The community platforms market has been heating up for the past few years.  Today, there are more than 100 vendors in the space, and we evaluated the top 5 in our most recent Wave: Lithium, Jive, KickApps, Telligent, and Mzinga.*

When we started this research, we spoke with many interactive marketers to understand what they look for as they assess community platform vendors.  Through these conversations, we determined that some of the criteria has evolved since the last time we looked at the space, and so our evaluation has placed a greater emphasis on: 

  • The vendors’ specific focus on interactive marketers as key customers for their business.
  • Strategic and technical services offered by the vendors.
  • Intuitiveness of the tools and administrative console for less- or non-technical users.
  • Ease of deployment for marketers who want to minimize their dependence on IT resources and timelines.

Our research revealed a maturing market with vendors beginning to differentiate their offerings.  Particular features and functionality — rich profiles, moderation tools, forums, commenting, etc. — are table-stakes, so other lines of demarcation are being drawn, like marketing-focus, enterprisewide social tools, and self-service widget building.

If you’re a Forrester client, you can read the full report here. As with all Waves, the document comes with a customizable tool that will let you see the full details of the criteria we considered and plug in your own weightings according to your unique needs.

Also as with all Waves, this was a collaborative effort so I’d like to thank everyone involved:  the vendors who participated, Forrester’s Wave team, my colleagues on Forrester’s Interactive Marketing team — and an extra-special shout-out goes to Jenny Wise and Angie Polanco for keeping me on track and on schedule.  Thanks everyone!  


*Pluck initially qualified for inclusion in the Wave too, but they’ve filed an S1 and are in their SEC-mandated quiet period, so they were unable to participate.