“It’s the biggest transition since Gutenberg invented the printing press,” said Jeremy Epstein, Sprinklr’s volubly enthusiastic VP of marketing.
He was referring to the new “macro-reality” which he views as the reason Sprinklr exists. “Customers are more empowered than ever before, which fundamentally changes the relationship customers have with brands. Marketing has moved from an era in which it was focused on specific channels, to an era in which what’s crucial is a “unified view of the customer.” The challenge now is to provide “a relevant experience that customers will love, regardless of the channel.”
Sprinklr seeks to be a comprehensive–indeed holistic–platform to provide just that experience. It bills itself as “the most complete social software company in the world,” but as far as Epstein is concerned we can “drop the word ‘social.’ It’s about customer experience management, across all the siloes and channels we’ve built up over the last hundred years.”
By way of background, Epstein sketched three ways in which businesses can attempt to meet the challenge of the empowered customer. One is to aggregate a “bunch of point solutions”–isolated tools for social listening, analytics, and publishing and distributing content. Another is to rely on one of the “traditional big dog vendors.” The trouble with that strategy, said Epstein, is that it means relying on an architecture built for a different era. “They put a bunch of legacy solutions in the cloud.”
The third option is something like Sprinklr’s “Experience Cloud,” a solution which sits on top of existing legacy systems, plugs into all channels, and works across the business siloes.
Forrester gave a strong endorsement to Sprinklr this week, giving it the highest score for current offering among social relationship platform leaders. The Forrester Wave™: Social Relationship Platforms, Q2 2015 found that Percolate, Spredfast, and Sprinklr currently “lead the pack,” while high profile contenders like Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce “lag behind.”
“Sprinklr offers more features than any other vendor we evaluated,” the report says, while questioning some of the company’s “lacklustre” acquisitions.
The Experience Cloud
The best way to understand Sprinklr’s offering is to see it as a network of interrelated products built around a core solution:
- Social Experience Core
- Social Media
- Content Lifecycle
- Paid Advertising
- Website FPX (first party experiences)
Customers can take an à la carte approach to the modules, but they’re designed, of course, to work together. “Sure, there’s a maturity curve,” Epstein agreed. There are some things customers might not need immediately, but ultimately, in Epstein’s view, the elements of the solution will be needed to work together.
Sprinklr’s core is a functionality allowing access to social conversations, customer data, content, analytics and governance settings, all within the same tool. It’s easy to see how the Social Media and Listening pieces of the product interract with the core. Social Media’s customizable dashboard permits users to analyze and respond to brand-related conversations across more than twenty channels (a portfolio which includes the major social platforms, with plans to add Pinterest this week. Sprinklr is also looking at using call center logs as a data source and listening engine). The Listening & Trend Discovery tool can be used to surface mentions and keywords and identify brand advocates and influencers.
Content Lifecycle adds the experiential element to the mix, allowing the creation of campaign calendars which are shareable across the enterprise, as well as with agencies. This is where draft content templates sit, and where budgets and goals can be set.
Website FPX is about consistency, allowing users to manage the customer experience across a range of touchpoints: website and mobile publishing, customer care, market research, etc., while tracking each engagement with each channel back to a unified customer profile.
Paid Advertising simply means managing paid and earned social media inside the solution which manages the whole social experience.
The User Experience
Despite the evident comprehensiveness of Sprinklr’s approach to social media and marketing, there has been negative commentary in the past about usability and time to implement. According to the Buyer’s Guide to Enterprise Social Media Management Software published by TrustRadius earlier this year, users felt the interface could be “more intuitive.” A common sentiment found both in the TrustRadius report, and online in previous years, is that implementing and learning to use Sprinklr isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile.
Epstein confesses, “Three years ago, we were not the most beautiful user interface ever. The CEO’s vision was to focus on building the most powerful engine.” Concentrating on “horsepower,” it was sometimes hard to go back and re-engineer useability after the fact. The launch of a new interface in 2013 was designed to address the issue, and now, Epstein says, some of the most iconic brands when it comes to design comment on “how great it is.”
Initial implementation is partly a question of customer maturity, although Epstein agrees that Sprinklr also has a responsibility, when it comes to training and support, to understand the customer’s business needs.
Sprinklr is an enterprise-scale solution, ripe for companies with $200 million and higher revenues. Epstein estimates that 70 percent of its customer base are in the billion dollar plus revenues segment. But he breaks down the need for Sprinklr in simple terms:
- Do you have more social accounts than you can count on the fingers of two hands?
- Do you have more people working on social management in your company than you can name?
- Do you need to address more social topics every day than you can possibly do manually?
It’s easy for small businesses, of course, to answer yes to one or more of those questions, but Sprinklr’s basic pricing likely puts it out of their reach.
Company Name: Sprinklr
Headquarters: New York, New York
Categories: Analytics, Marketing Cloud, Ad Tech, Social Media Management
Describe Yourself: Sprinklr is the most complete enterprise social media management technology in the world, purpose-built for large companies to drive business outcomes and manage customer experiences across all touch points. Called “the most powerful technology in the market” by Forrester, Sprinklr’s fully integrated social experience management software powers more than four billion social connections across 77 countries.
Headquartered in New York City with almost 700 employees globally, Sprinklr is revolutionizing customer engagement for almost 800 of Fortune’s top enterprise brands, including IHG, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, and Virgin America, and partners like Accenture, Havas, and Razorfish. For more information, visit sprinklr.com or tweet us at @sprinklr.
Main Competitors: Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce.