• Uncategorized

    Information Supply Chain

    In my research with marketing practitioners, I investigate various processes around the management of marketing information and all relevant digital assets – which process name is most relevant to a company depends on Marketing’s process maturity which I see moving through these 5 phases over time: 

    1. Chaotic. Neophyte marketers focus on their product so the first important information management process is Product Information Management (PIM) – ensuring all company output shows the most recent product data (specifications, pricing, offers, use cases, and so on).  
    2. Reactive. The added complexity of digital marketing and multi-channel fulfillment programs requires a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system – many firms must combine multiple content assets systems into a more comprehensive asset database. IT-centric projects are named Master Data Management while marketers prefer a title like Universal Content Management or Hub. 
    3. Stable. DAM/PIM becomes part of a greater Brand Content Management (BCM) process when brand governance across multiple channels (digital channels plus external channels such as resellers) is needed. The need to manage assets AND better plan/budget for all Marketing results in a more holistic/operational Marketing Resource Management process, which may include BCM.   
    4. Proactive. When marketing’s role inevitably matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a full customer experience, focus switches to attribution analytics: identifying exactly where and how marketing is contributing to revenue success.
    5. Predictive. The most advanced marketers have digital assets managed in the MRM system and combined with other business data, so that a CMO can monitor the performance of all marketing programs, campaigns and asset projects. 

    The software vendors around these processes are all challenged to promote their benefits because the success of their messaging depends on where their potential buyer is the above model. Some market beyond their product capabilities using thought leadership marketing and others sometimes sell below their full capabilities in a modular fashion to get their foot in the door. I often hear these phrases in vendor briefings:

    • “Well, we are quite a bit more than just a DAM solution”
    • “We offer a DAM and a PIM module, most of our customers use us for both”
    • “We have a PIM that helps our clients to provide a product experience”
    • “Our system is really an MRM solution, but this year, most companies are just looking for DAM”.

    I also work with a list of other vendors outside of marketing whose value proposition is more about what can be done with the content.  A company like Empolis stresses the application of artificial intelligence to the content-data in order to accelerate the solving of support  problems by call centers and service teams. The vendor Quanos has content solutions that can automatically create all those important accompanying documents for many products, such as instruction documents, data sheets and catalogues. 

    Another way of representing the management of information/data is the supply chain metaphor, where The Information Supply Chain (ISCM) would represent a chain of connected software solutions in parallel with the classic Supply Chain concept. The term ISCM was actually coined by the chief analyst, Temel Kahyaoglu, of an organisation called The Group of Analysts (TGOA), way back in 2008 here in Germany. 

    That makes sense because this area of software technology is heavy with German, Austrian and Swiss vendors successful with their products on a global basis. TGOA’s ISCM concept splits the processes, and resulting product categories, into: Information Procurement: Information Preparation; and Information Distribution.

    TGOA also had several innovative ideas about how to represent products and services with their concept of  the Market Performance Wheel. I am interested in following these methodologies further and will be working with Temel and TGOA now to further develop the concept as they relaunch their business anew. This is in addition to my work with Research in Action, B2B Marketing and other clients.   


    Always Keeping You Informed !  Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Propensity to Switch CDM Vendors

    A few months ago, I had collected together all the Recommendation Index (RI) values from my 2020 Vendor Selection MatrixTM reports on various marketing process automation topics. I had proposed that I see this becoming a significant leading indicator of long-term customer satisfaction but also, more importantly, of the propensity to switch indicated by customers. It is for that reason that we have included the points earned through the RI score in our Strategy axis on the matrix and give it a significant 25% weighting. 

    in our surveys, we actually ask about two items directly related to customer retention: the current satisfaction, and the “would you recommend this vendor?” question. Customer satisfaction is defined as a measurement that determines how happy customers are right now with the solution being evaluated and flows into the Execution axis of the matrix. 

    The RI (the simple percentage of respondents who answer “yes”) encapsulates a longer- term, more strategic element of customer satisfaction – essentially it is a measurement of customer loyalty.

