Cross-channel campaign management (CCCM) tools face mounting pressure to evolve in the face of continuous, interactive, customer-led dialogue. CCCM capabilities have matured dramatically, but marketers often ask, “Are the applications resilient enough to meet the massive challenges marketing organizations face today?”

Forrester clients can see how much progress vendors have made in “The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q1 2012”. We identified, researched, and scored 12 products from 11 providers: Alterian, Aprimo, ExactTarget, IBM, Infor, Neolane, Oracle, Pitney Bowes, Responsys, SAP, and SAS. Our approach consisted of an 81-criteria evaluation; reference calls and online surveys of 156 companies; executive briefings; and product demonstrations.

We found that marketers need CCCM applications to:

  • Manage a complex array of marketing processes. The campaign design process alone is elaborate – and happily vendors provide strong, yet simple, design tools. Yet CCCM tools also aid marketers in planning (budgeting, spend management, and calendaring), analysis, tactical execution, and reporting.
  • Develop more strengths in digital and emerging media. Although most vendors have extended their applications, many client references told us that vendors need to clarify their approaches to social, local, and mobile applications, and how real-time decisioning can be applied beyond offer management.
  • Grow to become more customer-centric. Marketers can use CCCM applications to build campaigns that support cross-channel customer interactions. Yet, marketers told us their top challenge over the next two years is “personalizing messages based on consumer behavior across channels.”

Read the full report to learn more and access the vendor scorecards. Remember that the Forrester Wave scorecard also includes an interactive tool allowing users to customize the Wave model with personalized criteria weightings.

I’m now researching new approaches that could augment or potentially supersede current CCCM approaches. Please comment on this community forum thread if you are interested in participating.

While we did evaluate all 12 products on the same criteria, readers can and should look to subsets of vendors to understand the best match between their needs and the products’ capabilities. We found that vendors more clearly display their strengths and weaknesses when grouped into:

  • Marketing generalists. Applications provide comprehensive campaign management capabilities, especially with respect to online and offline integration, segmentation, and general marketing management
  • Interactive marketing specialists. Vendors – in many cases delivered as a service over the Internet – that provide integrated campaign execution focused on interactive customer dialogues.
  • Data and analytics specialists. Applications that bring deep strengths in analysis, scalability, and real-time decision management.
  • Enterprise application providers. Tools that provide strong options for marketers who must operate within broad enterprise application stacks, aligning with sales, service, and support.

Campaign management, despite its maturity, is a vibrant and rapidly evolving technology space. We could have evaluated another 10 vendors in the Wave (we mention a few notable alternatives in the research). Expect to see more entrants, new delivery models, novel combinations of capabilities, and even more consolidation (through acquisitions) over the next two years.

Let me thank the 11 vendors and 156 users who participated in the evaluation for their time, effort, and commitment. And this Wave’s publication could not have come without significant contributions from my Forrester colleagues Michelle Dickson, Dave Frankland, Caitlin Souther, and Suresh Vittal. Thank you all.