The story of enterprise marketing software suites (EMSS) is one of relentless expansion. Originally conceived for its namesake — marketing — EMSS has grown to offer a consolidated source of marketing functionality spanning customer engagement, advertising, measurement, and resource management. This breadth and depth make EMSS the center of gravity for many firms’ martech stacks. And the expansion isn’t stopping anytime soon, as EMSS vendors continue to extend their capabilities into analytics, content management, data services, and customer experience.

But it’s too simplistic to look at EMSS merely in terms of the category’s impressive growth and adoption trajectory. We now see significant tension between two opposing forces in the EMSS category:

  • The quest for innovation. EMSS vendors are under incredible pressure to continuously expand their capabilities to address the escalating technology requirements of marketers who are grappling with a very dynamic and competitive customer engagement environment.
  • The drive for manageable technology. EMSS vendors must maintain a stable of existing capabilities and integrate technologies to work together for marketers who are exhausted by complex martech stacks and need streamlined marketing data and applications.

The EMSS category is, in effect, confronting its own success. Following the principles of customer obsession to make technology investments is expected and appropriate, but it also has consequences. Reconciling the twin innovation and management priorities is extremely difficult, and the appropriate balance varies for different marketing organizations. This is why the Forrester Wave™ on EMSS is more important than ever. We’ve looked at the seven most important EMSS vendors: Acoustic, Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, SAS, and Zeta. We found that the key differentiators across EMSS solutions are:

  • Customer engagement vision. EMSS vendors have varying perspectives and plans for how marketing suites fit into the context of broader customer experience capabilities and strategies.
  • Data and intelligence. EMSS vendors build upon traditional execution capabilities with new data management, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • EMSS vendors continue to develop integration capabilities to connect data, workflows, and applications across their broad suites for maximum usability and impact.

The EMSS Wave is the ideal tool for mapping your innovation and tech management priorities to vendors’ strategies and technologies to determine which solutions meet your specific needs. To learn more about how these seven vendors stack up against our 40-criterion evaluation and how they differentiate, click here. I also encourage you to read “The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management (EMSS Modules), Q3 2019” by Rusty Warner for a deep dive into mission-critical campaign management features of the EMSS vendors. To hear more about our findings, reach out via inquiry.