In Forrester’s Customer Insights Service Landscape 2014, Analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo writes about the bewildering landscape of service providers that marketers must choose from when implementing a marketing technology strategy for enriching customer engagement. Trends emerging in selecting vendors for optimizing marketing, she says, include:
- Requirements for Customer Insights teams are rapidly increasingly in complexity
- CI Services vendors vary widely in capabilities and scope as well as in strategic vs. tactical contributions, against a background of brisk industry change
- Many marketers are adopting a few strategic marketing vendor relationships rather than investing in a one-stop-shop solution to address everything
As if vendor selection weren’t difficult enough, marketers also face growing paradoxical challenges, with a new barrier seemingly popping up for each new application, data input, workflow implementation or customer touchpoint:
- Customers are demanding more personalization, yet more privacy
- Data sets need connecting, but that doesn’t make it easy to derive business insights
- Newer channels like mobile and social are opportunities, but sorting out emerging vendors is daunting
- Marketing and IT are collaborating more, but marketers now have to justify vendor choices
Amidst these challenges, Khatibloo stresses the importance of choosing a vendor that has not only kept up with the times, but provides a solid platform for managing data-driven campaigns, from beginning to end to next iteration.
She particularly calls out Marketing Service Providers (MSPs) for their expertise in customer identity resolution. MSPs, she writes, provide “the richest and frequently most accurate single-view customer and prospect marketing databases, along with fast access to third party data and real-time digital customer recognition.” MSPs are also lauded as the heavy lifters in CI Services for segmenting, execution and campaign management.
Khatibloo recommends that marketers choose vendors very carefully, noting that no single marketing tech vendor can provide it all, yet. Understand the level of service needed, be crystal clear about requirements in RFPs and have a single point of contact to manage vendors.
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