Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Advertisers and the companies running their marketing campaigns rely more and more each day on data analytics to analyze trends, find opportunities, determine what spending works best and what customers are buying or wanting.

So says research firm Gartner, and Cary-based {a href=”external_link-1″}}SAS continues to be a leading player in what is called “customer resource management.”

In its latest so-called “Magic Quadrant” report on multichannel campaign management (MCCM) that analyzes players in the CRM multichannel campaign management business, SAS ranks among the leaders. The market is a growing one, Gartner reports, and SAS is one of the few firms that are positioned to capitalize immediately on opportunities.

“By 2014, customer service, Web analytics, content management and social CRM vendors will take more than 40% of the market share for campaign management,” Gartner says.

SAS ranks highly due in part to what customers had to say. Gartner notes that SAS “delivered what was promised ‘without storytelling.’”
But SAS faces some strong competition for that business, Gartner warns.

“Marketers continued to shift investments from mass-marketed, one-channel, one-way, company-driven campaigns to multichannel, measurable, interaction-driven campaigns,” the Gartner analysis says. “In addition, most of the vendors in this Magic Quadrant showed double-digit growth in 2010 and were profitable.”

IBM-Unica, Teradata-Aprimo and Oracle (Siebel) also are ranked among the leaders in the quadrant. IBM bought Unica, Teradata bought Aprimo and Oracle acquired ATG as the market consolidated.

SAP is listed as a challenger. Nine other firms are listed as niche players.

SAS contends that its “Customer Intelligence” platforms enables customers to “execute campaigns that instantly adapt to customer interactions in real-time, with one integrated platform for inbound and outbound marketing.”

Gartner reports that industry consolidation through several acquisitions is toughening the customer intelligence marketplace. SAS made a deal of its own to protect and expand its CRM turf in February with the purchase of Assetlink. It also was a “Magic Quadrant” leader.

“SAS continues its leadership positioning in the MCCM Magic Quadrant for its campaign management wins, with a strong analytics focus on campaign management,” Gartner says in the report. “SAS should be on the shortlists of marketing departments that want advanced analytics within MCCM.”

Gartner points out that campaign management is a big revenue producer for SAS – and it’s growing with $300 million in revenue last year. That was a jump of 15 percent from 2009 for the $2-billion plus company and predated the Assetlink deal.

The research firm praised SAS for its “good basic and advanced functionality for campaign management as well as strong advanced analytics capabilities.”

The deal for Assetlink should boost SAS in the business-to-business market, Gartner added. (Read more about the acquisition here.)

Noting the new release of Customer Intelligence product in February, Gartner said it “included improvements to the vendor’s dynamic offer arbitration offering in Real-Time Decision Manager. Customer Intelligence Studio and Campaign Management enhancements included the visual selection of segments, cross-campaign prioritization capability and Assetlink integration.”

Mixing some vinegar with the sugar, Gartner also had some “cautions” for SAS:

• “References considered SAS for power-user-type work, using SAS’ advanced analytics capability, rather than for its strengths in campaign management alone.

• “The vendor needs to accelerate its digital marketing strategy, particularly around its Web analytics offerings. In addition, SAS has been slow to get adoption for its Real-Time Decision Manager (released in 2007). These should be highly visible core competencies for SAS, and should be leveraged as key differentiators in the MCCM space.

• “Consider alternatives when marketing analytics is not an organizational priority.”

SAS puts a great deal of value on Gartner reports – the good and the bad. Considering how fast the MCCM space is growing and how much revenue the business generates for SAS, the Gartner “Quadrant” is probably required reading for a lot of staff.

Read the full Gartner report here.

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