A = Analytics (or more precisely, customer analytics).

At its Summit in Salt Lake City this week, Adobe unveiled new analytics functionality for its Marketing Cloud. Taking a granular view of real-time analytics, Adobe is differentiating requirements for live stream (instantaneous) data vs high frequency metrics (10 seconds) vs current data (90 to 180 seconds) and more traditional customer analytics, such as segments (20 minutes), site visits (30 minutes), data feeds to a warehouse (1 hour), and long-term reports (days). The goal is to shift today’s reporting paradigm via more ad hoc analysis, while adding machine learning capabilities for continuous optimization.

One week previously in San Francisco, Salesforce launched Predictive Decisions for its Marketing Cloud. Focused on personalized campaign execution, the enhanced Salesforce functionality promises to empower marketers by harnessing the power of data science.  The primary components are a collect beacon to stream real-time content updates and user behavior to marketing apps, new workflow automation to trigger data-driven campaigns, and predictive decisions to personalize offers based on conversion propensity.

Both vendors are addressing enterprise marketing requirements for advanced analytics, while filling gaps in their respective portfolios. Though recognized as leaders in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q4 2014, Adobe and Salesforce lagged behind IBM and SAS with regard to customer analytics, especially predictive capabilities. At that time, we saw Salesforce slightly ahead of Adobe, with the former matching analytics scores with database powerhouses, Oracle and Teradata. Also raising the bar, Teradata announced additional analytics hub capabilities with its new Digital Marketing Center on March 10th.

So, why the focus on customer analytics – and why now? As outlined in The Customer Analytics Playbook For 2015, big data signals a step change in the availability of customer data and is providing firms with their biggest opportunity yet to understand their customers. And they need to do that based on their customers’ expectations, recognizing them across touchpoints, quickly understanding the current context, and assembling the appropriate content for real-time interaction management.

Evaluating the analytics capabilities of enterprise marketing software suites and comparing them to best-of-breed point solutions for customer analytics, predictive modeling, recommendation engines, or real-time personalization can be a daunting task. If you have questions or need advice, feel free to send me an email or set up an inquiry to discuss your requirements. Or, if you will be at either Forrester’s Forum For Marketing Leaders in New York (April 14th and 15th) or Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders in London (April 29th and 30th), please say hello or request a one-to-one meeting.