• January 19, 2010
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

Forrester Waves In Cross-Channel Campaign Management

Forrester Research recently released its first Wave on cross-channel campaign management (CCCM) in response to the urgent demand for "highly personalized and relevant communications" across all channels. Eleven vendors made the cut into this year's report, and were then subjected to evaluation against 91 criteria revolving around the vendor's current offering, strategy, and market presence.

According to Suresh Vittal,  the impetus for launching A CCCM Wave was obvious. In the past, campaign management tools were focused solely on list selection that slowly added workflow analytics and optimization capabilities. Even so, he says, they were still focused on high-volume direct marketing, when it's becoming increasingly clear that marketing is rapidly expanding into new, emerging channels, primarily social media.

"What [traditional] campaign management tools were struggling to do was to improve cross-channel customer interaction," Vittal says. "How do we hand off customers from one channel to another and still recognize the relationships we have with our customers and [maintain] a personalized dialogue with them?"

A big part of what was missing was the inclusion of social media and the notion that consumers are following and discussing corporate brands in a social environment. Companies need more than list selection tools to keep up with the conversation. To that end, Vittal says solutions, too, will need new interfaces and enhanced usability because the dialogue will inevitably require that the marketing capability extend to those who aren't power users.

Vittal explains that in terms of functionality the 91 criteria were derived primarily from client demands, which touched upon:

  • planning and budgeting;
  • cross-channel integration;
  • campaign execution;
  • optimization;
  • campaign design;
  • interaction management;
  • analytics and reporting;
  • data management;
  • application usability; and
  • architecture.

Of the eleven who made it into this year's Wave, no single vendor delivered a comprehensive solution, according to the report. However there were many vendors ranked as "strong performers," and even a couple "leaders."

Leaders (listed alphabeticall):

  • SAS; and
  • Unica.

Strong Performers:

  • Alterian;
  • Aprimo;
  • Neolane;
  • Oracle (Siebel);
  • Portrait Software; and
  • SAP.

Contenders:

  • Infor;
  • Teradata; and
  • Responsys.

In marketing, the challenge isn't necessarily having multiple channels of communication open. In fact, Vittal says multichannel is the simplistic approach to marketing. "The fact that I can get a message on my mobile phone, email inbox, and direct mail is cute," he says. However, it's not enough. Where a multichannel strategy often fails is in determining which channel makes the most sense depending on the message and the relationship. Cross channel is about being able to execute across all of these channels. Not surprisingly, achieving this successfully is far more challenging when analytics, optimization, retaining customer histories, and customer identification all have to be factored in. Unfortunately, applications available today don't fulfill the necessary requirements to truly integrate inbound and outbound marketing programs. As a result, "the outcome is inconsistent customer experience and longer campaign cycle times," the report states.

"Integrating marketing across channels is not a new concept," says Scott Olrich, chief marketing officer of Responsys. "However, today's consumer is using so many different channels interchangeably and companies need to respond to their customers in real time." With the release of this report, he says, Forrester further validates cross-channel solutions as "a true sector of the [marketing] industry." 

As the space — and the report — continues to mature, Vittal expects the list of 91 criteria to expand and focus more on cross-channel program management. "Campaign management doesn't have a start and an end," Vittal says. "It's continuous communication that transcends channels."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.

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