Guest Post: Altimeter’s new Analyst on Digital Marketing Suites, Andrew Jones

Jeremiah: Please welcome Andrew Jones, as a guest poster on the Web Strategy blog.  I worked with Andrew for many years at Altimeter, if you’ve read my research reports, you’ll often find him on the byline as a researcher involved in my work on social business, social media management systems, and more.  Andrew has showed fantastic research chops, derives insights, and is growing his capability to forecast future markets.   While I’ve moved on from Altimeter a month ago, I remain a friend of the firm (and on the board of advisors) and wanted to help showcase the new talent that’s rising, esp during these transition periods.  Please show Andrew the same warm welcome that others have shown me, as he now covers the digital marketing space and more.   In the following post, Andrew spells out the future of the growing digital marketing suite, which we see the large enterprise software players building. Andrew, the floor is yours…


Building the Digital Marketing Suite 
Apple World by Andrew Jones (bio, twitter, the full post is here on the Altimeter blog)

Salesforce, Oracle, and Adobe are all building “suites” for cross-channel customer engagement through a series of acquisitions and integration with their existing offerings (see Figure 1). Among the components, each has bought marketing automation players as well as various social media tools. Having a complete social offering is a big part of this, but it’s also about integrating social with other customer engagement channels for the best data, targeting, and contextualization. The result: a technology suite that goes beyond just social, designed to entice CMOs with one-stop shopping convenience.

Figure 1: How Three Companies Are Creating Digital Marketing Suites
Component Salesforce Adobe Oracle 
Social media monitoring Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Radian6) Adobe Social (Adobe SocialAnalytics) Oracle SRM (Collective Intellect)
Social media management Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Buddy Media) Adobe Social (Efficient Frontier / Context Optional) Oracle SRM (Vitrue & Involver)
Social media advertising Salesforce Marketing Cloud (social.com) Adobe Media Optimizer (Efficient Frontier) N/A for now; on product roadmap
Marketing automation & multi-channel targeting Salesforce ExactTarget Adobe Campaign (Neolane) Oracle Eloqua
Analytics & insights Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Radian6) Adobe Analytics (Omniture) Oracle SRM and OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition)
Content marketing No internal component, but integration (e.g. Kapost) Experience Manager & Creative Cloud Compendium
Enterprise social network Chatter N/A, although has built collaboration into Marketing Cloud Oracle Social Network
Data & CRM Salesforce No CRM, but has Omniture DataWarehouse and data connectors into partner solutions Oracle Database (plus Siebel), Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, Oracle Commerce

It should go without saying that this chart is not an exact comparison and that line item “components” vary in complexity; the degree of integration also varies significantly.

What does the future look like with Digital Marketing Suites?

Beyond the obvious benefits of integration, like fewer tools and logins, and platform security that come from an integrated suite, there are four impending changes that marketers should watch closely:

1. Internal and external social networking on a single platform

In SMMS, collaboration features are mostly limited to basic workflow (tag, flag, annotate, route). Yet as social permeates an organization, the need for internal communication through Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) becomes necessary to plan and react to external engagement. Companies with installed ESNs are also eager to tap and evolve internal employee engagement and direct it toward external conversations for purposes like providing customer support and employee advocacy.

2. Company-wide utility—this is not just for one department

Most SMMS address one or two departments’ needs well, yet we found that companies today are likely to have up to 13 departments involved in social. Because each department has different use cases and metrics, these suites are looking to address the needs of many departments rather than just the one or few primarily addressed today. Marketing is central, but other stakeholders are increasingly being involved.

3. Customer relevance and targeting (Social CRM)

The growing need for a common view of customers’ social profiles and social behavior data is also driving a move to suites. Several SMMS vendors have focused on customer identification and targeting from the outset—but few integrate well with marketing automation and enterprise CRM systems in order to know and target customers based not only on social data, but all relevant customer data. This has been a long-term promise and the customer journey keeps getting more complex, but Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle have all been especially focused on this of late.

4. Bigger sticker price and IT involvement

The average enterprise deal size for SMMS has steadily increased over the past few years, rising from $76k last year to deal sizes of what we typically see today in the $100-150k range. This reflects a growing ability to spend on social software where there is perceived value. These larger Digital Marketing Suites will naturally be more expensive, and because these suites are larger in scale and require greater care to be “plugged in” correctly, marketers will need IT to be more involved than it has been in decisions like SMMS, which marketing departments have often been able to buy and “install” completely independently.


  • Pingback: #marketing Guest Post: Altimeter’s new Analyst on Digital Marketing Suites, Andrew Jones | canal marketing()

  • I’m not tracking with you. Your grid almost makes it seem like the 3 are about equal. Oracle is a year ahead or more than SalesForce and Adobe will never come close. It’s now #CX – Customer Experience and Oracle spent I believe almost $2 Billion in last 20 months building out the Customer Experience suite.

    I thought you’d talk more about where it’s going. Social Media is not the focus. that fad is long over. It’s the journeys prospects/customers take along side the journeys the people/departments in an organization take and along all the channels and devices and physical locations that the best software is trying to track now.

    I don’t have any interest in Oracle, just from studying all the enterprise options out there, they are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition at the moment. SalesForce will never catch-up. The architecture and logic of their software is sales focused at it’s core so it can never be customer centric, it’s sales centric. Microsoft is trying but Oracle is so far ahead.

  • altapeterson

    Great info. I imagine that, as smart and necessary as it is, getting more departments and stakeholders involved can be rather painful for a marketing team!

  • Andrew Jones

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment – these are valid questions.

    The table included here has a very large scope and the degree of integration varies a lot. To tackle social specifically, yes, we’ve heard from clients that integrating these acquisitions has been slow. Some have also voiced concerns that the process of integration means innovation has slowed.

    1. Your point about governance and security is an interesting one. A company wants the technology to be secure, but the more platforms there are to move data between, the greater the room for cracks. For example, right now when data is pulled out of point solutions —especially when it comes to new technology—it often gets shuffled about in excel sheets as email attachments.

    That said, the degree of consolidation also needs to be considered. There are a lot of Eloqua users who also use Salesforce. It’s unlikely they’ll all up and switch their sales database to Oracle now. Those are very large components of the marketing stack, though. How many point solutions will a CMO/CIO realistically stitch together?

    2. This is a very interesting question. Marketing tends to lead social, but there are many departments involved. Plus, social is just another channel(s) to the customer, on top of email, phone, mobile, etc. If we think about a cross-channel customer experience, do we envision SMMS at the center? Marketing automation may be an appropriate place to centralize many of these efforts, but then what about customer service, HR and other departments (and their respective customer databases)? Social is a force of change as much inside the company as for the consumer outside of it, but it doesn’t seem like the logical center-point for coordinating customer engagement.

    3. A watch that doesn’t tell time is a bad watch, even if it’s pretty. If they can’t put together a good product, it won’t matter how good data integration, security, and the rest of the story is.

  • Andrew Jones

    Thanks Mark! This is a big topic, and there’s no way to cover it all in a blog post — so yes, plenty to expand on! Comparisons are definitely not exact. Each of them is focusing on different areas, too. Agreed that social is just one part of this and that the next frontier is multi-channel integration for better customer data, segmentation, and engagement.

  • Michael Bian

    Marketing is possibly the most important activity a business can partake in.

  • Agreed Andrew and even more exciting coming down the pike, omni-channel. Keep up the good posts!