Last week, I published a new report called "The Marketing Technology Meet-Up," which examines the consolidation trend of ad technologies and marketing technologies and helps marketers understand how to use it to their advantage. Why is this happening now, you ask? Three reasons: customer expectations for brand interactions are (still) increasing; vendors want a bigger piece of the marketer's technology budgets; and the prevalence of investments in contextual experiences.
We see the convergence happening in four areas:
Data, because the single view of the customer is as tantalizing as it is elusive.
Media, which half of marketers say they struggle to buy correctly.
Measurement, as various methodologies provide vastly different performance results.
Operations, where siloed marketers find more and more reasons to work together on coordinated programs.
Today, my co-author Rusty Warner and I published the first-ever Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q4 2014. Or, as they are popularly referred to, the “marketing clouds.” The evaluation looked at the eight vendors vying to convince marketers of their ability to provide an integrated portfolio of products that span all of marketing’s needs. Integration is increasingly important to marketers in their efforts to understand the full customer life-cycle and be able to execute across all interactions.
Forrester defines an enterprise marketing software suite (EMSS) as: an integrated portfolio of marketing technology products that provide analytics, automation, and orchestration of insight-driven customer interactions to support inbound and outbound marketing.
Forrester has written about enterprise marketing software (EMS) for almost a decade and in the course of that 10 years, there are a meager two things that have stayed the same: 1) the name and 2) the fact that we're talking about technology marketers use. Beyond that, the EMS space has undergone enough major change to be almost unrecognizable from earlier renditions. To that end, I just published a new/old report called "Let's Revisit The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape (Again)" that builds on our existing years of research but offers a significant makeover to the categories and how we think about the components of the marketing software technology stack. Where used to put capabilities into four pretty traditional buckets — marketing management, brand management, relationship marketing, and online marketing — now we offer four new buckets, based on our contextual marketing research. The four new categories are interactions, analytics, insights, and automation.
In the report, I lay out what today's contextual marketer needs to do her much more complex job and therefore what she seeks in her technology. I also offer a lay of the land for a space that continues to change radically and rapidly. The report also highlights the core capabilities the vendors in each of the four categories provide today — and some of the areas on which they need to focus to really stand out for marketers.
Give it a read and then let me know what you think of our categories and how you're sourcing all of these capabilities in your marketing org today. Enjoy!
Last week at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, we bid farewell once and for all to old marketing — the marketing of campaigns, outbound messaging, and funnels. In its place, we unveiled a new and improved customer life cycle: the blue print for customer obsession. Attendees got a sneak preview of the content, but all clients have access as of today to a new report, which elevates the life cycle from its marketing home and into the whole enterprise. As your customers take a very nonlinear approach to getting what they want out of their brand relationships, companies must put the customer at the heart of everything they do to create contextual, useful engagement. The customer life cycle involves the entire brand experience, from messaging to product usage and ongoing interactions, and incorporates the ongoing relationship firms must have with customers, making it the marketing vision that will drive CMOs' success in the age of the customer.
The new version has two new phases — use and ask — that, with the original four phases, more completely captures the entire relationship a customer has with a brand.
IBM has announced its intent to acquire marketing automation company Silverpop for an undisclosed sum. This acquisition is — on the surface — just another tactical play by a large marketing technology vendor to bring on additional capabilities to support a strategic platform narrative. While Forrester clients can look for our analysis of this announcement in a forthcoming Quick Take — which I will be publishing in collaboration with my colleague Lori Wizdo — Forrester’s initial thought on the news is that we’re not surprised. Given that the various competitors in this space have been adding capabilities left and right through acquisitions, IBM is simply doing the same — checking the box to build out an expansive product line portfolio. The marketing automation vendor landscape (both business-to-business [B2B] and business-to-consumer) shrinks further, and we continue to wait for examples and proof that these mega vendors can deliver the integration they promise.
