Why integrated social suites are failing marketers

The argument for an integrated marketing suite has yet to be made, yet most marketers think a social suite is the way to go.

Most enterprise technology eventually converges into a suite, as it did with ERP. Integration hassles, management headaches and training challenges arising from a mishmash of best-of-breed solutions drive frustrated enterprise software buyers to the suite life -- but not in marketing tech, at least not yet.

Marketing tech suites have come under fire lately for failing to deliver on their promises. Less than half of enterprise marketing software suite customers are "totally satisfied," a Forrester report found. Now Forrester has taken dead aim at a specific kind of marketing tech suite: social suites from Adobe, Salesforce and Sprinklr.

These suites combine social listening, social reach, social depth and social relationship tools. Separately, though, the tools grade out poorly against their best-of-breed rivals. In a Forrester brief, analyst Nate Elliot didn't mince words, saying, "Adobe can scarcely compete in most social technology categories" and "Salesforce's once-impressive social tools have fallen behind" and "Sprinklr's suite contains just as many misses as hits."

In the world of enterprise tech analysis, that's a major slam. Suite vendors will surely counter that the great benefit of a suite is that the sum is greater than the parts. In other words, the benefits of integration outweigh the performance differences between individual tools. But social suites fail to deliver even on this promise, Elliot says.

Three social suites strikes

Elliot points out suite vendors' many integration missteps. He cites Salesforce's inability to integrate Buddy Media with Radian6 successfully, forcing Salesforce to pivot and build Social Studio from the ground up. Adobe customers found Adobe Analytics' integration with Adobe Social so poor that they turned to other analytics programs, he says. And Sprinklr customers complain that Sprinklr still hasn't integrated key features of Dachis Group software even though a year has passed since the acquisition.

Pouring more fuel on the fire, the central argument for an integrated marketing suite hasn't been made.

"Social tools don't benefit from integration with other social tools anyway," Elliot says. "Just because social ads, Facebook pages, and branded communities are all called 'social' doesn't mean they have much in common. Each targets different users on different sites with different messages to drive different behaviors."

The next ERP?

If a social marketer asks technical colleagues for advice, they'll probably get an earful about ERP as a shining example of the benefits of an integrated suite. Should ERP be compared with marketing tech? At this year's MarTech Conference in San Francisco, venture capitalist Neeraj Agrawal at Battery Ventures had this to say about the suite vs. best-of-breed debate:

"Marketing tech is actually a unique segment within all of enterprise software, in my mind. One of the unique aspects is, this market really favors best-of-breed. In all other software segments, there's actually a structural advantage to buying an integrated suite. You wouldn't go buy a general ledger system and an AP system from two different vendors. You wouldn't do that; it wouldn't make any sense; you need an integrated system. But in marketing, you want to buy the best social system, you want to buy the best AB testing. Why? That incremental conversion lift matters. It drives dollars."

Nevertheless, most marketers still think a suite is the way to go.

"More than two-thirds of avid social marketers believe it's more effective for them to buy all their social tools from a single vendor than to buy social point solutions from several different vendors -- but they couldn't be more wrong," Elliot says.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing

As a Marketer, the ‘Scotty from Marketing’ meme troubles me.

Natalie Robinson

Director of marketing and communications, Melbourne Polytechnic

How do we break out of our marketing echo chambers?

Clients and agencies can get stuck into a particular way of behaving and viewing the world, but there are ways to break out of our marketing echo chamber.

Steve O'Farrell

Managing Partner, The Royals

If you think it can benefit both consumer and seller then it would be great

Simon Bird

Why Ford is counting on the Internet of Things to drive customer engagement

Read more

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Instagram changes algorithms every time you get used to them. It really pisses me off. What else pisses me off? The fact that Instagram d...

Nickwood

Instagram loses the like in Australia; industry reacts positively

Read more

I tried www.analisa.io to see my Instagram Insight

Dina Rahmawati

7 marketing technology predictions for 2016

Read more

The saying is pretty tongue in cheek. It's not saying that marketers are bad people, nor that they don't take themselves seriously. There...

LYF Solutions

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing - The CMO view - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in