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory, an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is already a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    The first blog had the data for Marketing Lead Management, Sales Engagement Management, and 

    Marketing Resource Management vendors. Here is the data from my latest report on Customer Data Management. The table shows quite a range of Recommendation Index values — but all in the 90s. However, as this is a relatively new area of investment and quite a few companies (users) are still creating, developing and/or tuning their CDM strategy, there is likely to be some churn in this market segment over the next years.    

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Channel Marketing and Enablement,  Partner Management Automation

    COVID-19 Changes Everything About Partnerships

    Last winter, (BEFORE Covid-19), I fielded a global survey asking 1500 manufacturers/vendors about their channel marketing and enablement projects. We asked about their investment drivers, giving 15 options. The 1500 ranked involving partners in our own digital marketing programs” as #6 in their priorities – so already a top priority. In discussions with channel partners themselves, I find that this is even more important to them, as they see digital business truly dominating marketing, selling and business relationships. 

    Manufacturers must now deal with a highly-volatile partner community through a much more complete business cycle: from connection to order processing and service delivery …. a quite different partner management world. 

    How different and why ?  

    Well, I see this transformation under seven separate trend headlines with all these aspects of channel management moving, over time, from the left-side state to the emerging state described on the right-side. 

    Let’s be honest, for decades channel enablement and marketing was just a peripheral process in most industries; the mantra was: “first we sell direct and then we’ll find some partners”. Most firms were selling physical products (or at least on-premise software) and just needed knowledgeable sellers to position the offer to buyers they couldn’t reach. 

    But now … almost every industry is morphing to an “as-a-service” business model. And buyers pull the service based on their own research. But heh!, channel partners are not being “dis-intermediated”  — this was such a strange cliché back in the 1990s when the Internet took hold and everybody was writing about eBusiness and eCommerce taking work away from channel partners.  If anything, the channel has become  even more influential and advocational for businesses. But the business model in the channel has changed too and they’re more than likely to live off revenues earned from the end-user, than from the manufacturer they now occasionally represent. And in addition to resellers or distributors, we now have channel players called affiliates, referrers, associations, communities, groups, ambassadors. 

    In fact, just as we like to talk about customer-centric or buyer-led purchasing, the partners are now taking control over the partnerships they need to maintain with vendors. From push to pull. Vendors can no longer map-out their target markets and plan partnerships around the battlefield like generals ordering armies around a warzone. The market, the partner communities, run the new game.

    This is not only the case in the tech industry. Consider leading manufacturer of industrial bearings, Sheaffler Group in Germany. They’ve found that their new sensor technology creates a whole set of opportunities as an Internet-of-Things data provider. The sensors they’ve installed in trains, combined with AI technology, can provide vital maintenance data on the railway track itself, which is sold to the Bundesbahn who maintain the infrastructure. Schaeffler continues to be a manufacturer but now also has a data service business with new partnerships. As-a-Service is happening everywhere. 

    That is the bigger picture and most trends are the result of changing expectations on the buyer side and the proliferation of digital channels across all businesses and industries. It has been the fact that digital transformation has been somewhat held-up in certain countries and industries due to the classical resistance to change. But COVID-19 has burned away many of those hurdles. Hardly any executive or HR manager will now claim that WFH is bad for business. Companies have learned quickly to continue most of their business relationships both internally and externally through digital media. 

    Here are the most important other trends I think are here to stay: 

    • An optimized experience. The business imperative will become “Provide The Optimal Customer Experience”. Manufacturers will need to ensure that their channel partners are part of that experience and therefore need to provide customer insights to them. 
    • More effective tools. Partner management platforms will help manufacturers to manage thousands of partners of all types without making 80% of them feel inadequate because they are only a silver-tier partner and do not warrant personal attention. 
    • Better enabled Partners. There is an even larger boom in sales enablement investments at the moment. Clearly, sellers now interact with buyers digitally, remotely and the signs are, that buyers like this new behavior and will prefer it to become permanent. So they will focus on those suppliers who have the capability to support them. But, as I tell every client I talk to: “Channel enablement must be part of the sales enablement program”.

