Diese Monat co-moderierte ich die Keynote der GetStacked Konferenz, welche von der B2B Marketing Organisation erstmalig auf einer virtuellen Plattform ausgerichtet wurde. Ich war damit beauftragt die Highlights unseres neuen Forschungsberichts mit dem Titel „How is Marketing’s Technology Stacking Up?“ zu präsentieren. Wir haben über 300 B2B Marketing Spezialisten zu Martech Investments und Einsatzplänen befragt und zusätzlich einige Marketing Manager interviewt, um tiergehender Hintergründe und Erkenntnisse zu erfahren. Der entstandene Bericht, verfügbar bei B2B Marketing, enthüllt manches Betriebsgeheimnis, eine Fülle an Statistik und peer-to-peer Begutachtungen — wobei das Hauptziel des Berichts bleibt, eine Konversation durch die Bereitstellung von umsetzbaren Ratschlägen zu entflammen.
Die Studie brachte einige ziemlich verblüffende Statistiken hervor. Beispielsweise konnten die Teilnehmenden mit Hilfe einer Selbstauskunft den Zustand ihres Martech Bestands angeben – Die Beantwortung war denkwürdig: Lediglich 13% konnten bestätigen, dass ihr Martech Bestand aktuelle und zukünftige Bedürfnisse zufriedenstellend abdecken kann. Fast ein Drittel betrachten ihren Martech Bestand als unzureichend und sehen akuten Bedarf einer Erweiterung. Der Rest gab an, ihr Bestand sei aktuell adäquat zu ihrem Bedarf, brauche jedoch für zukünftige Bedürfnisse weitere Erweiterungen. Dies wirkt tröstlich … jedoch nur auf den ersten Blick.
Also ….. Wie kann man dieses Feedback erklären?
Nun hat die ungezügelte digitale Transformation in der allgemeinen Geschäftswelt zwei klare Veränderungsmuster für uns B2B-Marketer hervorgebracht. Zuerst mussten wir uns daran anpassen, dass wir nun durch viele neue digitale Channels mit dem Markt kommunizieren. Darüber Hinaus mussten wir eine Reihe von neuen Technologien adaptieren, welche unsere neuen Geschäftsprozesse unterstützten. Ich vermute die Geschwindigkeit der Veränderung hat uns in beiden Bereichen etwas überwältigt.
Marketing Organisationen haben unterschiedlich auf diese Herausforderungen reagiert.
- Einige haben rasch Marketing-Automatisierungs Plattformen adaptiert, teilweise mit vordefinierten Prozessen, welche die ausgewählte Software bereitstellt. Jedoch wurde häufig kein Veränderungsmanagement bei der Installation des Prozesses angewandt. Dadurch wurden die Mitarbeitenden oft nicht angemessen vorbereitet.
- Andere haben eifrig selbst, oder mit Hilfe von Beratern, ein idealisierten Zielbestand (Stack) von Martech erarbeitet (Eine Art Architektur), um daraufhin verschiedenste Software Abonnements abzuschließen bis ihr Bestand aufgefüllt ist. Das Ergebnis ist meist eine Sammlung von abweichenden und unkoordinierten Systemen, welche nur schwer zu handhaben sind.
- Eine weitere Gruppe von Unternehmen erreichte das gleiche Resultat dadurch, dass sie alle Vermarkter in ihrer Organisation befähigen, ihre eigenen Tools auszuwählen und als Betriebsaufwand zu lizenzieren. In meiner Tätigkeit habe ich bereits einige Male beobachtet, dass sich die verwendeten SaaS-Programme über Marketing Abteilungen hinweg divers gestaltet. Dies zeigt, dass viel mehr Technologie angewandt wird wie ursprünglich angenommen oder geplant.
Insgesamt hat der Handlungsdruck im Bereich des digitalen Marketings eine Art Aufrüstung hervorgebracht, bei der viel Technologie taktisch angeschafft wird, oft als Reaktion auf die teils dreisten Versprechungen der Marketing Software Anbieter.
