Forrester ranks Epsilon, KBM, Targetbase as database leaders

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Epsilon, KBM Group and Targetbase topped the 2011 Forrester Research Wave assessment of US database marketing service providers. Forrester listed all three in the “leaders” category.

The report measured the top database marketing vendors against 90 criteria. Companies were gauged based on their current offering, their corporate strategy and the depth of their market presence.

Each vendor evaluated maintains a solid combination of breadth and depth of managed database customers, strategic and analytical support for clients, and interest among enterprise insiders, according to the report.

In terms of database management, Epsilon in particular was found to “frequently operate at significant scale and complexity, coupled with strong execution capabilities,” author and senior analyst Dave Frankland said in the report.

He told Direct Marketing News that the database MSP landscape has changed significantly from past years when the industry was more focused on building data silos for marketers.

“It's no longer just about building repositories of names for direct marketing purposes, but about better understanding the customer,” he told Direct Marketing News.

Forrester cited KBM Group for consistently delivering a strong service that receives great feedback from its clients. Targetbase stood out for its “analytics and strategy offering, as well as its program support and creative capabilities,” the report says.  

Acxiom, Allant and Merkle were listed in the report's “strong performers” category for “delivering compelling solutions.” The report indicated that there isn't much separating these companies from the “leaders,” Frankland said in the report.

Harte-Hanks and Quaero, which was new to the evaluation, were ranked as “contenders” based on their “competitive offerings in specific cases,” according to the report. While both companies have solid capabilities and deliver competitive solutions, they are “working to deliver a more consistent offering across their client base and more broadly replicate their pockets of success,” the report said.

Frankland said he expects new companies in future versions of the report as well.

“It's not really convergence, but there is an encroachment on traditional turf happening,” he said. “I am starting to think that there will be a large, swirling mass of companies that don't look like each other [in the database marketing space], but that will start to compete with each other.”

Forrester used a combination of vendor surveys, executive briefings and customer reference surveys and calls to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.

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