    The current crisis has created a sort of perfect storm for sales and channel enablement projects and that is a change that I think will outlast COVID-19 and become a strategic imperative in many companies over 2021 and beyond. Those channel enablement and marketing platform vendors who can cover the needs described above will flourish in this marketplace. 

    To learn more on how to stay ahead of these trends, watch this webinar (which is gated) which I presented with Kerry Desberg, who is CMO for Channel Management Software Vendor Impartner. I have known Kerry for several years now and she was so kind as to invite me to be a member of the Impartner Channel Chief Advisory Board (CCAB). The CCAB is a group comprised of top channel thought leaders, analysts and consultants who each have decades of channel experience and insights to contribute to channel best practice discussions.

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Managing Your Customer Data

    Providing an optimal customer experience is impossible without having a unified Customer Data Management (CDM) process in place. The CDM process is the consolidation and aggregation of all data that is being collected in separate systems across the company about a customer, down to the individual level. This is not an IT-centric data warehouse or data lakes approach — ideally it should be a Marketing-led CDM initiative, helping to ensure the data unification project is focused directly on marketing requirements. But that is not always the case, as I hear from many of my marketing executive clients. 

    So, “who leads the CDM project” was one of the questions I asked in my latest global survey and the results of that and other questions are written up in my new Vendor Selection Matrix report on Customer Data Management, to be published later in the week. As always, this report is based upon feedback from 1,500 businesses globally plus my view of the each vendor’s strategy and viability. I report that:

    • Nearly 80% of CDM initiatives are marketing-led projects and over two-thirds of the projects are top-down projects that serve the complete enterprise.  
    • In depth interviews reveal that Consent Management becomes a critical driver for CDM investments. Legislation like the CCPA and GDPR require marketers to be completely transparent on how they use customer data. But, in addition to compliance pressure, another driver of transparency for the marketers is establishing brand trust. I expect data ethics processes to become routine in the deployment of many marketing technologies.
    • Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will drives CDM adoption in B2B. Even large enterprises with ABM projects admit that their biggest success inhibitor is “lack of deep customer insights”.  Often, they rely on tactical predictive analytics vendors instead of addressing the fundamental CDM challenge. Capable CDM vendors can win more B2B customers with effective thought leadership programs on this topic.

    Now, depending on how much you believe the claims, there are between 120 and 150 vendors with CDM solutions, often calling their software Customer Data Platforms (CDP). We also asked the respondents to give us their feedback about those CDM vendors they know enough about. The resulting vendor landscape for CDM is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data consolidation, collecting entire clickstreams, creating a “golden record” through identity resolution, enabling intelligent engagement, and identity tagging. The CDM challenge varies across the B2C and B2B spectrum and also differs by company size, which we describe in detail in the report.

    Who came out on top? Well, these are the Top 15 vendors as selected by the 1,500 surveyed based upon their rating of product, company and service quality (listed alphabetically):

    Acquia, ActionIQ, Adobe, BlueConic, Commanders Act, CXSense, Eulerian, Evergage, NGData, Oracle, Quaero, Redpoint Global, Salesforce, Sitecore, Tealium.

    Although CXSense and Evergage have since been acquired by Piano and Salesforce respectively, I have left their scores in the matrix for completeness. Time will tell whether the brand prevails or becomes absorbed into the larger corporate identity. 

    Remember, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, some respondents deploy two or more vendors to cover their needs.

