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The “on demand marketing suite” is becoming a reality October 17, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
Tags: , , , ,

For the last year and a half at Forrester, I was incubating the idea of the “online marketing suite.” Yes, I did author the Forrester Big Idea, “The Marketing Technology Backbone” in 2004 and I’m not dismissing the idea now — I still believe in the vision. I just don’t believe that most marketing organizations are ready to swallow it. There are too many barriers including the (to name a few):

  • Structure of the organization and all of the competing fiefdoms.
  • Mutual disdain that marketing and IT professionals often hold for one another.
  • Priority of short term results over long term investment for growth.

Furthermore, the enterprise marketing technology leaders in the market today only offer installed solutions that require a lot of technical manpower to implement and manage over time. These applications – like any other installed software – are hard to update so marketers, who always want the next new thing yesterday, have no choice but to cobble something together in order to get their job done. The cobbling results in more disconnected silos (data, process, etc.) which make it harder to execute seamlessly and measure effectiveness. An unfortunate cycle that marketers have a tough time getting out of…

Enter the “on demand marketing suite”   

So what does marketing need? Over a year ago, here’s what I wrote in Forrester’s Marketing Blog:

Marketers are always looking for the next thing that will help them differentiate the way they approach their audience. In my opinion, the vendor that figures out how to provide a framework that integrates the marketing process while enabling marketers to “plug in” new features, functions, and extensions will ultimately win the marketing technology race. What does this vendor need to “own”? The customer data layer, a consistent way to define and roll up marketing activities, campaigns, and programs, the marketing plan, the marketing calendar, marketing measurement, and so forth. All of the design and execution tools that leverage the customer data can fall within “the network.”

To date, Omniture has been the most successful (just look at the nearly $2B market cap – not bad for a company that has yet to turn a profit) at pushing the vision. But, while Omniture has made some recent acquisitions – namely Touch Clarity and Offermatica – which provide it some marketing execution capabilities, the company still has a long way to go before it can claim to be a marketing suite (which, by my definition, needs to support the marketing lifecycle from planning and design through execution and measurement).

It’s easy to argue that Responsys has more right to stake a claim on the suite… Away from the spotlight of the public market, Responsys has been aggressively bringing in senior talent, expanding its platform, and getting deeply involved in customer success. Then there’s Unica, which has as much (if not more) of a right to stake its claim on this space than anyone else. But, Unica has yet to really aggressively go after the on-demand “marketing suite” and seems to have spent much of the 18 months since its acquisition of Sane Solutions simply competing for Web Analytics deals. My opinion? This is THE key issue that Unica (which is pretty close Omniture in total revenue but only has a market cap of $233M) needs to address in order to get Wall Street drooling as it is doing for Omniture.

The battle is heating up

Just yesterday Eloqua announced that it had closed a $23M Series C round of venture funding (see the press release). Eloqua, which has largely focused on the high-tech sector to date, arguably has the broadest (not necessarily deep) set of suite functionality encompassing light data management, web analytics, chat, email, print, process-driven campaigns, and so on. From the press release, Eloqua is clearly renouncing its roots as a mid-market player to go after the enterprise.

Today Eloqua has more than 25 clients with more than $1 billion in revenue each – clients who need us to support them around the world with our industry-leading technology.

Eloqua will likely use this money to aggressively move into new vertical markets as well as to expand geographically. Hopefully the company will also invest in beefing up its engineering team as well. So, the marketing technology sector is heating up! But, my word of advice to players that want to be on the battlefront is to focus on two key areas:

  • On demand
  • Interactive (digital) marketing

That is where the heat will be for the next five years. During this time, I hope we’ll learn something that will help us get on track towards the ultimate vision of “The Marketing Technology Backbone.”



1. Fran - October 17, 2007

Are we comparing apples to apples comparing Omniture to Unica? My understanding is that Omniture is focused exclusively with “online” marketing. Omniture wants to offer “one stop shopping” including many tools and services that an online marketer uses in addition to web analytics.
This is attactive; one bill and one vendor. The drawback: you might like the web analytics offering, but not the bid management piece. If you choose a different vendor, you will not be able to integrate that data with other Omniture modules.

Unica seems to think a “marketing suite” should include all of marketing, not just the online channel. They call it EMM(Enterprise Marketing Management). For complimentary products and services surrounding web analytics, you must choose seperate vendors, which is not convenient. It is very nice, however, to integrate those other data sources with Unica web analytics, and report in a single GUI.

I’d welcome any clarifaction and/or insight here. Which is the best approach?

2. Elana Anderson - October 18, 2007

Hi Fran –
In the here and now I can see why you might say that comparing Omniture and Unica is apples:oranges. Omniture comes from the online world and focused on analysis and reporting. Unica comes from the offline world and focused on campaign management and marketing automation. But, fundamentally, both companies are slowly marching toward solving the same problem. That is: providing a more comprehensive marketing application suite.

