The Changing Digital Marketing Landscape

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Conversant combines five industry leaders into one.
Conversant combines five industry leaders into one.

Companies' budgets for digital marketing are growing about twice as fast as their overall marketing budgets, Gartner's new Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management (MCCM) shows. Digital marketing now represents approximately a quarter of an organization's total marketing spending. The technology research company predicts that spending on customer relationship management software will exceed $14 billion in 2013, an increase of 7.5%.

Gartner analyst Adam Sarner says the growth of digital marketing mirrors the shift to a booming digital marketplace. Techniques such as inbound, real-time, and data-driven marketing are helping companies generate revenue faster.

“To do successful digital marketing you need an orchestrating of online and offline to fully engage customers,” Sarner says. “You can't just do one place and not the other. You see…marketers competing and trying to reinvent themselves with more of an online digital marketing capability. We're seeing [these marketers] trying to accelerate each year.”

But Sarner stresses the need for companies to adapt to this growing digital marketplace more efficiently, noting the extent of options available. “As the space is moving to digital marketing, we see a huge amount of capabilities: database marketing, advertising, email marketers, mobile marketing venders,” Sarner says. “There is no one solution.”

Another growth area Sarner noted is in content marketing. With customers consuming more content than ever before, and area such as social media, video, and mobile proliferating, companies are seeking new approaches for content marketing—and vendors are aiming to provide solutions.  “Once you start introducing digital channels, marketers are realizing very quickly that they need much more content more often in many different places,” Sarner says.

With all the growth, however, one major impediment is attribution metrics, Sarner says. Vendors are not fully answering marketers' needs in that area. “How do we go back and say, ‘This email was worth X amount to this deal?'” Sarner says. “There is imprecise guesswork to get that [now]. Users want this from vendors. It's a big deal and it's not being done well.”

In terms of vendors listed in the MCCM, IBM was ranked highest in the leader quadrant. Also in the leader quadrant were SAS, Teradata, and Oracle. According to Gartner, IBM improved its efforts in digital marketing with real-time and email marketing in addition to the rest of its offline efforts.

Last week's announcement by Salesforce.com that it plans to acquire ExactTarget, created a huge buzz in the industry, but the MCCM for 2013 stays as is. Though Gartner did not include Salesforce.com in the Quadrant, it received a mention as a notable vendor in the market overview.

“ExactTarget is on the Quadrant for 2013 [as a visionary],” Sarner says. “As it is now Salesforce brings some digital marketing to the table it may raise [ExactTarget's] execution in terms of pure revenue and mind share in the market. But getting something doesn't necessarily change anything.”

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