Marketers lean on their enterprise marketing software suites to deliver on lofty promises: cross-channel campaign management, analytics, automation, personalization, customer journey mapping, testing and optimization, customer insights and the list goes on. Marketers need this powerful engine to be well-integrated with other systems and data in order to complete these Herculean tasks.
Unfortunately, less than half of enterprise marketing software suite customers are "totally satisfied," a Forrester report finds. This isn't a resounding endorsement for a piece of technology that plays a critical role in a company's digital marketing fortunes.
Is the suite life enough?
The idea of an enterprise marketing suite sounds alluring to marketers bombarded with daily marketing tech pitches. Simply put, marketers don't want to be stuck stitching together a mishmash of best-of-breed tools. They want to deal with as few vendors as possible. Suite vendors, too, are continuing to add standalone components and creating richer, fuller tool sets.
[ Related: What is data-driven marketing? ]
But is it enough?
"A vendor's ability to provide multiple products as part of a suite is one of their key purchase criteria," writes Forrester analyst Rusty Warner in the report. "On the other hand, [marketers] are skeptical as to whether a single vendor can supply all of the capabilities they need."
The larger problem with suite vendors is that integration with other business systems and data isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Data integration was the number one improvement area marketing technology platform customers cite when asked how their marketing cloud vendor can improve its offering, Forrester says. Specifically, marketers are looking for common data and analytics capabilities across modules and ease of integrating data from existing sources.
Marketers must look in the mirror
Of course, marketers have only themselves to blame for the hodge-podge mess and integration challenges now facing them. They often made marketing tech purchasing decisions without consulting IT or other business leaders -- or, at least, with little input from them. As a result, there are redundant tools, unused tools and a poorly thought-out technology stack. One out of four marketers have not added more capabilities from their enterprise marketing software suite vendor beyond the original bundle, Forrester says.
[Related: For marketing pros, digital equals dollars ]
Even worse, they're kind of stuck with it.
"Isolated technology decision-making is a risky practice, given the difficulty in adopting alternatives after initial implementation," says Warner. "[Enterprise marketing software suite] customers list high costs, extensive customization, and tight integration with existing technologies as the top three barriers that prevent them from switching vendors -- so they are better off aligning with the right strategy from the get-go."
This story, "Digital marketers face a suite challenge" was originally published by CIO.