In Forrester Research’s most recent evaluation of U.S. database marketing service providers (MSPs), Dave Frankland, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, identified Epsilon, KBM Group, and Targetbase as the vendors with the strongest performance because of their analytical and strategic approach to the business, paired with broad capability and strong delivery.
Allant, Acxiom, and Merkle were ranked not far behind. Harte-Hanks and Quaero were said to show indicators of potential but will only progress in the industry if they can extend the success throughout their client bases, according to Frankland.
The report identifies the following as current gaps in the industry:
- Enterprise customer intelligence;
- Digital and addressable media; and
- Intelligent interaction with empowered customers.
Forrester assessed the companies on the following criteria:
- Current offerings. Each vendor was considered in terms of data sourcing, database management, analytics, execution and fulfillment, and services and support.
- Strategy. The strategies of each company were compared with the needs of the customer intelligence professional, industry trends, and Forrester’s vision of the customer intelligence market. Forrester examined corporate strategy, management team, industry strategy, global strategy, partner strategy, and customer feedback.
- Market presence. Forrester combined information about each vendor’s database client base, revenue, and employee base to support the strategy and service delivery requirements.
Forrester invited more than 50 companies to participate in the assessment, but only eight vendors met Forrester’s criteria. All of the vendors were listed in previous Forrester Wave assessments with the exception of Quaero. Experian, FICO, and Infogroup, assessed in the most recent Forrester Wave, were excluded this year.
“Epsilon, KBM Group, and Targetbase lead the pack,” writes Frankland. “Each of these vendors offers strong database management capabilities.”
Frankland elaborated that Epsilon frequently functions at a significant scale and complexity, and has strong execution capabilities. KBM Group consistently provides a strong service and “gets great feedback from its clients.” Targetbase was assessed as having a competitive analytics and strategy offering.
“Acxiom, Allant, and Merkle deliver compelling solutions,” writes Frankland. “These companies also offer very strong offerings. In fact, not much separates these companies from the leaders. They represent excellent choices when a client’s needs align with the vendor’s relative strengths.”
Harte-Hanks and Quaero were deemed as offering competitive solutions in specific cases. “Both of these companies have solid database marketing capabilities and deliver competitive solutions,” writes Frankland. “Both firms are working to deliver a more consistent offering across their client base and more broadly replicate their pockets of success.”