Squirrel Looking At Landscape Of Mountains
Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and Marketo are the top marketing hubs, Gartner found. PHOTO: Dan Cooper

Gartner kept the same four leaders in its report on digital marketing hubs this year: Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and Marketo

However, in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs released Tuesday, Gartner analysts moved Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce farther ahead of Marketo in terms of their abilities to execute.

Defining Digital Marketing Hubs

Adobe sits at the top in Gartner's execution criteria this year, breaking a virtual tie with Oracle last year.

Salesforce nipped Marketo last year but surged ahead in this week’s report. In fact Salesforce is now within striking distance of Oracle as the third-leading vendor in the “ability to execute” category.

Adobe again beat all vendors in “completeness of vision,” Gartner’s other measuring stick in its MQ reports.

Gartner said digital marketing hubs provide marketers and applications "with standardized access to audience data, content, workflow triggers and operational analytics to automate execution and optimization of multichannel campaigns, conversations, experiences and data collection across online and offline channels.”

They are often complementary to native applications within a marketing cloud or suite.

“Extensibility through published services,” Gartner researchers added, “is a key benefit of this technology.”

Gartner analysts Andrew Frank, Christi Eubanks, Lizzy Foo Kune, Martin Kihn and Jake Sorofman co-authored the report. They measured four main areas: master audience profile, workflow and collaboration, intelligent orchestration and unified measurement and optimization.

Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs

Additions, Subtractions

Gartner added seven new vendors this year:

  1. BlueConic
  2. Cxense
  3. Eulerian Technologies
  4. SAP
  5. SAS
  6. Viant Technology
  7. Ysance

And dropped six:

  1. Epsilon (Conversant)
  2. Experian Marketing Services
  3. Marin Software
  4. Rocket Fuel
  5. Sizmek
  6. Teradata

RedPoint, BlueConic and Eulerian technologies — included by Gartner’s as 2017 niche players — were also cited in Raab & Associates' new Customer Data Platform Industry Profile report released in January by the Customer Data Platform Institute. The report predicts the CDP market will be worth $1 billion by 2019.

Marketing Hubs 'Unsettled'

Gartner analysts said the digital marketing hub space is “far from settled.”

“Since no vendor can offer a closed solution, challengers can still connect to the open ecosystem, even if it doesn't rush to connect with them,” they wrote. “Moreover, when we examine overall satisfaction ratings from vendor references, we find none of the leaders in the top five most highly rated solutions.”

Each leader has “room for improvement,” according to Gartner’s customer references. This gives smaller vendors a “fair chance to win” despite being dwarfed in resources.

The leaders, however, “still have an edge on innovation and an ability to connect with clients on a strategic level.”