Unsere Studie zeigt außerdem, dass meist keine großartige Zufriedenheit mit den installierten Technologien oder Plattformen besteht. Die niedrigste Zufriedenheit in der Studie wurde bei CRM festgestellt, welches als unbeliebtestes System für Marketer gilt. Für die meisten Marketer ist CRM ein externes System: installiert bevor Sie digitalen Marketing betrieben und gebaut für die Bedürfnisse von Vertrieb nicht Marketing.
Die größte Martech Herausforderung oder Erfolgshemmer war
“Zeitknappheit und Mangel an Ressourcen, welche effektiv genutzt werden können.”
Offensichtlich kaufen und nutzen viele Unternehmen Software ohne eine Erwägung der erforderlichen Ressourcen, um von dieser Software zu profitieren.
Also, ein bedauerlicher Stand der Dinge. Eine Kombination aus kurzfristigem Denken, Ego-Käufen und unkontrollierten Anbieter Verhalten hat einen Martech Jungle für die meisten B2B Organisationen erschaffen. Erlauben Sie mir an dieser Stelle einen Gedanken hinzuzufügen, um eine Diskussion anzuregen. Wir haben eine weitere Frage in der Studie gestellt, eine welche ich häufig im Rahmen meiner Verpflichtungen stelle: “Haben sie eine Martech Strategie vereinbart und dokumentiert?”
Ich bin fortlaufend daran interessiert, das aktuelle Dokument zur gesamten Martech Strategie meines Klienten zu sehen. Meine Erfahrungen weisen Ähnlichkeiten zu den Studienergebnissen auf, lediglich einer von fünf ist in der Lage mir ein solches Dokument zur Bewertung bereitzustellen. Immerhin 57% gaben an, aktuell daran zu arbeiten. Wir fragten auch nach dem erstrebten Zeitrahmen und ein Viertel der 57% erklärten, die Strategie sei für 6 oder auch 3 Monate vorgesehen. Nun ist jeder Zeitrahmen unter einem Jahr für eine Strategie unzureichend – schließlich dauert jedes große Martech Beschaffungsprojekt typischerweise 6-9 Monate von der ersten Festlegung bis zur Anbieterauswahl, mit einer darauffolgenden ähnlich großen Periode für die Implementierung.
Ich erwarte von einer Martech Strategie, dass sie einige Elemente der Planung, Richtlinien und Rahmenbedingungen enthält. Wie der Titel impliziert, schließt dies den Technologieplan mit einer Beschreibung des aktuellen Zustands mit ein (gestützt von einer kürzlich stattgefunden Technologie-Audit) und eine Liste/Kalender der Technologieprojekte für die bevorstehende Period (aufgeteilt nach Investment-Bereichen, Make-or-buy-Entscheidungen, Status des Technologieerwerbs und einem integrierten Projektplan). Es sollte außerdem ein Prozess-Überarbeitungsplan enthalten, welcher diskutiert wie eine neue digitale Marketing Methode mit adäquatem Veränderungsmanagement adoptiert werden kann. Darüber hinaus ist ein Ressourcenplan mit Dokumentierung von Personalbestand, Rekrutierung, Externer Assistenz und Trainings unverzichtbar.
Marketing wird zunehmend digital und erfordert Technologie und eine geeignete Martech Infrastruktur von jeder Marketing Abteilung, um effektiv zu agieren. Gleichermaßen benötigt digitales Marketing entsprechende Organisation und Rahmenbedingungen, um effektiv in der Anwendung zu sein und die Infrastruktur wirksam einzusetzen. Eine klare strategische Herangehensweise an den Martech Bestand ist nun essentiell um sicherzustellen, dass die Ausgaben im gesamten Marketing Budget optimal investiert sind.
Der CMO oder Marketing Direktor muss die Verantwortung eventuell an einen erfahrenen Vermarkter übertragen, eine Art Chief Marketing Technology Officer. In größeren Organisationen kann eine separate Gruppe für Marketing Betriebsabläufe gegründet werden, um die Technologie zu verwalten – die Führungskraft dieser Gruppe könne der Verantwortliche für die Martech Strategie sein.
