There are no leaders in the market for enterprise marketing management, according to Gartner Inc.
The Stamford, Conn.-based research firm recently issued a Magic Quadrant for the market and found all eight vendors lacking.
That shouldn't be surprising, given the relative immaturity of enterprise marketing management.
"It's still emerging," said Kimberly Collins, managing vice president of Gartner CRM. "There's probably less than 5% adoption."
Gartner defines enterprise marketing management as a platform that supports not just the marketing department but the entire marketing ecosystem. That includes processes within the department, as well as partners and processes that reach into other departments, Collins said.
Gartner evaluated eight vendors as part of the Magic Quadrant, which ranks technology in one of four groups: leaders, which have clients that have adopted their solutions and deliver depth and breadth of functionality on an enterprise platform; challengers, which provide marketing offerings that complement other business applications and have breadth of functionality; visionaries, which have a strong vision for developing a platform and have a broad focus on marketing functionality; and niche players, which perform well in a small segment of the market.
Gartner named Unica, Aprimo, SAS, Oracle's Siebel application and SAP as visionaries. Teradata, Infor, Alterian and Oracle's E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft applications were ranked as niche players.
Each vendor has some aspect of a marketing platform -- for example, marketing resource management (MRM) or campaign management -- though none has all the functions required to be a leader or a challenger. Therefore, companies have no choice but to purchase marketing technology piecemeal. The few organizations that have approached marketing technology from a platform perspective have typically come from one of two approaches, Collins said. Some have invested significantly in marketing technology from a tactical angle, thus leaving it in silos by product line or geography, and are now seeking to bring it together under one platform. Others have invested heavily in sales in another part of the business, implementing things like sales force automation, and are now turning their attention to marketing, taking a broader perspective.
"They've probably seen the pain of other organizations with disparate systems," Collins said.
Those prepared to make the leap to an enterprise marketing management platform should pay careful attention to how open the platform is, she said.
"Is it fully .NET? J2EE? What databases does it support?" she said. "If they have modules that come from acquisitions, are they on the same code base? It's important to see how these things are integrated."
Marketing technology vendors have generally matured from one core competency, and anyone seeking a marketing platform may have to make trade-offs in other areas, Collins said. Success will depend not just on the vendor understanding a company's processes but on the company understanding them itself.
"The real key to success in any of this is understanding your processes," Collins said. "You can't make a good decision on a solution if you don't start to document the processes and exactly what you want to do with that solution. In the past, that caused a lot of the CRM failures. People didn't define their processes before they automated them. They depended on the vendors."