According to this year's Gartner Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management (MRM), interest in the MRM sector continued to grow in 2009, a rise attributable, at least in part, to the current economic upturn.
The report suggests that corporate finance executives may have turned to marketers for post-recession help in regrowing business, but without restoring pre-recession budgets. As a result, a particular set of capabilities — those closely aligned with MRM — emerged as the main focus last year:
- managing and controlling costs;
- increasing operational efficiencies;
- improved planning ability;
- the ability to track budgets; and
- the ability to allocate those budgets and resources to different campaigns and programs.
Along similar lines, Gartner defines MRM as a set of processes and capabilities designed to enhance a company's ability to orchestrate and optimize internal and external marketing resources. Overall, this year's report shows a decided lack of movement: No returning vendors switched quadrants. The most significant year-over-year change is the addition of three new firms and the removal of a longtime brand:
- Adnovate — Gartner slots this small, privately owned Dutch company as a Niche Player due to its limited geographic footprint (all clients are currently in Europe) and its focus on marketing asset management and fulfillment.
- Direxxis — Describing the company as "a marketing services and technology provider," the report rates Direxxis as a Niche Player "for its focus on MRM capabilities around asset management and fulfillment as part of a distributed marketing process."
- Kodak — Kimberly Collins, a managing vice president at Gartner and author of the report, calls Kodak this year's most notable addition; its size and resources landed the firm in the Challengers quadrant. Despite being a $9 billion company, however, Collins says Kodak has a relatively small number of people (72) dedicated to MRM. Still, she predicts that number will increase as interest in MRM climbs. "Kodak has technology and solutions," she says, "and they're interested in the creative aspects of marketing. With the growing [client] interest they will certainly pay more [attention] to that space."
- Oracle E-Business Suite — Oracle EBS is the only firm from the 2009 report that was dropped this year. "They have the product capabilities and viability," Collins says, "[but] it's the market traction and momentum area where they do not meet minimum criteria."
Here's the complete rundown on the 2010 Magic Quadrant for MRM:
- Aprimo — Ranked at the top of the leader quadrant, Aprimo is praised for its breadth and depth, with capabilities in each of the five competency areas defined by Gartner. In particular, Aprimo gets points for deep functionality in planning, budgeting, and creative production management. The company grew revenue 29 percent in 2009, generating a total of $68 million, yet the report views Aprimo's high pricing as its greatest problem; responders who were asked why they didn't choose Aprimo ranked pricing as the top deterrent.
- Assetlink — Listed as Aprimo's greatest competition, Assetlink "simplified its pricing model and has identical pricing for both on-premises licensing and on-demand solutions."
- Oracle-Siebel — Oracle-Siebel's placement on the MQ is hurt by its technology's poor workflow, which responders cited as the main difficulty with the application.
- SAP — Workflow is also an issue with SAP's technology, the report says. "Business rules and workflow remain less flexible than those of the more-mainstream MRM vendors."
- Orbis Global
- Brand Wizard
- MarketingPilot Software
- Saepio Technologies
- Capital ID
The four quadrants in the MRM report are defined as follows:
- Leaders — firms that "deliver breadth and depth of integrated MRM functionality on large, enterprisewide and global implementations that extend MRM across the marketing organization and outside the database marketing domain."
- Challengers — vendors that have "entered the MRM market primarily to provide offerings that complement their established business applications. [But they are] unable to consistently and effectively articulate their visions or they have not mobilized their resources to excel in the market segment."
- Visionaries — companies that Gartner finds "distinguished by the openness and flexibility of their application architectures...." The report states, however, that these players "may have gaps relative to broader functionality requirements, and may have less market penetration and momentum compared with market leaders."
- Niche Players — companies that "perform well in a small segment of the MRM market…[and] have a limited ability to innovate or outperform other vendors [and] are focused on a specific functionality, geography, or industry."
According to the report's criteria for inclusion, vendors must:
- Have at least 20 production customers for MRM functionality, each with at least an average of 25 weekly users;
- Have at least eight new customers for MRM in the past four quarters;
- Have generated at least $5 million (U.S. dollars) in revenue for MRM in the past four quarters;
- Support MRM functionality for at least three of the five outlined components (planning and financial management, creative production management, marketing asset/knowledge management, marketing fulfillment, and MRM analytics and performance management);
- Have sufficient professional services to fulfill current and future customer demand during the next six months;
- Have at least enough cash to fund a year of operations at its current burn rate.
Collins says she suspects the addition of three new companies to the Magic Quadrant, coupled with a "skyrocketing in interest regarding last year's [report]," may be the first signs of a changing MRM landscape.
"Next year should be interesting," she says. "People seemed to be putting more plans in place to acquire MRM technology, so we could see a few companies start to rise to the occasion."
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