Just Published: The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q2 2017

Rusty Warner

I’m pleased to announce that we have just published The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q2 2017. This evaluation includes 12 vendors that address RTIM, which Forrester defines as: enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

Vendor capabilities have evolved since we published our first RTIM evaluation in 2015, and the new report recognizes 5 leaders – SAS, Pegasystems, Teradata, Adobe, and IBM – all with unique technology approaches to address RTIM requirements. Salesforce, FICO, Pitney Bowes, Infor, and Emarsys are strong performers. And, Rocket Fuel and IgnitionOne are contenders, representing emergent RTIM capabilities for advertising use cases. The continued convergence of martech and adtech will further drive use cases for both anonymous and authenticated customers as the RTIM space evolves.

Not only are we seeing vendors apply RTIM to advertising and customer acquisition strategies, but we are seeing deeper integrations with sales, service, and operational environments to better address up-sell, cross-sell, retention, and loyalty requirements. We are further seeing customer-initiated interaction volumes increase dramatically as brands strive to personalize content and offers across an ever-expanding range of channels and touchpoints. In addition, this year’s evaluation includes criteria for artificial intelligence and emerging IoT capabilities.

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Landscapes, Portfolios, And Point Solutions (Oh, My!)

Rusty Warner

If you’re a marketer struggling to decipher the complicated marketing technology landscape of more than 5,000 vendors – and show me a marketer who isn’t – then I have some good news for you. It won’t be as easy as following the yellow brick road, but you can begin to make sense of today’s seemingly infinite array of enterprise marketing technology (EMT) offerings.

Two of my research areas at Forrester are Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) and Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM). I field myriad inquiries on both, as they are critical, confusing, and conflated in terms of technology and vendor overlap. While CCCM primarily focuses on automating marketing-driven campaign strategies for outbound channels, and RTIM primarily focuses on next-best-action strategies for customer-initiated interactions via inbound channels, both rely heavily on systems of insight (customer data and analytics) and systems of engagement (automated content and interactions). And both cover multiple inbound, outbound, digital, and offline channels.

CCCM is evolving as marketers strive to align highly personalized marketing campaigns with customer-initiated interactions to drive deeper levels of engagement throughout the customer life cycle. I addressed this evolution in The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q2 2016, which featured 15 leading vendors. Since the CCCM space is much broader, earlier this year I also published the Vendor Landscape: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, and it adds a further 32 vendors to the mix, categorizing them as enterprise, small, or regional players, and reviewing capabilities such as vertical expertise or content management.

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Real-World Feedback on Real-Time Interaction Management

Rusty Warner

Have you ever felt like this…

Our vendor has some great capabilities that we are not leveraging, but I would place the blame on us.

Well, you’re not alone. That’s actually a direct quote from one of the 74 customer references we surveyed for the Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015. In general, we found that most customers are deploying real-time capabilities across only a few channels today. The most prevalent real-time interaction management (RTIM) use cases? Web personalization and dynamic email content are well ahead of other deployments, in use by 62% and 60% of survey respondents, respectively.  Decision management for contact centers and eCommerce recommendations are next in line, but the former may not be connected to digital channels, and the latter may leverage its own set of tools. Real-time mobile app deployments are surprisingly few – 8th in our list of digital and off-line channels – but by far the highest number of respondents (49%) plan to add mobile capabilities.

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The Enterprise Marketing Technology Landscape - Simplified

Rusty Warner

We’ve all seen comprehensive diagrams featuring hundreds of vendor logos across multiple marketing technology categories. So, when tasked with mapping the technologies required to deliver contextual marketing, I decided to simplify things. For more details, see my new report “Combine Systems Of Insight And Engagement For Contextual Marketing.”

Forrester has defined broad “systems of X” categories that include systems of record, design, operation/automation, insight, and engagement. The latter two lend themselves to the enterprise marketing technology landscape.

Real-time analytics and insights drive the contextual marketing engine (below), and these tools fit squarely into the systems of insight category. Customer data bases and big data repositories fuel the engine, and as customer behavior refreshes them frequently, they, too, are systems of insight (as opposed to more static systems of record).

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Let’s Get Real – Introducing The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015

Rusty Warner

When I published the Market Overview: Real-Time Interaction Management back in May, I highlighted more than 100 vendors that provide real-time interaction management (RTIM) solutions or solution components.  I outlined in that report how enterprise marketing technology vendors address – to varying degrees – all five RTIM requirements: customer recognition, contextual understanding, decision arbitration, offer orchestration, and measurement and optimization. My Brief: Demystifying Real-Time Interaction Management provides further details and defines RTIM as enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

I’m now pleased to announce the publication of The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015, which provides a detailed evaluation of eleven enterprise marketing technology vendors in terms of their RTIM solution capabilities. This 35-criteria evaluation includes a diverse group of vendors that address a broad range of RTIM capabilities: Adobe, Experian, IBM, Infor, Oracle, Pegasystems, Pitney Bowes, Salesforce, SAS Institute, SmartFocus, and Teradata.

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The Real-Time Interaction Management Space Is Dizzyingly Fragmented

Rusty Warner

Back in February, I published a brief on Demystifying Real-Time Interaction Management, where I reviewed evolving requirements for building a contextual marketing engine, capable of engaging empowered customers across real-time channels. These requirements include: customer recognition, contextual understanding, decision arbitration, offer orchestration, and measurement and optimization. 

As promised then, I have been researching the RTIM space, and you can now read my latest report Market Overview: Real-Time Interaction Management, published last week. In this market overview, I look at four distinct – yet all critical – approaches to RTIM:

1.      Enterprise marketing technologies address all five RTIM requirements, though offerings vary widely by vendors who focus on enterprise marketing software suites (EMSS), cross-channel campaign management (CCCM), marketing automation, business process management (BPM), customer relationship management (CRM, and loyalty programs.

2.      Advanced analytics is a prerequisite for successful RTIM execution, addressing all requirements except offer orchestration.  The broad analytics spectrum includes customer profiles, predictive models, and digital intelligence for web analytics, tag management, and identity management.

3.      Digital marketing solutions address personalization for websites and social media channels, and include advertising technologies such as data management platform (DMP) and demand-side platform functionality for paid media targeting and re-targeting.

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Decisions, decisions...

Rusty Warner

We all know that empowered customers expect brands to deliver contextually relevant experiences based on their individual preferences for content, timing, location, and channel(s). How do customer insights (CI) professionals decide the appropriate course of action – not just for a single customer, but for all customers? How do they then execute on those decisions and measure the impact? Systems of engagement like Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) provide answers.

Forrester defines RTIM as: Enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints. In my latest brief “Demystifying Real-Time Interaction Management,” I explore evolving RTIM requirements.

The five keys to implementing RTIM as part of your contextual marketing engine are:

1.      Customer recognition - Engagement based on individual identity resolution

2.      Contextual understanding – Persona analysis with real-time behavior and external data

3.      Decision arbitration – Next-best-action based on advanced analytics

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