2015 Predictions: Industry Analysts Will Continue to Converge the Categorizations of CRM, Marketing Automation and Big Data Technologies

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This post is based on insights from the Sailthru ebook “2015 Marketing Technology Predictions: The Future of Marketing” available for download now.

As a marketing technology company, we spend quite a lot of time talking to industry analysts about customer relationship management, marketing automation and big data. What’s interesting is that increasingly, we found ourselves talking not about developments in each individual category, but about the fact that all the categories are inevitably converging.

As these categories merge, they create an opportunity of enormous size. Eventually, this fusion will also create a big problem for legacy vendors who insist on a point of view that regards these opportunities and lines of business as separate, based on their own database limitations. That’s not where the demand is, and it’s not how analysts are going to be assessing the industry.

Historically, analysts have been able to look at functions such as CRM, analytics and mobile and drop them into their own very separate, very clean buckets. But at this point, fewer marketers are sending out RFPs for email marketing functionality and nothing else. To be truly useful, and to enable the marketer to implement a strategy that will help him or her to be effective in an omnichannel future, that email marketing functionality has to be accompanied by all sorts of data, analytics and CRM. And it has to work no matter which channel a customer chooses to use to engage with a brand.

For analysts, it will no longer make sense to write about and advise on all of these tactics separately. They will instead favor a framework that helps modern marketers understand what’s going on, and that helps them figure out what to buy. If analysts can’t talk usefully about email management without also talking about CRM and big data, they’re going to consider all of these tools as parts of a whole, not as ends in and of themselves. 2015 is the year we will see this shift come to pass.

Neil Capel, CEO & Founder of Sailthru

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