    If you would like to see more of the report, such as the individual vendor profile sheets and full scoring schema, please contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Messung der Tendenz zum Anbieter-Wechsel

    Der digitale Marketing Service Provider Accenture Interactive hat vergangenes Jahr interessante Forschung zum Thema SERVICE IS THE NEW SALES veröffentlicht. Sie weist darauf hin, dass 44% der B2B Käufer in den letzten 12 Monaten den Vendor (Anbieter) gewechselt haben und stellt fest, dass die stärksten und differenziertesten B2B Beziehungen durch Erfahrungen gekennzeichnet sind, welche Mensch und digitale Mittel verbinden und dadurch ein tiefere und personalisiertere Art von Dienstleistung erschaffen. 

    Die Forschung identifizierte einen Bruch zwischen Käufer-Erwartungen und durchschnittlichen Käufer-Erfahrungen, welcher den Trend zum Vendor-Wechsel untermauert. Diese Entkopplung bedeutet auch, dass Käufer häufig Wege finden bestehende Vendor-Beziehungen einzusparen und neue Beziehungen zu eröffnen, welche ihre Bedürfnisse effizienter abdecken. Die Hauptgründe für Wechsel waren: nicht wettbewerbsfähige Preispolitik, lange Vorlaufzeiten für Lieferung und Erfüllung des Auftrags, verpasste Liefertermine, Mangel an Integration zwischen Vertriebs-Kanälen und notdürftige Commerce-Funktionalität. 

    Die globale Accenture Studie deckte verschiedene B2B Kategorien ab, allerdings höre ich häufig auch sehr ähnlichen Erkenntnissen in meinen Diskussionen mit Marketing Fachleuten zu ihren Software Vendors. 

    Ich habe über die letzten 18 Monate hinweg in Kooperation mit meinem Geschäftspartner von Research in Action einige Vendor-Wettbewerbslandschaften im Rahmen von Vendor Selection Matrix Berichten aufgedeckt. In diesen Projekten interviewten wir tausende Marketing-Fachleute zu ihrer Optimierung von Geschäftsprozessen und, seit Beginn diesen Jahres, ob sie die verwendeten Vendor weiterempfehlen würden – ganz einfach: ja oder nein. Wir nennen den daraus resultierenden Indikator: Der Research in Action Recommendation Index (RI). 

    Im Laufe der Zeit beobachten wir, wie unser Recommendation Index ein bedeutender Indikator für die Kundenzufriedenheit und der Tendenz zum Vendor-Wechsel darstellt. Ich werde die aktuellen RI Werte für die genannten Vendors der letzten 6 Monate auflisten und regelmäßig aktualisieren. 

    Anbieter. Ich denke dass ein RI von 95% oder mehr zufriedenstellend ist, bei einem RI zwischen 90-94% sollten Alarmglocken läuten, da Kunden eventuell zu einem Vendor-Wechsel tendieren und ein RI von unter 90% deutet klar auf einen Alarmzustand hin. 

    Käufer. Nichts hält sie auf, die Daten in einer ähnlichen Art und Weise zu interpretieren. 

    Die nachfolgenden Daten zeigen deutlich, dass klassische Marketing-Automatisierungs-Vendor in unserer Marketing-Lead-Management Wettbewerbslandschaft meistens durch eine Tendenz zum Vendor-Wechsel bedroht werden, mit Ausnahme der Firma Marketo. Diese Vendors werden durch neue innovative Anbieter gefährdet, welche von CX, Kunden Engagement oder sogar ABM sprechen und die MLM Funktionalität mit Routineuntersuchungen absichern.

    Viele der Vertriebs-Engagement-Management-Vendor (Sales Engagement Management) haben zudem kaum langfristige Kunden. Tatsächlich lassen sich eine Vielzahl von Wechseln zu geeigneteren SEM-Lösungen beobachten. Lediglich Brainshark, Clearslide, Seismic und Showpad besitzen eine treue Gefolgschaft an Kunden.

    Hier ist der Auszug aus meinem aktuellen Bericht zum Thema Marketing-Ressourcen-Managment. Die Tabelle zeigt nur eindrucksvollen Scores der Recommendation Index Werte in den 90ern.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Managing All Marketing Resources

    Here it is – my Vendor Selection Matrix report on Marketing Resources Management. Modern CMOs or Marketing Directors are now responsible for a more extensive operation, some are even measured on revenue contribution. So, as with any business executive, they should have full responsibility for the planning and effectiveness of their business resources. For a marketing, those resources fall into these categories: money or costs, people or talent (internal and external talent), content assets and brand. 

