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The 2015 CRM Market Leaders: Marketing Solutions
For the rest of the August 2015 issue of CRM magazine please click here

THE MARKET

For the vendors on our leaderboard, this year was all about integration. The marketing realm has been buzzing with acquisitions and partnerships, and leaders in this category have been busy building connections to acquired technologies. Personalization continues to be central to the effectiveness of solutions in this market, and vendors’ transition to the cloud has made it possible for them to offer products that can deliver this capability at scale.

Increasingly, marketing solutions are becoming more closely linked to sales and customer service platforms, and brands are finally transitioning from discrete departments to more "holistic teams dedicated to delivering consistent experiences," says Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research. Marketers are also working with IT departments more frequently due to a growing reliance on analytics to facilitate data-driven campaigns, and many of the vendors represented here have a strong business intelligence or analytics backbone that pairs with their marketing offering.

Overall, there's been no shortage of activity and growth. The marketing industry is "hot, hot, hot," one analyst says.

THE LEADERS

Improvements in functionality and deep integrations between all of the solutions in the Adobe Marketing Cloud have earned Adobe a 3.9 for customer satisfaction, but the vendor's ability to deliver analytics that reach beyond the Web site is "limited," according to Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research. Still, analysts continue to praise its campaign management capabilities.

IBM's multiple marketing automation acquisitions, now fully integrated under the IBM Marketing Solutions platform, offer a "compelling end-to-end solution, from initial touch point to sales conversion," says Leslie Ament, senior vice president of research at Hypatia Research Group. Its commerce unit is strong both on the B2B and B2C front, and earned the company a 4.4 for depth of functionality. Earlier this year, IBM also entered into key partnerships with Twitter (to codevelop social analytics solutions) and Facebook (to deliver more sophisticated ad retargeting capabilities).

Though the company earned a mediocre 3.5 for company direction this year, analysts predict that IBM's recent moves will soon pay off.

Still invested in bringing together its acquisitions and native marketing cloud technologies, Oracle is a re-energized company, Wettemann says. Though there's still work to be done when it comes to unifying the tools gained through the recent acquisitions of BlueKai, Compendium, and others, Oracle did well on depth of functionality (4.2). With a 3.9 for company direction, Oracle is back on the leaderboard after being named One to Watch last year, and is on a "much better path," an analyst says. "Big wins in the market have customers seeing a different Oracle," Wang agrees.

Teradata earned high marks for depth of functionality (4.4), thanks to the effective integrations between its marketing solutions and its business intelligence suite. To boost its company direction score (3.6), analysts recommend doubling down on innovation to keep up with the rapid pace of updates from competitors, especially those that were early cloud providers.

THE WINNER

Salesforce.com's Marketing Cloud, now part of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, is "one of the most intuitive and robust solutions for marketers I've demonstrated to date," Ament says. The vendor earned a 4.3 for company direction, and analysts continue to praise the company for its impressive depth of functionality, for which it received a 4.3 as well. "Significant is the architecture, which empowers marketers to, with a single data repository, connect to multiple applications and data sources both within Salesforce and external to Salesforce via one browser interface," Ament says. Salesforce.com can "deliver significant ROI for customers and leverage its Wave analytics, Internet of Things, and communities capabilities to show customers new ways to get value," Wettemann says.

ONE TO WATCH

It was a tough year for Marketo. Its founders' departure and its reactive approach to building marketing technology have hurt Marketo's reputation, according to Wang. The company is also the last stand-alone marketing automation player, Wettemann states, and faces competitive challenges with "far shallower pockets." But the vendor still has a loyal following—its reputation for customer satisfaction earned it a high score (4.5).


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[Editor's note: The overall award rating is based on a composite score of analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost. For the cost score, analysts gave the highest marks to vendors with the lowest expected costs. Company revenues were also factored into the overall score, but these numbers are not included in the chart above.]

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To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationCRM.com/subscribe/.
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