Nine trends are driving the MCCM market in 2015:
- Need for unified access to data: MCCM vendors increasingly focus on supporting multichannel marketers that want more data at the point of action. Therefore, some MCCM vendors provide, or are evolving, hub functions. A digital marketing hub seeks to provide marketers with unified access to previously disconnected areas of anonymous audience profile data, along with connections to content and common analytic functions, to inform multichannel campaigns and interactions.
- Multidimensional segmentation: These techniques and capabilities group audiences based on multiple attributes, along multiple dimensions. Traditional attributes focus on products: Who has bought, and who would be likely buyers. Newer groupings focus on profitability and techniques for moving segments into more valuable ones. Others focus on grouping personas, life cycles and lifestyles. All vendors have some segmentation capability. Several vendors focus on their strength in utilizing multiple approaches in segmentation.
- Real-time capabilities: Customer engagement drives marketing today. To engage customers, marketers don’t just need to understand who they are, they need to understand what they want at the time they want it. Therefore, vendors continue to focus on real-time capabilities like multichannel event triggering, in-line predictive analytics and real-time decisioning to understand the customer’s context, determine how best to interact with the customer across channels, and spot and react to events that provide an opening for marketing (such as approaching a store, an upcoming renewal or an intent to purchase).
- Ease of use: With each new tactic, channel or data source, multichannel campaigns grow more complex. Marketers look for approaches to simplify operations, allowing “access to the complexity” without dumbing down the application. Vendors have responded by making their applications more visually appealing, with functions like drag-and-drop in-line segmentation, A/B testing and channel selection along multichannel campaign processes.
- Performance and scalability: Marketers do not want to hit a wall with functionality and performance once they get moving with executing multichannel campaigns. Gartner’s surveys find that MCCM reference customers see performance/scalability as a top consideration for vendor choice.
- Need for speed: Marketers often don’t have months to set up applications. Gartner’s surveys find that MCCM reference customers see speed of implementation as a top consideration for vendor choice. Some applications can get marketers up and running in weeks at lower costs, and are becoming popular with digital marketers setting up a few digital channels to get moving.
- Mobile: Marketers have realized that mobile technologies will play a key role in many of the above trends, including customer engagement, real-time marketing and even commerce. Accordingly, MCCM vendors all speak to mobile marketing needs; however, most are paying lip service and offering relatively basic functionality, such as push notifications and SMS capabilities, typically provided by third parties.
- Commerce: Marketers are taking on more responsibility for revenue and profit from digital commerce. Digital marketing increasingly focuses on driving commerce results. A few MCCM vendors have responded by tying their applications more closely to e-commerce engines. In some cases, vendors tie MCCM to their own commerce engine; in others, vendors connect with engines from a range of providers.
- Customer experience focus: Many vendors in the MCCM market are leveraging marketers’ focus on improving the customer experience. The last 12 months, in particular, we have seen areas like campaign creation functions renamed to customer journey tools, or applications themselves renamed as customer experience platforms. We see this focus as healthy maturity, and a needed approach in the MCCM space. However, areas such as inbound and outbound campaign integration, still siloed channels like social and mobile, and lingering blast processes (send email to a segment, wait three days, send another) mean some vendors will run the danger of little customer experience substance outside of their product name.
Gartner For Marketing Leaders clients can read more of our findings and evaluation criteria here. Our Multichannel Campaign Management Magic Quadrant will publish shortly.