Adobe and IBM lead digital marketing platforms field: Ovum

First report into the six enterprise IT vendors vying for the digital marketing platforms market claims two are in the lead, yet suggestsvendors are comparable in terms of features

Adobe and IBM are leading the enterprise digital marketing platforms market as a host of traditional IT and marketing-oriented vendors tussle for CMO mindshare, Ovum claims.

In its first report on the end-to-end digital marketing platform landscape, the analyst group evaluated the brands, products and services of what it classified as the top six ‘mega-vendors’ targeting the CMO or head of digital.

Ovum found Adobe to have the strongest proposition from a CMO perspective, while IBM is strongest from a CIO/IT perspective ahead of Oracle, SAS, Salesforce and Teradata. The six vendors were chosen due to their relative size, share of influence and IT spend among large enterprise customers, and strategic commitment to developing digital marketing platforms and associated services.

Yet despite Adobe and IBM having a short-term advantage over the pack, Ovum claimed all the vendors listed are “relatively comparable” in terms of product set. As a result, Ovum senior digital marketing analyst and report author, Gerry Brown, advised CMOs and heads of digital to not over-emphasise features and functions when evaluating platforms.

“These are fast and easy for other vendors to replicate,” he said. “Focus more on the vendor’s strategic fit to your business, including the quality and depth of relationships and a share vision for the future of modern marketing in a digital world.”

Brown told CMO SAS and Teradata are the smallest of the six mega-vendors, each with approximately $US 2.7bn in annual revenues and over 10,000 employees. At the other end of the scale, IBM has annual revenues of $106bn and employs over 430,000 staff. Customers of these mega-vendors are typically among the top 5,000 companies worldwide, with annual revenues in excess of $1bn.

"The six vendors are all making a strategic 'big bet' on digital marketing, having invested billions of dollars in their market plays. As such, they are unlikely to back down and exit the market," he said. "This is important from an end-user perspective, as a digital marketing platform needs to be part of a long-term vendor–customer partnership.

"Enterprise clients can expect the mega-vendors to continue to invest in digital marketing platforms and put in place a strategic roadmap to drive these investments."

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Ovum claimed Adobe is the only mega-vendor that currently boasts maturity from a partner perspective, while IBM is the only brand to really grasp the triumvirate vendor-CIO-CMO working model, Brown said.

“Enterprise customers need to form strategic business relationships with their digital marketing vendor partners, so shared values and mutual trust are imperatives,” Brown said.

“Marketing in the future will need to act and react in real-time. Vendors will have their work cut out to become more fleet of foot and agile in operations, rather than just5 product acquisition. It’s essential that vendors mirror the way marketing is now operating within their enterprise clients.”

Criteria used by Ovum in determining the enterprise digital marketing platform

Ovum also stressed the importance of vendors looking to provide a unified IT and marketing solution, adding a partner ecosystem of advertising agencies, marketing services providers, management consultants and systems integrators was key.

Brown said information in the report was sourced from interviews and discussions with senior executives within both the digital marketing mega-vendors profiled, their industry peers and enterprise buyers of digital marketing platforms from a range of industries. The key recommendations and themes have been tested and validated with the author's own industry network.

Ovum also considered SAP and Infor as potential candidates for the study, Brown said, as both have digital asset management, CRM, and campaign management products, but did not ultimately include them because neither has a dedicated digital marketing play.

"However, SAP looks set to play a larger role in this market following its recent acquisition of Hybris," he added.

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