While marketing automation is no longer uncharted territory, there’s still a lot of ground to cover. Many vendors offer marketing solutions, and yet, according to Forrester Senior Analyst Suresh Vittal, the market only sees penetration of between 20 percent and 25 percent. User interfaces have improved, he says, but they’re still not easy to use for the entire marketing organization. Moreover, suite vendors have yet to fully tackle demands around interactive marketing and performance management functionalities, areas covered mainly by niche players or Web analytics, Vittal adds. Beyond aesthetics, marketers prefer overall simplicity, and that often means having a single solution to handle everything. As marketers are pushed to be more accountable and metric-driven, the vendor that can deliver such a solution will come out on top.
Just a year after being named a Rising Star, Alterian has made its way among the leaders, receiving the highest score in the category for company direction. One big stride significantly expanded the company’s reach: Previously only offering an on-demand solution, Alterian released an on-premises version in February, catering to the more than 50 percent of businesses that prefer an in-house solution. Its Marketing Data Infrastructure software, Engine 4.0, boasts a multitenant architecture, and increased scalability and speed. It was, Vittal says, a “much-needed announcement” that addressed the growing sophistication of its end users. Yet, despite the technological improvements, Vittal notes that the user interface stands to be improved: “It looks a bit dated right now.”
Another 2007 Rising Star, Eloqua is one of the 2008 Market Leaders not only because of its software offering, but its impact on thought leadership. “It’s one thing to give a company tools,” says Jim Dickie, managing partner at CSO Insights. “What you also need to do is give them insight.” Eloqua is building out its ecosystem of marketing expertise with a strong team of consultancies and technology partners. Considered a smaller vendor, Eloqua suits companies that have less sophisticated marketing requirements. The caveat, however, is its lack of in-depth features such as advanced analytics, reports Gartner analyst Adam Sarner in his 2008 Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management.
The analytics platform that Oracle inherited in its acquisition of Siebel Systems is still the main driver behind its spot on the leaderboard, continuing to provide robust marketing solutions to the enterprise-level end user that’s well-versed in the software. Sarner also points out Oracle’s market lead in loyalty management and its wide breadth of enterprise marketing management functionalities. Having acquired more than 40 companies in the last four years, critics speculate whether integration will hinder Oracle’s overall company direction—but low customer satisfaction scores may signal a need to focus more on the home front.
SAS Institute meshes its excellence in analytics and data to provide marketers with metric-based understanding. Its extensive expertise in horizontal (e.g., CRM and risk management) and vertical (e.g., financial services, education, public sector) industries makes it a useful tool across the board, says Boris Evelson, principal analyst at Forrester Research. And SAS, as a privately held company, is free from what Evelson calls “Wall Street standards,” allowing it to invest heavily in research and development (R&D). However, SAS remains more of a leader in business intelligence than in marketing, which analysts suggest may be a result of market perception and not lack of features. Those features, though, often deter users who need more user-friendly solutions; that may explain SAS’s lower scores, particularly in customer satisfaction.
It comes as no surprise that Unica continues to excel, with expanded R&D to improve scale and productivity to better handle marketing complexity. An increase in the number of available languages caters to the markets in Europe and Asia, where the company says revenue increased by 100 percent in the first six months of 2008. “They’re really becoming something [that the marketing department] can look to for the management of a lot of marketing operations,” Dickie says. The marketing landscape is no longer a linear funnel but a convoluted maze, and Unica is addressing this issue with its deep functionality in multichannel marketing, campaign management, and lead management, according to Gartner’s 2008 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Marketing Management. Strong within B2C industries, analysts observe that it’s been lagging in the B2B space, a market the company will have to pay more attention to going forward, in addition to its midmarket and on-demand end users.
one to watch : marketing automation
Though Aprimo may have fallen from the leaderboard, the company has not gone unnoticed. This year, Vittal says, Aprimo has finally integrated enterprise marketing solution provider Protagona (acquired from DoubleClick in 2005) into its flagship Aprimo Enterprise 8.0. Moreover, Vittal commends Aprimo for completely revamping its user interface, which he says “stands out” among the marketing automation solutions.
To view the other 2008 Market Leader categories, click here.
To view the rest of the 2008 CRM Market Awards, click here.
Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.