The Future of Marketing – Is Salesforce loosing against Adobe and Oracle?


The digital landscape is changing. Changing is our personal way to communicate and how we consume information. More and more is digital and marketers have more and more data about us which they can use for their marketing communication. The question is what is the best digital marketing solution?

First of all: There is no “best solution” on the market. It is possible to measure the strategy / vision, the ability to execute with the offerings or the market presence… but the “best solution” is not working if it’s the wrong solution for your business. As I wrote many times it is not about features and functions, it is about the vision a solution is following and how they can bring data together to build first of all profiles and do then predictive modelling. Bringing different data silos from online and offline together and use them in near- or real-time is a huge task for companies. Marketing is the future of sales and data are the future of marketing.

Let’s have a look on the order of topics:


Companies are working on all of these areas for sure. But do they have the right vision and strategy? Does this understand everyone within the company. Are they doing these steps in these order?

Simply spoken you can do sales without (or less) marketing or you can do marketing without (or less) data, but is this performing well or best?

The present and the future is digital driven which gives us a huge amount of data. It’s a challenge to handle, understand and use this data. This is why first of all it is not a feature and function question if it comes to the point to decide for a marketing software solution. Most important is to understand which data still exist and which vendor can help me to:

  • bring these data silos together
  • understand these data
  • make the data usable for as marketing software

This is the point where you should think about a Data Management Platform (DMP), a Business Intelligence (BI) and a Demand Side Platform (DSP) solution. How can they work together / be integrated and do they perform well if you have big data with a need of real-time usage? Is this mix of systems scalable?

If this points are all checked then a marketer can change his from from what his company wants to what his target group (end-user, B2B clients, etc.) wants and needs at which time, place and format. It’s huge homework to do before starting with a digital marketing solution. Maybe not all steps can completed before starting with the marketing solution, something will be done parallel. If you do so make sure everything will work together later on. So start with your marketing but be sure that the solution you use can be connected with the Data Management and BI solution you implement later on. The proofed concept must be done first.

gartner dm hub2016

          Gartner: Magic Quadrant Digital Marketing Hubs 2016 [ref][/ref]

Let’s get to the market of Digital Marketing Solutions and which you should consider about. Gartner just give us a direction and some insight to start finding the right vendor. Integrating different systems and data silos is in general more easy if it comes from one vendor, so I would like to focus at the leaders within the Magic Quadrant for “Digital Marketing Hubs”2016. Named this are Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and Marketo.

Adobe is a set player while Oracle is coming up more and more. Adobe has a longer experience and they do have an own DSP which is missing at Oracle. Oracle comes from data handling and has a great DMP which should be compared with the one from Adobe. Certainly it’s an advantage of Oracle to have the own data cloud.

Choosing a vendor means to go together for many years. The vision and direction a vendor is moving is important, so looking back gives a feeling how they will perform in future.

gartner dm hub2014

Gartner: Magic Quadrant Digital Marketing Hubs 2014 [ref][/ref]

Adobe strengthen his position while Oracle is following. Salesforce in the meantime is loosing a bit of his ability to execute.

The big winner for me is Marketo who has a huge grow in vision. They need now to strengthen their ability to execute.

IBM, as a software vendor in this space, lost massive. As known they acquired the agencies Resource/Ammirati, and Aperto in 2016. Whith this acquisitions IBM iX is the biggest digital agency in the world. Looks like their focus hast changed. It’s funny to see job postings from IBM where they are looking for people experienced with the Adobe solution.

Also interesting is to compare the Gartner with the Forrester view. How is the shift at Forresters Wave between 2014 and 2016? How many vendors are shown? …?

ForresterWave EnterpriseMarketingSoftwareSuite 2014 ForresterWave EnterpriseMarketingSoftwareSuite 2016
Forrester Wave “Enterprise Marketing Suites Q4 2014”
Forrester Wave “Enterprise Marketing Suites Q2 2016” [ref][/ref]

Personaly I am focusing more on Gartner, but I like to see the third dimension “Market presence” within the Forester waves. This must not mean anything. Having a big presence means that a company needs to satisfy her clients much more then the big ones, they must fight for each single prospect / client. You can get a much better support and more help to tailor their solution to your needs.

In a nutshell

Oracle did a huge step forward within less then 2 years while SAP stays where they are. I expect that this will change next year because of their strategy with SAP-XM (read more here).

Salesforce is at Gartner and Forrester a leader and both shows that Salesforce is not moving to much. This is not fair I think. Salesforce is an important player to think about. With their CRM system they have a very interesting set of data. This is the same point which goes, with different data, to SAP. As I said the future of marketing is data. So both, SAP and Salesforce, should be on your focused vendor list if you already use them and the data stored their are useful for your sales & marketing strategy.

Salesforce just (June 2016) acquired Demandware (e-commerce platform) which will be for sure not the last acquisition. What about Salesforce if they will be acquired by Oracle for example?

Following Forrester it looks like Marketo has lost his strategy direction, which is exactly the opposite shown by Gartner. Vista Equity Partners (private equity firm) acquired Marketo in June 2016, so it needs to wait and see what will change and what’s their strategy in future.

This is just a snapshoot of a massive change in a fast paced industry. Stay tuned what changes today and tomorrow in the way we do marketing and which acquisitions will come up!


If you like to read more details about each vendor just what the reports from Gartner and Forrester directly.

Gartner: Magic Quadrant Digital Marketing Hubs 2016

Forrester: Enterprise Marketing Suites Q2 2016 (Here’s the reprint for free)


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