After hitting on Business Intelligence, IaaS and Web Content Management, Gartner next takes on Marketing Resource Management with its Magic Quadrant series. Spotlighting vendors who are Leaders, Niche Players, and Visionaries, the latest edition underscores companies with the best ability take advantage of their resources, solidify a vision and show off their assets. Here’s some insight on the current market along with a breakdown of those running the show.

The State O’ Things

In terms of overall environment, Gartner's latest report shows Marketing Resource Management (MRM) is a quickly developing area of expertise, with more encompassing business requirements, demand for next-generation functionality and widening global terrain. Gartner defines MRM as “a set of processes and capabilities designed to enhance a company's ability to orchestrate and optimize internal and external marketing resources.” The focus of MRM is segmented into five arenas by the group, specifically: strategic planning and financial management; creative production management; digital asset, content and knowledge management; marketing fulfillment; and MRM analytics.

While already heavy in traction throughout Europe, 2011 saw a distinct rise in MRM investments in North America, and the piquing of interest in Asia/Pacific and Latin American regions. On top of that, a majority of vendors increased overall revenue, and, across midsize to large companies, implementation was up 26%. There was a good mix between those who executed strategies with internal staff as opposed to professional services through a vendor, and the majority took six months or less to execute their initiatives.

Gartner predicts the next stage of MRM expansion will manifest three ways:

  • Global expansion
  • Increase in number of users within a region
  • Broadening MRM capabilities across the five areas of MRM competency

Further, with smaller vendors, Gartner has forecast the field is ripe for acquisitions, and, particularly with growing investment opportunities and the need for a high level of sophistication, many are likely on the horizon. The research study identifies several large players anticipated to enter the market including Adobe, EMC, HP, Microsoft and Xerox.

One Step Ahead: A Look at the Leaders

To be a leader in this field, obviously you must be hot stuff. “Leaders,” according to Gartner, demonstrate exemplary performance, deliver breadth and depth of integrated functionality, and extend global implementations across marketing organizations. Additionally, leaders successfully articulate business propositions that resonate with buyers.

Here are the chosen ones.

IBM

Why’s it a leader? Broad MRM solution and growing traction, planning, budgeting and production management capabilities

Strengths: IBM brought in US$ 106.9 billion in revenue in 2011, and reported 21.7% growth for its Enterprise Marketing Management group from 2010 to 2011. It also significantly extended its reach into new markets, and advanced a system of workflow capabilities, including life cycle management, rule-based routing of department approvals, Adobe markup enhancements and localization provided for nine new languages. Not stopping there, this year, IBM has planned for more sophisticated portals, mobile MRM and visual management, along with the addition of vertical capabilities to retail and CPG clients enabled by its acquisition of DemandTec. Across the board, the global conglomerate has expanded and improved upon its vision.

Cautions: By directing most attention towards on-premise services, IBM has put SaaS on the backburner, and some clients have taken notice and are looking to alternative solutions. The likely outcome? SaaS shifts to the the IBM cloud, and clients either adapt or go elsewhere. On another note, IBM lacks extensive development in marketing fulfillment and functionality, two significant segments of the MRM core. Gartner suggests capitalizing on its recent partnership with Saepio Technologies for collateral customization and localized marketing capabilities, and upping capacity for the life of a production. Lastly, IBM needs to pull in some better B2B clients if it wants to compete in the long run.

Orbis Global

Why it’s a Leader? Broad MRM vision and capabilities, and growing expansion and market traction in North America

Strengths: Orbis Global made significant headway last year in North America, even moving its CEO to California. With a growing staff and more expansive focus, its pipeline and traction are rising, and its customer base more than doubled in the Q411. Offering comprehensive solutions across all five MRM competency areas, it additionally doubled its resources, and boosted 2012 plans with a focus on improving functionality across the suite, better integration with social media, mobile management, and Salesforce.com. The company primarily supports multitenant and separately hosted models, but aims to pursue on-premises support for its larger targets in the U.S. Expounding upon its original form, last year, Orbis Global even came out with tailored editions of its prototype. These specialized issues are Advanced Financials, Advanced Production and a Premium version, which includes all the basics plus marketing financials and art build.

Cautions: Orbis Global will have to get its on-premises solution on point to draw in bigger clients. Otherwise, it’s a small vendor with less than US$ 10 million in revenue, and it might be one of those snatched up by a larger corporation looking to build an empire. Competition looming, Gartner expects increased consolidation in the MRM market over the next three years, and as Orbis Global also struggles with market visibility, a more aggressive approach towards flexing its muscles is necessary.

