• December 1, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Campaign Management Needs to Cross Channels

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While campaign management tools have improved greatly in the past two years, marketers still face challenges with them, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

In general, users are very satisfied with the current solutions, but usability is the one issue they want vendors of the technology to address, according to the research, which Forrester presented in its 2014 Forrester Wave report on cross-channel campaign management.

The firm found that 36 percent of cross-channel campaign management users have difficulty personalizing messages based on customer behavior across channels, and 35 percent identified making campaign adjustments based on real-time information as their major challenge.

"In general, these tools do a very good job of supporting complex customer selections for simple campaigns, but helping marketers differentiate marketing automation tasks for customer-specific journeys is significantly more complex," says Jason McNelis, a Forrester analyst and one of the authors of the report. "This more complex campaign structure also makes measurement significantly more challenging."

Campaign managers also continue to struggle as they try to leverage social media in their campaigns, according to McNelis. Despite this challenge, campaign channel managers identified social media as one of the top two channels on their integration lists; the other was in-app push notifications, Forrester's research found.

The report also found that campaign managers are largely relying on cross-channel campaign management tools to deliver the same message and ensure a consistent customer experience across channels. Other stated goals from the technology include boosting marketing profitability and return on investment, increasing customer lifetime value and loyalty, increasing cross-sell and upsell opportunities to existing customers, and acquiring new customers.

McNelis also maintains that organizational structure often hampers cross-channel marketing efforts. "Two challenges that come up repeatedly are the need to integrate data and the need to work across silos in the organization," he says. "The campaign management tool itself is just one piece of the puzzle."

Forrester identified Adobe, Infor, RedPoint Global, and SAS as the leading vendors in campaign management, particularly on the strength of their advanced cross-channel integration and interaction management capabilities. IBM, Teradata, and SAP "are strong performers that offer competitive options," the report states. Pitney Bowes and SDL "contend on certain capabilities but lag overall," it says.

"The focus of marketers and the demands of increasingly empowered consumers are shifting, and some of the tools are playing catch-up," McNelis explains.

Most tools, the report says, apply segmentation trees or other graphical interfaces to simplify selecting campaign groups, but they do not do as well when applied to more sophisticated, multistep triggered campaigns.

The report acknowledges that campaign management tools have improved since Forrester's last evaluation in 2012, noting that many vendors now support storage of complete interaction histories and retargeting through online advertising.

Forrester also noted that more vendors are emphasizing integrations "as they realize they won't own all pieces of their clients' cross-channel puzzle." For example, Teradata can now work with additional data structures, IBM has integrated several mobile components, and Adobe has integrated with digital marketing data via its cloud.

But Forrester warns that many integration upgrades come with a caveat: "Integration quality across channels, data sources, and interfaces still [varies], as does support for emerging channels and more sophisticated analytics."

Where vendors need to focus attention now is on multichannel intelligence, real-time velocity, and multistep measurement, according to the research.

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