That’s what Omniture Genesis is all about (BTW, one of the Genesis campaigns featured my research report on The Marketing Technology Backbone). To its core web analytics platform, Omniture has added key word optimization, site optimization (via Offermatica acquisition), and interaction optimization (via TouchClarity acquisition). Through the partner network, Omniture supports integrations with email marketing, data enhancement, online ad networks, etc. Today, Omniture is focused on the online and interactive channels which is where the heat is and where they should focus. But don’t dismiss a longer term vision of bridging online and offline…

You’re right, Unica preaches the EMM vision (which is very well aligned with The Marketing Technology Backbone). And Unica’s legacy is in analytics and campaign management – enabling high volume direct marketing operations. At Forrester, we divided the Enterprise Marketing Platform (synonym to EMM) into four key application categories: Marketing Management, Brand Management, Relationship Marketing, Interactive Marketing. I’ve spent enough time with Unica to know that they take a similar view. In order for Unica deliver on its own EMM vision (Unica’s strongest capabiity currently is in Relationship Marketing), the company leaders know that they need to devlier a strong Interactive Marketing solution. That’s what drove the aquisition of Sane Solutions last year. But, as I pointed out in my post, Unica needs to convince investors that it can successfully (and competetively) deliver an on-demand interactive marketing solution while continuing to sell and support premise-based software and drive towards the larger vision. A tall order for a mid-sized company.

I hope this helps.

3. Zenobia Godschalk - October 18, 2007

Hi Elana,

I’d like to invite you to also check out Marketbright. They’re ex-Oracle folks, with a former Salesforce.com guy on their board. They have a very strong relationship and integration with Omniture (http://www.marketbright.com/tmm/?5761), and also with SF.com, which enables customers to get an entirely on-demand, robust solution that clearly surpasses traditional lead generation, management and analytics systems. Unlike competitors, Marketbright is focused purely on the marketing side, letting their partners like Omniture focus on analytics, so that each can build the best solution in their respective arenas. Would love to hear your feedback on these guys.


4. Steve B - December 5, 2007


For me, the key message to EMT providers is in the entire second paragraph of your comments above… “Furthermore, the enterprise marketing technology leaders in the market today only offer installed solutions that require a lot of technical manpower to implement and manage over time… ”

As a marketing professional in a large multinational, multi-divisional corporation, I can authenticate your words to the letter. Getting IT time to manage complex installed EMT is not only time consuming, it’s costly and significantly reduces the ROI for marketing initiatives. And for us, even more important is the fact that installed technologies generally means we have to “tailor our marketing processes to fit the tool…” when we already have some well-defined, tried and proven processes that we want to “port” into the technology to make them more efficient.

To that end, we see the future to be the “easily customizeable” (that means by business people) on-demand tool and I concur with your assessment of the current space — having been engaged with all of the companies you mention above.

Of course, our challenge then becomes helping our supply management and IT folks understand the difference between “installed, licensed” applications and “true on-demand” ASPs and helping our business risk analysts accurately assess the risk involved in on-demand applications. I mention this because it’s important that companies in the on-demand space also understand that system availability is a critical part of that risk assessment and there needs to be a willingness to assume some responsibility/risk when on-demand systems are not available for businesses that rely on their technology.

That’s my 20¢ worth from my seat in the house.


5. Elana Anderson - December 11, 2007

Steve –
Thanks for your feedback and your affirmation of many of my comments. I sense perhaps a little frustration with your internal IT folks;-) It’s true, marketing probably struggles more with IT than most business groups but technology is so important to the future of marketing that we have to figure out how to get the groups to work more effectively together.

I am going to be doing some additional work to drill down on the thinking here. I will reach out to you offline and to schedule some time to chat about your experiences in more detail.


6. Marketers, Welcome To 2008! « NxtERA Marketing Blog - January 8, 2008

[…] Significant emergence of on demand marketing technology. Tired of dealing with internal technology groups? Well, some good news for marketers on the technology front. The on-demand marketing technology sector is heating up and more viable (yet still not comprehensive) software-as-a-service options are emerging to help marketers plan and organize their activities more effectively, design and launch multichannel campaigns, and measure results. For more insight on this one, see The “On Demand Marketing Suite” Is Becoming A Reality. […]

7. Michael Fung - May 22, 2008


I came across your Blog and was really impressed with your insight!

I work for a marketing agency that specializes in optimizing sales and marketing. We leverage marketing automation, crm and our business process consulting expertise to make it all work then cover it with strategy, programs, creative and execution to drive LEADS that grow revenue.


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