Suite or Best-of-Breed? New Research Report Finds Neither Digital Marketing Approach Addresses Cross-Channel Data and Technology Challenges

CHICAGO – January 20, 2015 – In the long-running debate over suite versus best-of-breed solutions, marketers are divided down the middle, according to an independent research study released today.  But regardless of how they build their technology “stacks,” marketers say neither model solves the key challenge of how to gather, merge and activate their cross-channel data.

The study by Winterberry Group and the IAB found that marketers are increasingly demanding interoperable tools that will help them reach the holy grail of seamlessly harnessing and deploying customer engagement data across devices and channels.  Signal, a global leader in real-time, cross-channel marketing technology, co-sponsored the study entitled Marketing Data Technology: Cutting Through the Complexity.

“Marketers are on a journey to unlock the power of their data by unifying it across desktop, mobile, CRM, email, point-of-sale and more.  Their vision is to create a seamless experience for customers, but many brands are stuck in first gear because of the complex and difficult task of connecting massive amounts of fragmented data,” said Mike Sands, Signal’s CEO.

Among the key findings in the study:

  • Complexity is the norm. Enterprise marketers on average use more than 12 distinct toolsets to support data-driven marketing efforts.  A notable minority (9 percent) regularly work with 31 or more.
  • Platform integration is a key hurdle. More than 60 percent of marketers said better integration of existing tools would help them derive greater value from data.
  • Marketing technology is data-dependent. The most commonly used toolsets – such as analytics platforms powering audience segmentation and predictive modeling – rely on a constant feed of consumer data to perform well.
  • Cross-channel marketing is an unrealized goal. Less than half of marketers are leveraging data and technology for key cross-channel initiatives such as targeting, engagement and measurement.
  • Organizational siloes hinder integration.  Within the typical marketing organization, five stakeholder groups – including digital, analytics, media-buying, loyalty, and direct marketing – utilize different tools.
  • Interoperability has become critical.  Along with scalability and real-time processing of big data, it’s a top criteria driving future technology purchases.

“This new report confirms that marketers are in early stages of their evolution toward a cross-channel future. They’ve invested significantly in an expanding array of sophisticated toolsets, but there’s a maturity gap. Regardless of whether marketers choose suite, cloud or independent solutions in their stacks, fueling these technologies with cross-channel data requires an integrated data layer as the foundation,” said Marc Kiven, Signal’s Founder and CEO.

Signal’s Fuse Open Data Platform is the only solution built for the express purpose of solving these challenges and closing the maturity gap.  It offers a cross-channel data foundation that empowers marketers with any type of stack to build a single view of the customer.

“Fuse streamlines and simplifies the gathering and centralization of data from web, mobile and offline channels,” Kiven said. “Signal merges fragmented customer data and activates data to deliver the right personalized message across relevant channels – all at a real-time pace.”

To download the study, please click here.

About Signal

Signal is the global leader in real-time, cross-channel marketing technology.  Signal’s Fuse Open Data Platform helps marketers collect data from any offline or online source, synchronize that data across all consumer touch points, and deliver it to any marketing or analytics endpoint – all in real time. The platform is ecosystem-neutral and helps data and marketing technologies work better together, driving increased engagement, loyalty, and conversions.

Signal’s technology runs on more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries. Our platform facilitates billions of data requests monthly, supporting top brands around the world that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Audi, Crate & Barrel, JetBlue Airways, Starcom MediaVest Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more. Visit to learn more and follow Signal on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Originally published January 20, 2015

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