Yesterday SAP formally launched its hybris Marketing Solution, hailing it as “the industry’s first contextual marketing platform.” Customers will welcome the new functionality, which SAP has highlighted in roadmap presentations during the past year.  Claims of being first-to-market, however, fall short. First to offer an analytics suite for marketers? SAS Institute may disagree. First to leverage marketing analytics with eCommerce? IBM may challenge the claim. First with an enterprise customer data management platform? Teradata has offered data-driven marketing for years. First to integrate marketing with sales and service? Oracle and may have differing views. Even marketing vendors that SAP lists as launch partners – Adobe and Marketo – would likely disagree with SAP’s first-mover claims, for both B2C and B2B environments.

All 8 of these vendors are integrating technologies to address contextual marketing requirements. And all come to the market with different strengths based on their respective backgrounds, as we addressed in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q4 2014. Beyond the functionality of their own platforms, all are building enterprise marketing ecosystems that enable organizations to integrate data and analytics with marketing and advertising technologies to automate insights-driven customer interactions.  Though not first, SAP is certainly raising its game with a more comprehensive marketing suite and third party integrations. Its vision of enabling one-to-one, contextually relevant experiences across all channels throughout the customer life cycle is a priority for customer insights (CI) professionals (see Forrester’s survey of Cross-Channel Campaign Management users).

SAP’s focus on marketing was inevitable. As it points out in the launch materials, SAP is: “Enabling our customers to deliver contextual, consistent, and relevant experiences regardless of channel or device throughout the customer journey. This includes marketing.” SAP is acknowledging what businesses have already recognized: marketing plays a critical role in the age of the customer, and CI pros must collaborate with their business technology (BT) counterparts to integrate the right marketing technologies. By releasing a platform that integrates customer data and analytics with eCommerce, campaign orchestration, social media, and advertising, SAP provides another – if not the first – suite of options in the enterprise marketing landscape.

Feel free to send me an email or set up an inquiry to discuss the marketing technology landscape. If you are considering enterprise marketing software investments and want to discuss vendor capabilities, we’re here to help.