Updating the Database Marketing Service Provider Wave

Since Forrester last published a Wave of Database Marketing Service Providers (MSPs), the landscape and the market have changed significantly. How?

  • Consolidation of major players. For example 2 of the 12 vendors in our 2007 Wave were acquired by other Wave vendors (Acxiom acquired ChoicePoint's database business and more recently Epsilon picked up Equifax's direct marketing division which included it's data and database offerings).
  • Market entry from non-traditional MSPs. We have seen further consolidation from outside the traditional database players. e-Dialog, an email service provider recently acquired MBS Insight, and in the UK, TV service provider Sky absorbed Experian's UK database business.
  • Changes in  how marketers communicate with consumers. Perhaps the biggest change is how database marketing service providers have evolved beyond managing repositories for direct mail to performing as customer intelligence hubs - becoming a strategic asset as a single source of customer knowledge. These customer intelligence hubs, enable marketers to communicate with their customers and prospects not only in traditional direct channels, but across media including digital, mobile, social, and, on the horizon, addressable TV. And, as consumers increasingly control how and when companies communicate with them, marketers must leverage their customer intelligence across inbound, and not just outbound channels.
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comScore And Nedstat: An Exciting End To A Hot Summer

Here we are again.  As we approach Labor Day, less than three weeks after IBM announced its agreement to acquire Unica (see my blog post with Suresh Vittal here), comScore announced yesterday that it has acquired the venerable European Web analytics vendor Nedstat.

Total cash and stock consideration for the purchase is valued at approximately $36.7 million USD.  Additionally, nearly the entire Nedstat staff, numbering about 120, will stay on at comScore.

Official information is available through comScore, the comScore corporate blog, and the regulatory filing for those of you who are financially minded.  I also had the opportunity to speak with comScore CEO and co-founder Magid Abraham, who generously took time out of a very hectic day for a call.

The acquisition is predicated on the following benefits:

  • Geographic expansion. Nedstat provides an established European presence from which to serve current and prospective comScore clients in the region.
  • Product enhancement. comScore will enhance its Unified Digital Measurement (UDM) platform with Nedstat technology.
  • Deeper client relationships. The opportunity to upsell comScore’s existing client base with new and expanded product offerings.
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The Services Role In Social Intelligence

Another day, another announcement of social media M&A. Today, Alterian announced its acquistion of Intrepid, a social media consultancy. With this move Alterian adds further professional services strength to its existing listening platform, SM2. Congratulations to Intrepid and Alterian.

I reviewed Alterian's SM2 product in our recent Forrester Wave: Listening Platforms 2010, highlighting many strengths, but observed an area that most needed improvement: the level of services offerings and overall consulting. Combining Intrepid's existing consulting team with the SM2 product will address this gap well, improving Alterian's product line. I spoke to the Alterian team and learned that this move mainly comes as a result of increased client requests for professional services related to social media analytics.

Here at Forrester, we've seen the same growing demand for professional services around listening initiatives. Many clients ask about building, or improving, their programs but lack the internal resources -- social media knowledge, listening expertise, measurement skills, and, most importantly, time -- to go from passively collecting social media data to improving their marketing or business goals from insights within the data. As a result of the growing client interest, we recently published a report on the topic: "How Listening Services Support Social Intelligence." This report outlines the many ways consulting teams assist in the listening process -- from training and support to customized reports and strategic planning -- and tells Customer Intelligence professionals what kind of help they'll benefit from the most.

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