• March 16, 2006
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Aprimo Is Still First in the Quad

Marketing automation vendor Aprimo maintained its solo standing in the leader quadrant of Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management (MRM), 1Q06." The report identifies broad and deep functionality, flexible deployment models, and integration experience as the key reasons for Aprimo's continued leadership in the market. "However, it is still a relatively small vendor, and companies must perform due diligence as they would on any small, privately held company," writes Kimberly Collins, Gartner research vice president and report author. Small vendors leading the way appears to be the norm in MRM. "Many of the vendors that provide robust MRM solutions (within a particular competency or across a broad set of competencies) are comparatively small in the market," Collins writes. "The value proposition of the largest vendors in the market remain in integration between marketing and other business applications, rather than the depth of MRM capabilities and an understanding of marketing users' requirements." The firm advises that buyers weigh vendor viability against the quality of the solution offered, as the market for MRM is relatively immature. Larger companies Oracle, SAP, and Siebel (rated separately from owner Oracle) populate the challengers' quadrant, lacking completeness of vision on Gartner's scale, but possessing the ability to execute on what they have. SAP's strengths are integration with other business functions and partnerships with more focused providers, according to Gartner, while "MRM is one of the few areas that Oracle and Siebel Systems are more synergistic, rather than overlapping," Collins writes. Aprimo's strengths in budgeting, planning, workflows, and analytics, and its multiple deployment models, are shadowed closely at the edge of the visionary quadrant by Assetlink, a slow-growing company whose SOA backbone could give it the edge over Aprimo in integration, should Assetlink's own sales and marketing can accelerate company growth. BrandWizard Technologies, Citat, and Unica are also strong competitors in transition from visionary to leader; like Aprimo and Assetlink, all offer on-premise, hosted, and on-demand deployments. "[BrandWizard] is best described as a brand management solution with focus on creative development, content management, and marketing fulfillment," Collins writes. Citat, a largely European player, is noted as having one of the largest MRM client bases. "However, the bulk of its MRM revenue is related to services not software," Collins adds. Its MarketStore 4.8 is one of the few MRM products built on J2EE, and Collins expects Citat to develop Web services applications around XML in 2006. Elateral, another visionary, is a company on the rebound after a tough 2004. The small company doubled its revenue in 2005, Gartner states, and has formed a strong partnership with HP for global production of digitally printed materials. "The hallmark [of Elateral] is its marketing fulfillment capabilities, where it sets the visionary pace for the market, and boasts some of the largest user networks," Collins writes. Veridiem also deserves mention, although it's not rated as highly as others in the visionary quadrant. "Veridiem provides one of the strongest visions for MRM analytics and is a likely partner or potential acquisition target for other vendors seeking to develop greater competencies in marketing analytics," Collins' prescient statement in assessing Veridiem, predates the company's recently announced acquisition by SAS. The combination should put SAS on the MRM map, and will improve Veridiem's reach into other functional areas. Related articles: On-Demand Marketing: The Way to Go for SMBs?
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