Eine Martech Strategie wird als Rahmenbedingung für alle Marketing Mitarbeitenden und die beteiligten IT Fachleute benötigt. Digital bedeutet, dass es viele Kategorien von Marketing Fachleuten gibt, welche intern und extern involviert sind (Als Digitale Marketing Dienstleistungserbringer):
- Marketing Programm End-Nutzer
- Marketing-Aktivitäten Staff
- Vorstände, welche Berichte benötigen
- Entwickler von digitalen Erfahrungen oder externen Marketing Programmen
- All die potentiell Anwender-Käufern von Marketingsoftware für individuellen Nutzen (z. B.: Analytics)
In einem modernen demokratischen Geschäftsumfeld gibt es keine Möglichkeit individuelle Investments zu verhindern. Man kann jedoch Rahmenbedingungen für alle schaffen, welche potentielle Schaden begrenzen (Integration, Sicherheit, Non-Compliance, Datenschutzverstöße).
Der wahre Wert einer Martech Strategie liegt nicht im dokumentieren und archivieren. Es geht vielmehr um die Meetings, Kommunikation und Verhandlungen, welche für die Entwicklung des Strategie unabdinglich sind. Der fortlaufende Dialog hilft allen die Wichtigkeit der Planung zu verstehen, sich an diese Strategie anzupassen und Ressourcen- sowie Integrationsprobleme rechtzeitig zu erkennen und anzugehen. Eine Martech Strategie sollte kontinuierlich weiterentwickelt werden und für alle Marketing Fachleute zugänglich sein.
It’s the Process That Counts!
Always keeping you informed! Peter
Marketing Resources Need To Be Managed As A Business
As some of you may know, I do market research on software vendors and products through interviews with marketing practitioners. I always approach my topics from the business point of view – instead of a technology category/label only familiar to product managers in software companies, or analysts at Gartner or Forrester, I name a business process (or family of processes) that I know marketers are thinking about. After all, marketing executives don’t sign cheques for software because they are collectors, they want to make their processes more efficient and expect an automation project will help.
So one of my more general ice-breaker questions has always been a flippant “So, what do you manage these days as a marketing manager?”. And the ice is usually broken by the marketer listing things like “leads”, “spending”, “agencies”, “people”, “digital assets” (they used to say “literature” way back), and, of course, “The brand”.
Over the years, their list has become longer but also more business-centric. Way back when, marketing was only about sales support, lead generation and literature. Thankfully, modern CMOs or Marketing Directors are now responsible for a more extensive operation, some of them even measured on revenue contribution. And so, as with any business executive, they should have full responsibility for the planning and effectiveness of their business resources.
For a marketing executive, those resources fall into these categories: money, people, content assets and brand. And the process to manage these resources is therefore being called “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.
I would propose that now the time has come for many more CMOs and Marketing Directors to acquire their own “ERP system” and implement a serious MRM project, taking full control over what can make a marketing organization successful.
Clearly, content and brand resources are already marketing-specific and many CMS and Brand Content Management systems include resource management for those resource types. But using the corporate ERP software to manage people resources is no longer sufficient for a CMO because team managed increasingly includes external contributors (agencies, freelancers, analysts). These cannot be counted as a project but must be seen as ongoing marketing people resources. Lastly, the spending of marketing budgets is now so dynamic and digital that marketing executives can no longer rely on monthly or quarterly financial reports with historical data – if anything, they need a dashboard.
By definition, the MRM system should be marketing-centric – one that has the right language or terminology, reporting structure and cadence. Marketers think in terms of campaigns, not financial quarters, and they need a planning calendar. It should provide marketing professionals at all levels in the hierarchy with an ideal experience and support decisions about marketing investments. For that reason, the ideal solution would often be one that is grown out of an existing management system used within marketing.
But a relevant MRM must be more than just a planning/budgeting system: database plus reporting. It needs to able to be state of the art in that it can:
- Take inputs from all players in the marketing ecosystem – for many companies this can include geographic entities or subsidiaries and even business partners
- Collect live data in real-time to support decision-making
- Provide recommendations and insights based on AI.