    Enter  “Marketing Resource Management” (MRM). MRM is still in its adoption infancy — If you google MRM, you’ll be informed about Magnetic Resonance in Medicine or guided to the marketing agency MRM/McCann. Capterra does have 28 MRM Software offerings in its directory though. And my esteemed ex-colleagues at Forrester produced a Forrester Wave on MRM in 2019 that focused on the needs of enterprise B2C organizations above $1 billion in revenue and identified eight vendors with more than 25 such installations.  Although MRM is infant, the vendors are mostly experienced and established providers – their Recommendation Index and, indeed, overall scores are outstanding compared to my other marketing automation

    As always, this report is based upon feedback from 1,500 businesses globally plus my view of the each vendor’s strategy and viability. Here are the report highlights:

    • MRM is used to help to define marketing plans, collect and share marketing assets, execute on campaigns, and track marketing assets across print and digital channels. It also manages marketing budgets, tracks actual costs and supports the campaign planning process. It provides a single unified system for all marketing material, which in turn ensures consistency of branding and messaging. It also enables marketers to create workflows and processes to streamline marketing operations. 
    • The resulting vendor landscape for MRM is a mix of vendors managing some asset types, ones that manage mainly project resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.  
    • There is a clear gradient of project maturity across the landscape. Many marketing departments are still only managing content and digital assets and operating as a cost center. Over time, some organizations mature into fully accounted-for revenue centers where the CMO needs visibility into all project work and all types of resources deployed. This maturity model is reflected within the maturity S-Curve shown in this report: moving from PIM and DAM projects to a more “universal content management” system; then adding costs and talent to achieve MRM; before progressing further with a Customer Data Management project and, ultimately, being able to do full Marketing Performance Management. 
    • There are generally three broad types of MRM projects: asset and people management , spend management, and workflow management; with four categories of resources managed: cost, talent, content, and brand.  The relative importance of each resource category in a planned MRM project will often determine which solution fits best, so our report lists the resources managed by each vendor profiled.
    • Who came out on top? The top five vendors rated by the users for MRM in 2020 are (listed alphabetically) Aprimo , BrandMakerContentservPercolate by Seismic, and Workfront.
    • The vendors Allocadia, Bizible (Adobe), BrandMaster, BrandMuscle, Elateral, Infor, SAS, SAP, Sitecore, and Wedia complete the list of vendors who were named by the 1500 business professionals.

    Remember, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, some respondents deploy at least two to cover their needs.

    If you would like to see more of the report, such as the individual vendor profile sheets and full scoring schema, please contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Measuring The Propensity to Switch Vendors

    The Digital Marketing Service Provider, Accenture Interactive, published some interesting research last year entitled SERVICE IS THE NEW SALES. It points out that 44% of B2B buyers have switched sellers in the past 12 months and suggest that the strongest, most differentiated B2B relationships are driven by experiences that connect human and digital means to provide a deeper, more personalized level of service.

    The research identified a rift between buyers’ expectations and average seller experiences, underpinning the cited and unprecedented seller-switching trend. This disconnect means buyers are often finding ways of obsoleting existing vendor relationships and welcoming new disruptors in order to best serve their needs. The major reasons for switching were: uncompetitive pricing, long lead times for delivery and fulfilment, missed delivery dates, lack of integration between sales channels, and even poor commerce functionality. 

    The Accenture survey was global and, while their survey was across many different B2B categories, I also hear many of these comments from marketers when talking about their software vendors. 

    Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered many separate vendor landscapes in my own Vendor Selection Matrix reports with my business partner Research in Action. In these projects, I’ve interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and, since earlier this year, we have been asking the marketers whether or not they would recommend the vendor they have provided feedback about to their peers. We call the resulting indicator: the Research in Action Recommendation Index (RI).   

