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Posted by Zach Hofer-Shall on July 12, 2010
The listening platform landscape is vast, fragmented, and confusing. As a result, I handle more client inquiries around vendor selection than any other single topic. Companies want to track customer conversations, monitor their brands and competitors, measure their social marketing, learn from online discussion, identify customers online, and more. And they need technology help getting there but don't always know where to turn.
To address these questions, we've just published The Forrester Wave: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010. This research is the result of nearly four months of vendor interviews, product demos, lab evaluations, reference checks, client interviews, and customer surveys. All in all, we evaluated nine leading vendors across 76 criteria, talked to dozens of buyers, and surveyed nearly 200 customers to determine the state of the listening platform market today.
This Wave covers vendors that best address an enterprise's Social Intelligence technology needs, through a listening platform's three main steps: social media data retrieval, unstructured text processing, and insight delivery. Each vendor has its own technology platform and professional services team for consulting and can scale to meet vast enterprise needs, both in a large installation-base and between different parts of the organization -- such as marketing, PR, market research, and/or customer support. We evaluated the following vendors: Alterian (SM2), Collective Intellect, Converseon, Cymfony, Dow Jones, Evolve24, Nielsen, Radian6, and Visible Technologies.
You'll have to read the full report to see how the vendors match up, but from my evaluation I uncovered a few emerging trends:
There are many, many other vendors in the landscape that also deliver quality technology and services. Due to the market's large scale and fragmented nature, I've already begun working on an accompanying landscape report that covers the broader spectrum of vendors in the space. If you're a vendor interested in participating, let me know through a comment below or a Tweet, and I'll be in touch later this month for more information.
There is much more analysis of the market within the report; if you get a chance to read it, I'd love to hear your feedback.
Lastly, a huge THANK YOU to my supporting team on this research, Suresh Vittal, Emily Murphy, and Michael Grant.
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