Marketing Clouds Pull Away
As mentioned, Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe all separated themselves from the other vendors Gartner evaluated.
Frank noted two reasons: “We saw an advancement in the vision dimension with events like Salesforce acquiring [DMP and past Magic Quadrant participant] Krux and some acquisitions Oracle did.”
The other reason is that many of these marketing clouds are better integrated now. “The biggest change is a year’s worth of effort on the integration front and creating more seamless experiences for the marketer,” Frank said. “That’s solidified the value proposition of getting these components from a single source.”
Not that these companies don’t have room for improvement. Gartner noted that Adobe’s stack is overcomplicated at times and that the integration of Salesforce cloud components is still a “work in progress.”
Oracle also has integration issues, according to the Quadrant: “Oracle's digital marketing hub product integration strategy must be applied to both Responsys and Eloqua, which means duplicate effort and uneven integration maturity.”
DSPs/DMPs Fall Back
Last year, Gartner qualified Turn, MediaMath and DataXu as visionaries – good strategy, but lacking the ability to execute. This year, that script has flipped. All three DSP/DMP hybrids found themselves in the challenger category, which means Gartner thinks they can execute but isn’t really enamored with their strategies.
Frank said pressures in the ad tech sector are forcing Turn, MediaMath and DataXu to choose between doubling down on their core advertising business or extending into adjacent areas, such as data management.
“These companies have, more often than not, focused on their core business,” Frank said. “They’ve scaled up their capabilities, worked on simplifying their UI, which has increased their ability to execute.”
But that decision means these vendors can no longer talk as aspirationally about being a complete solution for data-driven marketing across all channels.
New Players Push In
Two companies elbowed their way into more competitive spots. First, Nielsen went from a niche player to a challenger – and almost a leader. This growth was thanks to its acquisition of the eXelate DMP and the subsequent emergence of its marketing cloud product.
“Nielsen certainly has come a long way since it acquired eXelate and sought to integrate it into a marketing cloud that brought together the best of Nielsen data with eXelate’s programmatic niche,” Frank said.
Nielsen’s data ecosystem, processing capabilities and media measurement capabilities were all strengths. And its biggest weaknesses related to its marketing cloud being late to market compared to competitors, creating a limited track record of success. Also, clients gave mixed reviews to Nielsen Marketing Cloud.
The other surprise was the little-known Zeta Global, which improved in its ability to execute and completeness of vision. Last year, it was a niche player, but this year it is a visionary, according to Gartner.
“They are a bit of a stealth player, and they’re also a company that has done a lot of acquisitions over the last couple of years,” Frank said. “They don’t have a long history of building organically, but with the companies they’ve acquired, they’re assembling a puzzle that’s compelling.”
Zeta got big marks for value and client support, as well as for specific functions like cross-device management.