    Over time, we see our Recommendation Index becoming a significant leading indicator of customer satisfaction and also propensity to switch. So I thought I would list out the current RI values for vendors mentioned in the last 6 months and provide an update on a regular basis in the future. 

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory, an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    The data below shows clearly that the classical Marketing Automation vendors listed in our Marketing Lead Management landscape are mostly threatened by a propensity to switch, with perhaps the exception of Marketo. These vendors are being threatened by new innovative vendors who talk about CX, customer engagement or even ABM and cover the MLM functionality as a routine orchestration component.  

    Many of the Sales Engagement Management vendors also have a precarious customer standing. There is, indeed, a lot of churn in this market as businesses replace their initial investment with a more suitable SEM solution. But Brainshark, Clearslide, Seismic and Showpad have a more loyal following.

    Here is even a sneak preview of my next report, on Marketing Resource Management which is coming out later this month. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the 90s.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    Dies ist kein lokalisiertes Marketing!

    Ich arbeite seid nunmehr fast 10 Jahren mit dem Marketing Lead Management Anbieter Marketo zusammen. Zu meiner Forrester Zeit, hatte ich die Gründer Phil Fernandez und Jon Miller regelmäßig in ihrem Büro in San Mateo getroffen, immer am Ende meinen Geschäftsreisen dort, bevor ich am Abend von San Francisco aus nach Hause flog. 

    Es freute mich daher sehr zu berichten, dass Marketo in meiner 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix report zu MLM, der am besten bewertete Markennamen war, trotz der Übernahme und Absorption durch Adobe vor einigen Jahren. Heutzutage ist eine starke Marke auch im B2B-Bereich zunehmend relevant.

    Eine interessante Thematik, welche ich häufig mit der Marketo Geschäftsführung diskutieren musste, war ihre Europa-Strategie. Sie haben viele Jahre lang eine Handvoll Mitarbeiter (inklusive deutsch- und französischsprachigen) in Dublin, Irland stationiert, um von dort aus in anderen europäischen Ländern zu agieren. Ich bin überzeugt davon, dass dies ein Grund dafür war, dass Marketo Schwierigkeiten hatte im deutschen Markt Fuss zu fassen — wobei ich viele weitere Gründe dafür aufzählen könnte. 

    Mit der Übernahme durch Adobe, welche eine bedeutende Präsenz in Deutschland besitzt, ergaben sich für Marketo vielversprechende Möglichkeiten auf diesem Markt. Ich erhalte nun bereits seit einiger Zeit deutschsprachige E-Mails von “Marketo-Germany” und vernehme zunehmend Hinweis dafür, dass Marketo mehr beachtliche Verkäufe und Beratungsressourcen auf dem deutschen Markt verzeichnet.

    Diese Woche weckte eine E-Mail von onlinemarketing.de mein Interesse, welche “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe” in der Signatur enthielt. Die Mail empfahl ein eBook, dass beschreibt wie erfolgreiche Unternehmen ihr Wachstum mit Hilfe von Marketo befeuern — präsentiert und in Aussicht gestellt in deutscher Sprache. Also habe ich es heruntergeladen und einen Blick hinein gewagt. 

    Welch Affront für interessierte deutsche B2B Marketer! 

    Das eBook ist ein Bericht, voll von amerikanischen Fallstudien, welche Wachstumszahlen zwischen 2014 und 2015 anführen — offensichtlich etwas veraltet. Ich fand sogar das englischsprachige Original, welches auf 2016 datiert ist — Sie haben also lediglich ein altes (unter Umständen obsoletes) eBook übersetzt, inklusive des Copyright-Statements auf der Rückseite …  “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”

    Nun, vielleicht war es absichtlich so geplannt. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (wer auch immer das genau ist) denkt womöglich, deutschen Marketern fehle die Reife ihrer US-amerikanischen Gegenstücke und zeigt ihnen deshalb Beispiele, welche 4-6 Jahre zurück liegen und deshalb für den heutigen deutschen Markt geeignet seien. Wie ich in den letzten Jahren wiederholt in Forschungsberichten und Blogs dargelegt habe, ist dieser Schluss schlichtweg nicht wahr: deutsches BSB Marketing ist nicht unterentwickelt, es ist anders.

