The Marketing Cloud Battleground Isnt Quite Set

It’s SAP’s turn to go fishing for marketing software.

“SAP really needs to step it up on the marketing side of things,” Ian Michiels, principal and CEO of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Gleanster Research, told CMSWire yesterday as SAP announced it acquired behavioral marketing cloud provider SeeWhy

“Both Adobe and Oracle have extremely compelling stories to tell, but they are largely just stories,” Michiels added. “Only a handful of clients, if any, are using comprehensive suite offerings."

Few Years Away

Some may see SAP’s acquisition of SeeWhy as more paving of the road to a marketing cloud showdown. Makes sense, right? All the big guys are gobbling up little ones to round out their marketing software capabilities. Salesforce acquired Exacttarget. Adobe scooped up Neolane. Oracle grabbed Responsys, and IBM bought Silverpop.

Locked and loaded? Not quite, Michiels said.

“I don't think we have even begun to see the battle for the marketing cloud take shape because buyers are largely invested in disparate solutions, and they aren't flocking to suite offerings -- yet,” he said. “The pain from managing disparate technologies across multiple channels will likely manifest in investments in more comprehensive behavioral marketing offerings in five to seven years.”

customer experience, Why the Marketing Cloud Battle Not Quite Set...Yet

Why SeeWhy?

For SAP, that meant acquiring SeeWhy and its behavioral marketing.

Walldorf, Germany-based SAP, which has about 67,000 employees, grabbed Boston’s SeeWhy (officials did not disclose employee numbers) because of its desire to have real-time, one-to-one marketing capabilities.

Last year, SeeWhy was awarded a patent covering its CORE in memory calculation engine, which it uses to process around 20 billion events per day as visitors interact on more than 4,000 e-commerce sites around the world.

SeeWhy considered raising a significant round of market expansion capital, but SAP came in and bought them.

SAP, an enterprise application giant, took a deep dive into customer experience management space when it bought Swiss-based e-commerce platform vendor hybris last summer. And with SeeWhy, this will continue to “build on the strength we already have as a commerce platform with hybris,” Brian Walker, chief strategy officer at hybris, told CMSWire in a phone interview this week.

Currently, SeeWhy’s 190 SaaS customers are composed of 90 percent B2C, they told CMSWire.

“The opportunity is to get a better connected experience for customers,” Walker said. “It’s really understanding and listening to how the customer is interacting, what they are clicking on, buying and putting in their carts.”

One-to-One Marketing

Charles Nicholls, founder of SeeWhy, said his 11-year-old organization has focused on the analysis of real-time data and, in recent years, the ability to target or re-target visitors who don’t buy.

“It’s one-to-one marketing based on visitors’ behavior,” Nicholls said.

Walker doesn’t see any challenges with integration. For now, he said, SeeWhy will remain as a brand, and SAP hopes SAP hybris customers will soon take advantage of the added capabilities of SeeWhy.

Michiels of Gleanster agrees on the emerging importance of behavioral and one-to-one marketing.

“It will be about facilitating incremental engagement across any channel the buyer chooses,” he said. “That might mean fewer communications to more targeted audiences. Or it could mean a whole new approach to continuing to sending email blasts.

"I wonder if the future holds continued execution of email blasts only the messages are micro-segmented and targeted so they actually resonate," he added. "Nobody wants to receive emails that aren't relevant. They are SPAM. Turns out recipients aren't as fatigued if you send them relevant messages.”

Title image by spirit of America (Shutterstock)