brings awareness to four vendors who address the problems many marketers face. This year, the following four vendors were recognized as the "coolest of the cool" (in alphabetical order) and Gartner offers recommendations for when the solution is most applicable:
Adam Sarner, a principle research analyst at Gartner and co-author of this report, jokes that he doesn't believe "analysts" are really the types to be "cool." But as far as Gartner's definition of cool goes, these vendors are really providing something that's truly different or they're paving the way for a broader industry trend. This report is Gartner's opportunity to shed some light on companies that are still under the radar, and with it, "bubble up some of these smaller vendors up to the top," Sarner adds.
- Cvent:On-demand event management tool that automates tasks from online registration to e-mail marketing, as well as budget-tracking functionality. This solution is for anyone ready to move beyond manually handling event planning (e.g. spreadsheets);
- EveryScape:It's Google Street View taken up a notch. EveryScape allows customers to enter a "photo-realistic 3-D environment" where they can not only explore the neighborhood but go into stores, check out restaurant menus, and even make reservations--store updates are made accordingly. Marketers will want to dip their toes into this solution to incorporate contextual marketing and enhance the shopping process;
- Saepio:The Marketing Asset Management solution ensures that a company maintains brand consistency while still giving local branches room for customization. Local marketers use the tool to help stick within corporate guidelines but are able to come up with their own creatives and functions that will most appeal to their region or customer; and
- Vitrium Systems:Empowers marketers with the ability to track and record the activity of people accessing PDF documents. It's Docmetrics solution allows marketers to see what documents were accessed, for how long, and asks for personal information while the person is viewing, as opposed to a tedious web form. The technology is built into the document so marketers can see who's viewing the material even as it's being passed along.
For the vendors, this exposure marks a significant stepping stone to boost their place in the market. "It's great," says Peter Nieforth, chief executive officer of Vitrium Systems, "We're very honored and pleased to have this recognition." Particularly for Vitrium, Gartner outlines its biggest challenge as gaining awareness. Today, he says, "Marketers either push out PDFs and collect nothing, or they put a web form in front of you and the web form represents their one and only opportunity to gather any info from you." The demand for a solution like Docmetrics seems only logical. Nieforth agrees that it's not so much that marketers don't have time to address the issue of tracking PDF activity; it's that marketers just don't know the technology is even available.
In the report, Gartner addresses why each vendor is cool, the challenges they face, and who should care about their offering. "We're trying to show [Gartner] clients the full breath of things that are out there," Sarner says. He adds that the vendors "may not be the biggest vendor in the world, may not have top visibility" but offer emerging technology that's worth talking about. By putting out these reports, Sarner is fully aware that he will be hit with client calls inquiring about the new guys and he's prepared to answer questions and discuss the opportunities available.
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