SAP

Why it’s a Leader? Broad and robust set of MRM capabilities and improved execution

Strengths: SAP’s got momentum others are lacking, drilling home marketing licenses, and bringing in more than seven marketing-application-driven wins from companies that were not even on its slate. Gartner goes so far as to suggest the company could be the No. 1 CRM application sold by SAP in 2012. Its focus on innovation and digital asset management has also set it ahead of its peers, fully supporting media life cycle management and marketing fulfillment, and channeling attention to key areas such as data, analytics and support for advertisers. Most impressive, SAP has stepped forward to conquer the analytical challenge, enabling some of its partners to take control of "big data," and embed key insights for CMOs into its marketing application.

Notes Gartner,


The Marketing Factory road map powered by SAP HANA: includes real-time customer analytics, real-time planning and optimization, and real-time marketing automation.” Its also building alliances to provide for cross-media analytics, integration with SAP CRM this year, and collaboration between corporate marketing and agencies."

Cautions: SAP provides several pricing options for customers, however it has not branched into on-demand services by including an SaaS option within its functionality. As it stands, SAP CRM for marketing can be deployed on-premises or as a hosted, single-tenant solution. Less flexibility for workflow, and risk that OpenText, which SAP relies on for DAM integration and marketing fulfillment, could be acquired, make SAP less desirable in the market.

SAS

Why’s it a Leader? Broad and robust set of MRM capabilities across the five competencies and its vision for next-generation MRM capabilities

Strengths: Though privately-owned, SAS brought in US$ 2.43 billion in revenue in 2010, acquired Assetlink and added more than 50 MRM customers, with an estimated profit growth between 20% and 25% last year. Accruing its minions, more staffing increases are in place for 2012, and capabilities have expanded, along with addition of SaaS capabilities, which were lacking prior to the acquisition. Along with the increase in headcount, SAS also added features for marketing operations management, including a new visual, drag-and-drop marketing workflow tool, a media annotations device, and executive dashboards for budget and spend information. Faster, slicker, and more scalable, most browsers can now support SAS’ platform, and its profound understanding of CMO and marketing technique allows it to think deeper than its competitors to provide more advanced solutions and plan ahead for the future. Coming up are next-generation capabilities and industry innovations, with an additional emphasis on human capital management.

Cautions: While the Assetlink acquisition improved its marketing fulfillment, SAS still has trouble keeping pace with the rapidly advancing MRM environment and rising need to manage assets across a diverse set of channels. It’s not alone, as Gartner points out, most broader vendors are being trumped by the likes of Elateral, Saepio and Thunderhead. Fortunately, as SAS has a partnership with Saepio, it’s time to call in some favors and close the gaps. Gartner indicates SAS also needs work in areas of product integration and SaaS. While it does offer marketing operations management on-premises, and a hosted or SaaS solution, a complete set of MRM capabilities is not available via a multitenant SaaS model. Lastly, SAS is still mostly known for being the analytical guy, not MRM. To reel in better deals, a PR campaign may be in order.

Teradata (Aprimo)

Why it’s a Leader? Broad and deep solutions, MRM experience, client maturity and continued market traction

Strengths: Another bigwig, Teradata (Aprima) is massive and global, earning US$ 1.689 billion in revenue through 3Q11. In 2011, Teradata (Aprimo) added more than 30 MRM customers and expanded its software subscriptions with an additional 70+ customers. By acquiring Aprimo, it was also able to reach developing markets in Asia/Pacific and Latin America. Probably demonstrating the most well-rounded implementation strategy of the bunch, Teredata (Aprima) proved itself in all five competency areas, offering two mature products for On Demand/SaaS architecture, and single-tenant architecture, which can be hosted on-premises. After acquiring Aprimo, Teredata spent most of its time and investment on integrating products and improving mobile access. As far as 2012 goes, it looks like the plan is to up the ante on everything and anything, including marketing spend, workflow, assets and mobile.

Cautions: Teradata (Aprimo) has put less emphasis in R&D and marketing fulfillment, as compared to financial and creative production management. Given this goes against the growing interest of the market, competition becomes steep from those like BrandMaker and Vyre, who are putting more emphasis the first areas while expanding into broader MRM players. Additionally, Aprimo Marketing Studio is high-maintenance, requiring a “staged road map,” and constant attention to workflow processes. Gartner proposes a simpler solution, and also, a better bargain.

As the study points out,


Some clients and prospects have complained about pricing being high or the lack of transparency with pricing and in the negotiation process. The SOWs for services have been particularly troublesome from some clients' perspectives, mainly those that require ongoing customizations for the solution in terms of workflow and reporting."

Cut a deal and call it even.