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Digital Marketing Vendors are Children of Cobblers


I hear remarkable things when sharing my vendor selection matrix results with marketing practitioners. The most common? Well, comments like: “I found their sales rep so pushy – he wasn’t at all interested in what I was asking about”; or “They don’t seem to have anyone locally to help us”, and “Now that looks like a very complex system to implement, not sure if we can manage that”.   Now these are the usual issues that all software vendors face, especially when addressing a business-orientated audience instead of IT professionals. But I also hear complaints about the vendor websites and how difficult it is to get the information that they need. 

Now that surprises me – we’re talking about digital marketing software vendors here: surely, they’d know how to put up a website which resonates with marketing professionals. Well, it seems not……  

So, I took my own look at the websites and concluded – oh my!  Where is the empathy between marketing professionals creating a website for their marketing-practitioner peers? Why don’t they practice what they preach? Do they even use their own products and utilities?  Sadly, I must conclude that these digital marketers seem to be the proverbial cobbler’s children when it comes to digital marketing. 

But then again, one of the most repeated sentences said by a vendor to an analyst has always been: “Don’t take any notice of our website, we are in the process of relaunching it”. 

In a previous life, I led a team who reviewed and tested websites for digital empathy. We used a series of 15 criteria to evaluate how friendly and human, engaging and topical, plus interactive and useful a website was for the target audience.  So, I thought I’d run that test across the top ten vendors in my recent marketing lead management report. Here are the results. In the table, I try to be positive and name applicable sites if they are a best practice on any of the criteria, but the top scores are only 25 out of 45, and most are under 20. 

Of course, it may be that I am not being identified as a potential buyer (or not a named account) and therefore not treated to the series of empathetic microsites and landing pages set up for lead nurturing. If that is so, I apologize to those vendors (and please let me know!).  

But what most sticks out to me across the board is the absolute lack of any role orientation and how difficult it is to find inspiring content (if there is any at all). Nobody really makes the attempt to post content that addresses business challenges, builds empathy, and encourages a longer-term relationship.

Always keeping you informed! Peter 

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