Cross-channel campaign management tools such as those offered by IBM, SAP, and RedPoint Global have come a long way in the past two years, according to a review of leading solutions by Forrester Research. When Forrester did its last Wave report on the segment in 2012, customer insights (CI) managers said that what they wanted from these solutions was the ability to deliver a consistent message across channels. The providers provided: 75% of the hundred or so users polled by Forrester said their vendors had answered the challenge.They also showed improvement in storing complete interaction histories and retargeting.
Now they just have to make it easier for marketers to apply these competencies to multistep, triggered campaigns. Asked to name the biggest challenges they’d face in the coming two years, CI professionals said they needed to become proficient in more sophisticated methods being demanded by the marketplace.They want to be able to personalize messages based on behavior, make real-time adjustments, and accurately measure the results of these increasingly complex campaigns.
Because users of campaign tools tend not to be technology pros, the challenge for providers is creating easy-to-understand UIs for more complicated campaigns. RedPoint Global, one of four companies singled out by Forrester as sitting at the head of the pack, provides a drag-and-drop interface that allows analysts to use Hadoop without any knowledge of MapReduce. Infor, another high scorer, received Forrester’s nod for its strong real-time content and personalization capabilities. Adobe and SAS were also rated in the top echelon.
SAP received kudos for building a campaign management tool on top of its Hybris commerce platform, but missed making the first tier because its current offering lacked the workflow and interface integration needed to facilitate cross-channel triggers and offer optimization.
The companies that Forrester chose not to rate might say more about current standards for cross-channel campaign management than the ones they did. Offline integration is crucial to the practice in Forrester’s view, and providers weren’t rated if their software didn’t support at least three offline channels. StrongView and Sitecore were eliminated for this reason.
SaaS isn’t always best. A number of prospective buyers of cross-channel campaign management tools told Forrester that they preferred on-premise software options. Because of security or cultural limitations within their companies, they were not able to purchase software-as-a-service solutions. Exit ExactTarget, Marketo, Zeta Interactive, and Silverpop.
As cross-channel programs continue to proliferate and attain more layers, marketers will continue to demand more ease-of-use features from their software, according to Forrester. “It is easy to set up a basic one-time campaign with simple segmentation,” said one marketing service manage polled for the Wave report, “but more sophisticated campaigns are more difficult and require and experienced user.”