If you’re a marketer struggling to decipher the complicated marketing technology landscape of more than 5,000 vendors – and show me a marketer who isn’t – then I have some good news for you. It won’t be as easy as following the yellow brick road, but you can begin to make sense of today’s seemingly infinite array of enterprise marketing technology (EMT) offerings.

Two of my research areas at Forrester are Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) and Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM). I field myriad inquiries on both, as they are critical, confusing, and conflated in terms of technology and vendor overlap. While CCCM primarily focuses on automating marketing-driven campaign strategies for outbound channels, and RTIM primarily focuses on next-best-action strategies for customer-initiated interactions via inbound channels, both rely heavily on systems of insight (customer data and analytics) and systems of engagement (automated content and interactions). And both cover multiple inbound, outbound, digital, and offline channels.

CCCM is evolving as marketers strive to align highly personalized marketing campaigns with customer-initiated interactions to drive deeper levels of engagement throughout the customer life cycle. I addressed this evolution in The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q2 2016, which featured 15 leading vendors. Since the CCCM space is much broader, earlier this year I also published the Vendor Landscape: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, and it adds a further 32 vendors to the mix, categorizing them as enterprise, small, or regional players, and reviewing capabilities such as vertical expertise or content management.

RTIM is also evolving, fueled by investments in cross-channel identity resolution, digital intelligence, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence. I published our inaugural Forrester Wave™ evaluation on RTIM in 2015, and I’m currently working on the new version – to be published in June. In the meantime, check out the Vendor Landscape: Real-Time Interaction Management, which details multiple vendor categories in this complex space, including: enterprise software, personalization, recommendations, and customer analytics.

Another common link between CCCM and RTIM is that they are often components of larger EMT portfolios, such as those I highlighted in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q2 2016.  Keep in mind that EMSS vendors provide portfolios, not platforms. There is no off-the-shelf, fully integrated, 100% complete marketing stack. That’s why I developed Complement Your EMSS With Best-Of-Breed Point Solutions. This report includes a detailed spreadsheet of 62 EMT components, organized in 8 categories. It shows how EMSS vendors address these 62 requirements with their own offerings and with whom they partner to cover portfolio gaps – as well as the best-of-breed point solutions available for each component. And, for avid fans of Forrester Wave™ evaluations, the report cross-references 41 of our detailed vendor analyses.

The goal of these reports is to help you cut the EMT market down to size so you can more efficiently and effectively evaluate potential solutions. So, if the marketing hype about marketing technology has you clicking your heels and wishing you were home, I trust this research will prove useful to you. If you have questions, feel free to send me an email or set up an inquiry – or request a one-to-one meeting if you plan to attend Forrester’s Digital Transformation Europe 2017 summit in London in June. If you are considering enterprise marketing technology investments and want to discuss priorities, challenges, or vendor capabilities, we’re here to help.