I am currently fielding a global survey of marketers and their experience with MRM solutions, so watch this space.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
This week, I co-presented the keynote at the GetStacked conference, hosted by the B2B Marketing organization on a virtual platform for the first time. My brief was to present the highlights from our new “How is Marketing’s Technology Stacking Up?” research report We had surveyed over 300 B2B marketers about Martech investment and development plans and we interviewed several marketing executives for in-depth background and insights. The resulting report, available from B2B Marketing, reveals some industry secrets, plenty of statistics and peer-to-peer review – though it’s main aim is to ignite a conversation by providing actionable advice
Our survey collected some quite startling statistics. For example, the respondents could self-assess the state of their Martech stack and the response was extremely thought-provoking: only 13% of them could confirm that their Martech stack was performing well for current and future needs. Nearly one third even consider their stack as poor and in dire need of expansion. The rest reported that their stack was currently adequate but needs developing for future needs, which sounds comforting … but only at first.
So ….. How can we explain this feedback?
Well, rampant digital transformation in the general business world has raised two distinct patterns of change for us B2B marketers. Firstly, we’ve had adjust to communicating to market through many, new digital channels; and secondly, we ourselves have had to adopt a realm of new technologies to support our new business processes. I suspect that the pace of change in both areas has overwhelmed us somewhat.
Marketing organizations have reacted to these challenges in different ways.
- Some quickly adopted marketing automation platforms, sometimes with processes pre-defined by the software they selected. But often they were bought and installed without process change management and employees were left unprepared.
- Others eagerly drew up, or had it drawn for them by consultants, an idealistic target Martech “stack” (a sort of architecture) and embarked on a buying binge of software subscription after software subscription to fill out their stack. The result is mostly a collection of disparate, uncoordinated systems which is a headache to operate and manage.
- A further set of businesses ended up with the same result, not through a stack approach, but because all marketers in the organization were empowered to license their own tools as an operating expense. I have seen many times in my engagements, that a SaaS-Apps audit across the marketing departments invariably shows much more technology being used than originally assumed or planned.
In summary, a sense of urgency around digital marketing created a sort of arms race where much technology was being acquired tactically and often in response to brash promises made by marketing software vendors.
Our survey also shows that there is no great satisfaction from anybody in marketing with the installed technologies or platform types. Highest of this diss-satisfaction was CRM – it is the most-hated system for marketers in general. It scored most negatively in the satisfaction question. For most marketers, the CRM is an external system: installed before they were doing digital marketing and built for the needs of Sales not Marketing.
The most major Martech challenge or success inhibitor was
“Lack of time/resources to use effectively”
Evidently, companies buy and set up software without considering whether they have the resources to take advantage of it.
So, a sorry state of affairs. A combination of short-term thinking, ego buying, and uncontrolled vendor behavior has created a martech jungle for most B2B organisations. At this point, please allow me to provoke some thought into the discussion and suggest what is really missing in this story. You see, there was another question we posed in the survey – one that I often ask in my engagements as well – when helping marketers select the right technology vendor for a project: “Do you have an agreed and documented martech strategy ?”
I am always curious to see the current document on my client’s overall martech strategy. And my experience is similar to the survey result – only one out of five can even give me such a document to review. Now, 57% did say they are currently working on it, but we also asked what timeframe these plans were being laid out for – and a full quarter of the 57% responded that their strategy plan is for 6 or even just 3 months. Well, any strategy timeframe under a year is not a strategy at all – after all, any major Martech acquisition project will typically take 6-9 months from initial specification to vendor selection and that time period is followed by a similar block for project implementation.
I would expect a Martech Strategy to include several elements of planning, guidelines and frameworks. As the title implies, it includes the Technology Plan itself with a description of the current status (backed up by a recent technology audit) and a list and calendar of technology projects for the coming period (broken down into investment areas, make or buy decisions, status of technology acquisition, and an integrations project plan). It should also have a Process Re-Engineering Plan, discussing how it is planned to adopt the new digital marketing methods with the associated change management projects addressing migration and skills acquisition. And a Resources Plan (documenting staffing, recruitment, external assistance, and training).
