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

Latest Videos

More Videos

Are you sure they wont start a platform that the cheese is white, pretty sure that is racist

Hite

New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in