I recently posted about the coming battle between Adobe and IBM for the global marketing spend in a world where we can count all the breadcrumbs of our digital interactions. Or as I said in 2006: “every act of “consumption” generates metadata you could build a business model on.”
Soon after I wrote the CMO post IBM pinged me tell me a little more about its own strategy in this area. Job one – integrate its Coremetrics and Unica acquisitions into a coherent, integrated product set. Big Blue launched the resulting product, The IBM Coremetrics Web Analytics and Digital Marketing Optimization Suite, July 15th. The offering is SaaS based so it should be easier to integrate, extend and roll out new features to customers at scale, at speed, than traditional on premise System of Record software. Unica provides campaign analytics, while coremetrics brings the analytics side of the equation. For an Adobe comparison see the Adobe Online Marketing Suite.
But this post isn’t so much about the technology, as the framing behind it. Because while the tools may be converging, Adobe and IBM have very different visions for the space.
IBM is very clearly in System of Record mode. It describes its own play as a kind of ERP for marketing, enabling marketing to do a better job of managing its digital supply chain, to drive better engagement at customers. This is worthy goal.
But Adobe, while it also wants to go after the CMO (and has hopes if not pretensions for an ERP-like play itself), has a more human feel to the story it tells. Adobe’s platform after all comes with all of the company’s user experience baggage in train. Adobe’s tools are about optimising the customer and user experience (UX), which benefits the marketing department. Adobe has UX in its DNA. IBM – not so much.
In my opinion we need to put the user first, and Adobe is further ahead in that regard. Serve the user and marketing wins. Serve marketing however, and the user may not.
disclosure: both firms are clients.