Just Published: The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q4 2012

Customer Intelligence (CI) professionals invest in data-mining, predictive analytics and modeling tools and technologies to make sense of the deluge of data. In the past, they've had to adapt horizontally-focused analytics and modeling solutions to a customer intelligence and marketing context. Today, however, they can consider a gamut of customer analytics and marketing-focused analytics providers that have not only analytics production expertise but also domain and role-focused expertise.

We just published our first evaluation focusing on the customer analytics category here: The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions Q4 2012 . After screening more than 20 providers for analytics products specifically catering to customer analytics applications, we identified and scored products from six of the most significant providers: Angoss Software, FICO, IBM, KXEN, Pitney Bowes, and SAS. Our evaluation approach consisted of a 70-criteria evaluation; reference calls and online surveys of 60 companies; executive briefings; and product demonstrations. The core criteria included key dimensions such as core functionality (data management, modeling, usability); analytics production; analytics consumption; analytics activation and customer analytics applications. The evaluation also included the strength of the current product and corporate strategies  in the customer analytics market as well as the future vision for this category.

We found that four competencies define the current customer analytics market:

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It’s Time To Prioritize Market Insights Evolution

Market insights professionals typically have to make a lot of decisions around how to optimize a limited budget with high (and ever increasing) demands for insights. Which stakeholders? Which projects? Which methodologies? Which vendors? Which tools? The decisions facing market insights leaders are tough ones, and prioritization is an imperative.

Unfortunately, what often doesn’t get prioritized is the evaluation and development of the market insights organization’s own capabilities! Without investing in itself, market insights runs the risk of getting stuck in a vicious cycle:

In the past months, Forrester has researched and analyzed how market insights professionals can turn this around. We have just published the first six chapters — and an executive overview — of the Market Insights Optimization Playbook. What steps and guidance are shared in these reports? They will help you:

  • See where you need to be. Forrester provides you with a vision of what market insights can become, and what it needs to become, in order to keep its stakeholders customer-aligned and ahead of competitive disruptions.
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ExactTarget Acquires iGoDigital And Pardot

ExactTarget today announced plans to acquire two companies: Pardot and iGoDigital. The acquisitions signal that ExactTarget, only recently public, intends to use its cash reserves to grow aggressively against the competition in revenue, market segments, and features. So what does it mean?

Are the two acquisitions related?

No, the dual acquisitions are a quirk of timing, allowing ExactTarget to drive the marketing technology conversation in advance of Connections, its user conference in Indianapolis next week. I’ll separate my comments to better address each.

Still, I’ll risk a theme for these two acquisitions: Marketing automation without predictive analytics is blind, but analytics without automation is empty.


Why did ExactTarget make the acquisitions now?

iGoDigital Pardot
The acquisition is unlikely to make a big impact in the short term. Recommendations are a small part of the marketing software mix for retailers.  ExactTarget can cross-sell online recommendations into its significant B2C base, but in the end, ExactTarget is acquiring the firm for a longer-term move.
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The Shifting Sands Of Tag Management

I published Understanding Tag Management Tools And Technology about six weeks ago. The research has been a valuable resource for documentating the vendor landscape and - most importantly - identifying how buyers deploy and benefit from tag management solutions. But as we've regularly noted, tag management is an early-stage market undergoing rapid expansion and evolution. Strictly speaking, "Understanding Tag Management Tools and Technology" was fully accurate for about a week. Since we published the research in mid-August, the TMS vendor landscape has continued to exhibit highly dynamic (and exciting!) behavior:

  • August: BrightTag acquires SiteTagger. US-based BrightTag sets its sights on establishing a strong foothold in the EU by acquiring UK-based SiteTagger. You can read about it here.
  • September: Mediaplex launches a TMS offering. Digital media powerhouse Mediaplex jumps into the TMS market with its own offering - named Master TMS - to further enhance their stack of advertising technology and services. You can check it out here.
  • October: Google launches a TMS offering. This is the big one. Web and tech giant Google launches its own TMS offering - named Google Tag Manager - to make digital marketing easier to manage and to bridge their broad portfolio of analytics and media products. You can read the official announcement here, and check out Justin Cutroni's blog for a more technical overview.
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Drive Intelligent Customer Loyalty With Forrester's New Customer Loyalty Playbook

Over the past year-and-a-half, I’ve seen a surge of loyalty programs in the marketplace. And it’s not just existing programs expanding into emerging channels or revamping their reward mix. Industries that typically shied away from loyalty programs, like utilities, media and insurance, are jumping on the bandwagon. But although marketers understand that value of identifying, retaining, and improving relationship with their best customers, their execution usually doesn’t lead to lasting loyalty. Loyalty programs largely revolve around financial incentives that drive spikes in short-term behavior but don’t necessarily establish deeper or long-term customer relationships.

To add to that challenge, consumers see declining value in the programs that exist in the marketplace, and if marketers want to develop better relationships with their best consumers, their programs need more differentiation. And that’s where customer intelligence comes in. Loyalty programs generate a lot of customer data that often goes unused. Customer intelligence helps marketers create customer insights that improve their strategy and programs through targeting and segmentation, and customized offers. To assist marketers in applying customer intelligence and evolving their customer loyalty strategies, I’m excited to introduce Forrester’s Customer Loyalty Playbook.

The Customer Loyalty Playbook lays out the path to help you establish the right framework and mature your practices around executing loyalty programs that drive long-term customer engagement and incremental value. It contains twelve reports, focusing on four key phases:

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