In August of 2010, IBM began focusing to the higher-margin software business to keep profit growing. IBM has been building up in the space, spending more than $11 billion since 2005. Big Blue gets ample credit for being the first company to think about creating a unified digital marketing hub. Since that time, IBM has had a much more measured approach to creating a digital marketing hub, especially as its focus has been on integrating old-school marketing with the digital era. “IBM started with traditional marketing, with its integrated marketing management solutions, not necessarily digital marketing,” says Genovese of Gartner. “They start by looking at the CMO in the traditional space, then adding the digital pieces around it.”
This means IBM’s solutions look at the entire commerce chain, all the way from supply to customer fulfillment, not just focusing on marketing. It isn’t as neatly comparable to the offerings from other digital marketing clouds, but here’s what it has so far: Marketing Center: The all-in-one starting point that includes website personalization, analytics, and A/B testing. This is where custom campaigns can be created and tested. Unica: IBM’s answer to multi-channel marketing automation, but really its core strength is email marketing and Coremetrics: A collection of comprehensive analytics offerings, which include web analytics, customer profiles, campaign measurement, and social media analytics.
IBM’s solutions routinely top the lists for data, technology and e-commerce and IBM’s huge global reach makes it an extremely viable player in the field. But with its heavy focus on commerce, IBM still has one foot firmly planted on the traditional marketing side, which means it is taking longer to integrate the offerings on the digital side. This means that while it could potentially have the most comprehensive marketing, sales, and commerce solution in a few years, it is currently lagging behind the others in the pack. One point that has been noted is that Unica “doesn’t address the full breadth of digital engagement,” says Gartner analyst Jake Sorofman.
We are getting closer to our final review of who will win the war. Stay tuned and as always stay #TopRight.