I’m excited to announce “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q2 2021.” The timing couldn’t be better, because the world — marketing included — has changed dramatically in the 18 months since the previous EMSS evaluation in October 2019. Unprecedented social, regulatory, and economic factors like data deprecation remain top of mind and are still unfolding, while the COVID-19 pandemic dominates our attention and decisions.

Marketing technology has been a stabilizing counterpoint to these macrotrends as emphasis shifted to digital transformation, optimizing for first-party data, and maximizing the impact of customer marketing — all of which point to the core capabilities of enterprise marketing software suites (EMSS), which Forrester defines as:

An integrated portfolio of marketing technology products that provide analytics, automation, and orchestration of insight-driven customer interactions to support inbound and outbound marketing.

After years of focusing on market share growth and brute force functional breadth, our evaluation found that the EMSS market is addressing marketers’ challenges — nay, opportunities — by finally establishing category segments to meet the varied needs of buyers: customer experience, marketing, and analytics. We’ve looked at the eight most important EMSS vendors: Acoustic, Adobe, Cheetah Digital, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, SAS, and Zeta Global. To address current and future requirements, marketers must consider three key factors that differentiate EMSS providers by:

  • Maximizing the impact of data. Marketing applications can’t be effective without access to the right data. Buyers need to look beyond marketing features and consider the suitability of each vendor’s data ingestion, data management, identity resolution, and customer profile assembly capabilities.
  • Delivering customer intelligence. Modern marketing places a massive premium on customer intelligence to guide targeting, personalization, and execution. Buyers need to evaluate EMSS analytics capabilities to ensure that they match their preferred delivery methods, users, and degree of specialization.
  • Building on a platform strategy. The architecture and technology underpinning martech systems are critical for supporting integrations, extensibility, and agility. Buyers need to review EMSS vendors’ current capabilities and roadmaps to verify that platform capabilities match their data and usage requirements.

The EMSS Wave will help you understand how these eight vendors stack up against 38 strategy, functional, and market presence criteria. Readers can also customize the Wave scorecard to reflect their own specific priorities. And don’t forget that the EMSS Wave is conducted alongside “The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management (EMSS Modules), Q2 2021” by Rusty Warner for a complete view of the campaign management capabilities of EMSS vendors. To learn more about our Wave findings and Forrester’s marketing technology best practices, please request an inquiry.