    Ich denke, dass dies lediglich ein fauler Marketingbeitrag von jemanden ist, der den deutschen Markt nicht kennt, Budget für Übersetzungen auszugeben hatte und die “quick and dirty”-Variante für das Projekt wählte. Die Ironie der Geschichte verzeichnet sich auch dadurch, dass man mit Adobe Experience Manager leser-spezifische Informationen “automatisch” auf einer Website wiedergeben kann. Team Marketo Engage (Adobe) sollte sich schämen, da Sie nicht in der Lage sind ihre eigenen Tools zu verwenden.

    … wenn Adobe nur wüsste, was Adobe so weiß.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Uncategorized

    This is not Marketing Localization

    I’ve been working with the Marketing Lead Management vendor Marketo for close to 10 years now. In my Forrester days, I would regularly stop off at their office in San Mateo and meet up with founders Phil Fernandez and Jon Millar before flying home in the evening from San Francisco. 

    So I was pleased to report that Marketo were named and rated the highest of all under that brandname in my 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix on MLM, regardless of the company being acquired and absorbed by Adobe several years ago. Brand counts for something in B2B these days.

    One interesting discussion I always had with the Marketo executives was their strategy in Europe. For many years, they just parked some people (including German and French speakers) in Dublin, Ireland and marketed to European countries from there. I am convinced that this is one reason that Marketo struggled to sell well in Germany – though I could cite many others as well.

    But the acquisition by Adobe, who do have a substantial presence in Germany, promised that this could change. I’ve been receiving German-language mailings from “Marketo Germany” for quite a while now and I do hear signals in the market that there are more substantial sales and consulting resources working with German companies.

    So I was curious this week when I got an email, from onlinemarketing.de but signed off by “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe”, offering me an eBook describing how successful companies fuel their growth with Marketo – all presented and promised in German language. So I downloaded it and took a look. 

    What an insult to German B2B marketers. The eBook is a report full of American case studies citing growth numbers between 2014 and 2015 – so obviously old. I even found the English-language original which is dated 2016 – they just translated an old (ie. obsolete) eBook including translating the final copyright statement on the back page … “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”

    Now this could be a considered fulfilment piece. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (whoever that is) may be thinking that German marketers are much less mature than their American counterparts and therefore showing examples that are 4-6 years back in time may be perfect for them here. But, as I have repeatedly written up in research reports and blogs over the last years, that conclusion is just not true: German B2B marketing is not underdeveloped, it is different.

    But I think that this is just some lazy piece of marketing by someone who does not know the German market, had budget to spend on content translation and did a “quick and dirty” project. The irony is … with Adobe Experience Manager, you can render reader-specific information “automatically” on a website. Shame on you, Team Marketo Engage, Adobe, for not eating your own dog food !

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Do You have Blind Spots in Your Renewal Strategy ?

    This blog first appeared on the Website of Value Management SaaS Provider DecisionLink.

    This new decade will see a dramatic increase in the deployment of Customer Success programs. Success not Service – meaning businesses being proactive about their customers’ projects, as opposed to being merely reactive to customers with problems, submitting support tickets, sending emails, or complaining on social media. 

    Why? Well, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, especially, know that profitable growth depends greatly on the fullest possible adoption of their solutions in each customer project. While great customer service might mean that they earn a 100% renewal-rate across the customer base in one year, most SaaS executives know that is not enough. Nor is it realistic because there is always some churn from external factors such as M&A, economic downturns, or staff changes. They need to earn more each year from existing customers: to cover the churn, finance R&D, and to pay the cost-of-sales of winning new customers in a very competitive environment. The current status in the SaaS industry is that “net retention is a critical figure: if you’re at ~106% you’re in line with the average, if you’re below 100% do a little work to figure out what’s happening, and if you’re ~120%+, you’re in great company.” (see – https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/net-dollar-retention/).

