In my recent Marketing Personalization 2.0 blog piece, I spent some time talking about what I referred to as ‘cross-channel marketing execution management platforms.’ This is a technology segment that is of particular interest to me for two reasons.
First, as someone who has run integrated marketing communication campaigns that have included elements as diverse as PR, live events, direct e-mail, salesforce materials and blogs, I recognize that managing a consistent marketing campaign across mediums is tough. This is particularly the case when it comes to ensuring outbound continuity of brand presentation, while also personalizing content to the customer, and achieving comparable metrics for campaign effectiveness analysis across mediums. Getting a normalized sense of ROI remains the Holy Grail. So I think that every marketing leader has a vested interest in the advancement of the ‘state of the art’ in this technology area.
Second, related to the first point and complicating matters a bit, as marketers we are only being asked to handle and operate across more mediums over time, not less. Platform provider Eloqua claims on its Web site, “According to industry surveys, 34% of marketers cannot execute a coordinated, integrated, multichannel marketing campaign.” I hope this isn’t true, because it is a sad state for marketing if it is. Operating diversified, integrated marketing communication campaigns are a way of life, not an option. And with the explosion of social media and social networking technologies and platforms, our lives are only more complicated and fragmented. So we not only have a vested interest in this technology area, it will rapidly become the keystone for execution.
So I wanted to devote some time in this post to:
- better identifying the state of this technology segment,
- building out a ‘definitive list’ of the major providers, and
- presenting insights into their strengths and weaknesses.
But I’m hoping to do this is a collaborative fashion, and this is where I invite your assistance. Please help review my initial entries on the list and provide suggestions on who else should be included.
What do I mean by a ‘cross-channel marketing execution management platform,’ and what is the state of technology in this segment?
In my Marketing Personalization 2.0 post I framed the space in this way: “These platforms – still very much evolving as a technology space – enable continuity of program objectives, execution, experience, personalization and metrics across numerous channels.”
I like to differentiate these platforms from CRM (although they are sometimes integrated into a CRM platform). They complement CRM. Whereas CRM is primarily about centralizing and maximizing the value of customer relationships, these ‘cross-channel’ platforms are more about unifying brand marketing efforts and brokering marketing communication between brand and customer.
Many of the most prevalent platforms really only bring together mainstream electronic modes of communication (e.g., direct e-mail, Internet banner/keyword advertising and dynamic Web content) or may also support physical literature distribution and call center efforts. Unfortunately, they are not particularly good at connecting what goes on in both the online and offline worlds for a brand. I particularly find most platforms lacking in their integration with marketing events, traditional broadcast advertising and emerging social marketing technologies.
There has, however, been some impressive headway in this segment over the last two years. In fact, you know a space is maturing when Gartner decides to put together a Magic Quadrant. Gartner believes “[t]he multichannel campaign management market continues to show strong growth. Marketing automation is the fastest-growing CRM investment area, with approximately 14.7% compound annual growth rate from 2007 through 2012. This healthy growth reflects a likely temporary economic slowdown,” according to a press release from May of this year from platform provider smartFOCUS.
Who are the key players in this segment, and what innovation is at the core of their platforms?
That’s what I’m hoping to build out. I’ve cited some interesting start-ups in this space in the past, and the response — especially with suggestions for additional companies to watch — has made me think that there is appetite for getting our arms around this segment as marketers.
So I wanted to start building out a definitive list — the top 10 or 20 (or however many we come up with together) — initially evaluating compaines on these attributes:
- Company name / URL
- Key innovation
- Sample customers
- Online marketing management
- Offline marketing management
Here is the start of the list (and keep in mind, this is not yet definitive, which is where I need your help — filling in gaps in this information and adding new companies to this list):
- Key innovation: Multi-channel, customized ad serving via a “Natural Intelligence Marketing Engine” (NIME) that is able to deliver to customers only the ads they want, via their preferred mediums
- Sample customers: not available
- Online marketing management: E-mail, banner ads, ‘rich-media’ ads, mobile, in-game (future), online video (future)
- Offline marketing management: none
- Key innovation: Focus on ‘demand generation,’ particularly for B2B or direct salesforce-driven companies; continuity of measurement for both marketing response and sales conversion to better measure ROI
- Sample customers: VeriSign, USAA, Procuri, National Instruments, Franklin Templeton Investments, FairIssac, GXS, Group 1, Citrix, Captaris
- Online marketing management: e-mail, keyword/search advertising, Web advertising, microsites, SMS, RSS
- Offline marketing management: direct mail, telephone/telesales, event marketing
- Key innovation: ‘Open’ platform with strong integration between strategy, technology and execution for delivering personalized marketing interactions; both execution and resource management frameworks; focus on bridging ’emerging’ mediums and traditional mediums
- Sample customers: Accor Hotels, EMI Music, Sephora and Virgin Megastores
- Online marketing management: email, SMS, MMS, fax, dynamic Web content
- Offline marketing management: direct mail, telephone/telesales
- Key innovation: “Intelligent Marketing” platform that integrates the entire value chain of marketing decisions — from marketing research and segmentation to budgeting and planning to multi-channel execution; strong focus on segmentation and personalization for marketing communication delivery; strengths more in ‘strategic’ dashboard view and analysis, versus direct campaign management
- Sample customers: AAA, Harrods, QvC, Hilton, Manchester United, M and M Direct
- Online marketing management: e-mail, dynamic Web content
- Offline marketing management: not clear
- Key innovation: Offered on-demand and integrated with Salesforce.com via their AppExchange platform
- Sample customers: EDGAR Online, PitneyBowes, Fortify Software, CMS Direct, Ciena, AUL/OneAmerica, AnyCollege.com, Stamats, LeanLogistics
- Online marketing management: email, landing pages, web forms, web pages
- Offline marketing management: direct mail, telephone/telesales
How can you help build out this list?
What companies am I missing?
What innovation are they bringing to the table?
Who are the emerging ‘companies to watch’ in this space?
Please add to this list with your suggestions in comments…