Single customer view. Real-time insights. Customer engagement strategy. Buzzwords? Sure. But each one is crucial for revenue growth and more efficient marketing, and none of them can be achieved without a robust database marketing strategy. Stephanie Liu and I recently tackled the world of customer database services in two reports.

The Forrester Wave™: Customer Database And Engagement Agencies, Q2 2018 report evaluates the Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers in the category. But since it’s nigh impossible for these eight agencies to serve all marketers, we also wrote a second report, The State Of Marketing Database Services: Everything Old Is New Again. We uncovered a few truths during our nearly six months of research:

  • Data-driven marketing strategies are the new standard. More than ever, B2C marketers are collaborating with CRM teams to optimize customer relationships. Customer database and engagement agencies have used this opportunity to carve out a spot for themselves on agency rosters by keeping databases secure and compliant with global regulations, as well as creating real-time insights for marketers to act on.
  • Vendors have a vast array of approaches to data strategy. For the first time in this Wave, we asked participating vendors to complete a live data hygiene and enrichment exercise that was once standard practice for every marketing database RFP. The deliverables confirmed a suspicion we already had: Data asset ownership isn’t the competitive differentiator it used to be. What matters today is the ability to engage strategically and to help clients implement omnichannel data strategies while ensuring that the brand stays on the right side of the “creepy” line.
  • There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all database partner. Data enrichment, identity resolution, and reporting are the pillars for today’s marketing database services, but there are lots of ways to skin those cats. Creative-led vendors have strong data chops but have invested more heavily in traditional agency services, while technology-led vendors focus more on database implementation, data assets, and operations. Marketers need to take an honest, introspective look at their needs to ensure they are choosing the right database partner.

The marketing database landscape will continue to evolve as privacy regulations proliferate across the globe and as new vendors like CDPs and CIAM vendors expand their offerings, but it is clear that “old-school” database marketing is back. That means it’s never been more important for marketing leaders to choose the right partner to help manage customer data and insights.

We invite you to read both reports and reach out to us via inquiry for a deeper dive on any of these vendors or the Wave process.