    So they are all investing heavily in customer success programs (in the form of onboarding and implementation services) and there is a focus on new executive-KPIs like Customer Lifetime Value or specifically Net Dollar Retention Rate. Of course, they cannot apply the same resources to all customers. Most use tiered structures that balance people resources and technology. Many have three tiers of programs: the lowest level is mostly automated (e.g., online self-service) while the highest level involves more consultative outreach from customer success managers. And even Sales success metrics are moving away from just pure selling – many sales executives are now being measured on reduced churn rates i.e. customer retention and expansion.  Again, renewal at 100% of existing run rate is not viewed as a win; to exponentially improve profits, 120% renewal-rate now the new bar.

    Customers Have Also Learned How to Renew 

    Buyers are also beginning to realize the importance of those renewal meetings. Often, a SaaS subscription was signed up by an empowered individual-contributor out of their expense budget and IT or procurement is only involved when the renewal phase is reached, and their considerations are usually different than the original buyer (support, integration with other systems, security. These negotiators also have their own agenda such as a strategic sourcing strategy which may not include the SaaS provider in question.   

    Renewal negotiation has moved from a “shall we continue the project” discussion to an almost full-blown re-evaluation of the initial investment decision. Compliance guidance, or just good procurement management practice, is pushing buyers to evaluate a new shortlist in the renewal phase and each additional user group or functionality is treated as a brand new project.

    Chief Financial Officers are increasingly turning their attention to SaaS expenditures and ask questions about return on investment (ROI), business outcomes, and revenue contribution. Most importantly, they are asking the SaaS user and their provider to demonstrate that the solution delivers quantifiable value to their company.

    Enter Value Management

    Financial justification tools have been promoted for decades by technology vendors/providers to accelerate their own sales process and help document a need to invest. The tool was typically only used for the business case appendix and it was hardly ever validated post-sale. Also, an ROI calculation is a one-off forecast consolidating capital investment, perhaps running expenses and increased revenues and/or decreased costs. 

    One consequence of an “as-a-service” investment is that the value must be monitored continually because usage and deployment of the service will fluctuate over time. So ROI is no longer a one-off forecast based upon estimates and assumptions, it must be modelled and set up in a system which is able to collect actual data and provide ongoing reporting.

    With on-premise software, it has always been difficult to track the ongoing expenses, revenues and costs. SaaS is, by design, more easily measured and monitored than on-premise software, including value-relevant data about usage and relevant business outcomes. Setting up a value management collection and reporting system is therefore realistic in most cases without custom programming and extensive investments and it can be offered by small and large vendors, and be deployed for customers of all sizes. 

    DecisionLink worked with Dimensional Research recently to survey over 200 SaaS executives and sales managers to understand how they approach value management in their renewal discussions. According to the study, only a quarter (24%) of companies provide value analysis during the renewal process. Another 11% of companies provide value analysis, but only for customers that are at-risk.

    Customer Success Supported by Value Management Will Prevail

    Closer attention from finance departments, plus the advent of SaaS, is now generating a clear preference for applying full value management principles throughout the project lifecycle. On the vendor-side, value management will become important in departments such as Customer Success to audit and prove the business benefits and document project effectiveness.  

    In addition, it is highly probable that, on the user-side, financial and procurement professionals will also be leveraging a value management solution to support a company’s decision-making process for multiple projects as a standard operating practice.

    “This is the final missing link in the industry. Connecting the value that was promised in the sales cycle to the value that is being delivered and demonstrated.” -Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight

    If you would like to discuss this topic already, feel free to contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter.

    peter@teamoneill.de , poneill@researchinaction.de , peter.oneill@b2bmarketing.net