About a year ago, I wrote a gentle but firm breakup letter from CMOs to the marketing funnel. They have a more attractive love interest who is in the relationship for the long haul; the perfect partner for the age of the customer. For many, calling it quits with the marketing funnel has been messy and difficult, leaving a lot of marketers desperate to move on, but pulled back to the familiar, comfortable arms of linear, campaign-driven, transaction-oriented marketing.
Like your best friend who was willing to be patient and forgiving as you repeatedly returned to your ex, it’s time I throw down the gauntlet: Commit to the customer life cycle or be left behind by your peers who get that the terms of engagement have changed. Loyalty, context, and relevance are the new black as customers outrun campaigns, have heightened expectations for brand interactions, and use mobile technology at remarkable scale. This is not the customer Elias St. Elmo Lewis was dealing with. Fundamentally different customer behavior demands new tools.
In the age of the customer, companies must be customer-obsessed, putting knowledge of and engagement with customers ahead of all other strategic and budget priorities. The customer life cycle is the framework that puts the customer at the heart of all activities, allowing the customers’ unique context and set of interactions define what their brand experience is.
About a year ago, I wrote a gentle but firm breakup letter from CMOs to the marketing funnel. They have a more attractive love interest who is in the relationship for the long haul; the perfect partner for the age of the customer. For many, calling it quits with the marketing funnel has been messy and difficult, leaving a lot of marketers desperate to move on, but pulled back to the familiar comfortable arms of linear, campaign-driven, transaction-oriented marketing.
January is the month of renewed goals and better-you resolutions. Machines and classes at the gym are packed, diet and weight loss books are flying off shelves (or onto tablets), and money-saving commitments are redoubled. These are some of the more common New Year’s resolutions and, not surprisingly, are also some of those most commonly broken. The right thing to do is neither easy nor sustainable. To borrow from the poem that inspired Steinbeck, “the best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry . . .”
Many enterprises run into this conundrum when it comes to customer experience. They talk a big game about their resolve to master the discipline of customer experience but then let existing organizational structures, budget priorities, and operational processes provide excuses that limit progress.
Today, I published a new report, “The Convergence Of Brand, Customer Experience, and Marketing,” in which I lay out the new paradigm for the connection between these three disciplines. I also offer three roles for the CMO to play in aligning brand, CX, and marketing — a strategic imperative that CMOs must take on or risk irrelevance in a world driven by the customer’s needs and wants.
"A central technology hub that allows marketers to manage every interaction between the company and its customers as they progress along the customer life cycle."
There is a diverse group of vendors vying to become customer life-cycle marketing systems (CLCMS) providers, in large part due to demand from marketers to reduce complexity in their technology roster and help them make the shift from the marketing funnel to a customer life-cycle-driven discipline. Friday's not-especially-unexpected news from Oracle further reinforces the conclusions in our report. The press release succinctly makes the point:
"The addition of Responsys extends Oracle's Customer Experience Cloud, which includes Commerce, Sales, Service, Social, and the Oracle Marketing Cloud. By bringing together Responsys and Oracle Eloqua in the Marketing Cloud, for the first time CMOs that support industries with B2C or B2B business models will be equipped to drive exceptional customer experiences across marketing interactions and through the customer lifecycle from a single platform."
After one of the biggest announcements in the marketing technology space of 2013 — Salesforce.com's purchase of ExactTarget — few were surprised to see the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud feature prominently at Dreamforce last week in San Francisco. But the real headline grabber was the introduction of Salesforce1, a cloud-based platform for what the company calls the "Internet of customers." We've got a deeper look into the implications of this for marketers for Forrester clients, but some of our key takeaways were that Salesforce:
Gets the age of the customer and what it means for their products. CEO Marc Benioff spoke at length about the "customers behind the devices" and the importance of engaging with those individuals, rather than the things they use to connect to the Web. We are in what Forrester calls the age of the customer, where "the most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers." The Salesforce1 vision is to be the technology engine behind those firms — and the announcement takes a big step in that direction.