Marketing has become primarily digital and requires technology to operate effectively and a suitable Martech infrastructure is required by every marketing department to achieve that goal. But equally, digital marketing also requires the appropriate organization and framework of business processes to be effective in operating and leveraging that infrastructure. A clear, strategic approach to the Martech stack is now critical to ensure that, ultimately, spending across the whole marketing budget is optimally invested.
The CMO or Marketing Director must assign this responsibility to a senior member of the marketing staff – a sort of Chief Marketing Technology officer perhaps. In larger organisations, a separate group for Marketing Operations is created to manage the technology – the leader of that group could be the owner of the Martech Strategy.
A Martech Strategy is needed as a framework for all marketing staff, and IT staff, who are involved with the technology. Digital means that there are many categories of marketing staff now involved internally and externally (at Digital Marketing Service Providers):
- marketing application end-users
- marketing operations staff
- executives who need reports and dashboards
- citizen developers of digital experiences or external marketing apps
- all those potential rogue buyers of marketing software (such as analytics) for individual use.
In a democratic modern business environment, there is no way to stop the individual investments, but establishing a framework for all will limit any potential damage that is caused (integration, security, non-compliance, privacy breaches).
The true value of a Martech Strategy is not that it is documented and placed on a booked shelf. It is in the meetings, communications and negotiations that are need to develop the plan. That continuous dialogue helps everybody to understand the importance of planning and then aligning to that plan and will probably limit resource and integration issues in the future. A Martech Strategy should be a continuous work-in-progress and openly accessible to all of the marketing staff as listed above.
It’s the Process That Counts!
Always keeping you informed! Peter
I’ve now published the new Marketing Lead Management (MLM) vendor selection matrix via my business partner Research in Action. Our global survey of 1500 business decision makers found that 72% of business will be investing in new MLM software – over half for their first time. This area of marketing automation is a critical backbone for most marketing organizations but I also know from my recent research with another partner, B2B Marketing, that only 60% of existing users are satisfied with their current solution, citing issues like lack of time/resources to use it effectively and integration – that report comes out in a few days for B2B marketing premium subscribers.
That is probably why the report has discovered a vendor landscape for MLM which is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some Customer Data Platform vendors, showing the range of MLM project maturity across organizations (see my MLM S-Curve Maturity Model).
Congratulations to Marketo, who were named and rated the highest of all under that brandname, even though the company was acquired and absorbed by Adobe several years ago. In contrast, the other early market leader and innovator, Eloqua, has somewhat disappeared under the Oracle brand; though it’s customer satisfaction scores have improved greatly since last year’s survey. An interesting brand highly-rated for MLM process automation continues to be Creatio (previously known as bpm’online). Act-On and Hubspot also appear in the Top 5 as rated by the survey respondents.
As well as the ratings, we now also ask respondents whether they would recommend the vendor to their peers, the percent of affirmatives is documented as the Research In Action Recommendation Index; it ranges in this landscape from 83% to 96%.
Our survey also returned that organizational issues are the most significant success inhibitors – 20% cited executive buy-in is a serious barrier and, evidently, some CMOs still struggle to even get a role in the lead management process and must argue with sales about “turf“.
The report states that functions provided by lead management systems are also of increasing importance to other departments and programs in a business: internal communications, customer satisfaction initiatives, customer service or support, and channel management. That increases the installed footprint for MLM providers but also expands the user profiles that they sell to and work with.
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 (MLM) automation continues to be a priority investment – in our new global survey of 1500 business decision makers, 72% said they’ll invest in new MLM software – over half for their first time. The report is available here and it shows a vendor landscape for MLM, as voted by the business decision makers, which is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some, such as Evergage, who I’ve written about last month, described often as Customer Data Platform vendors
This is due to the range of project maturity across the landscape and I think that, over time, the prevalent transactional prospect/lead process in MLM will mature to a lifecycle-based customer engagement process in both B2C and B2B.
Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology). We have identified five maturity phases for MLM and associated processes:
- Chaotic. Lead management neophytes commonly first focus on eMail campaigning to purchased or built-up lists. The goal is to distribute content to qualified contacts and provide rudimentary leads to Sales.
- Reactive. Initial fulfillment creative matures to a content marketing program earning an audience and new contacts from inbound lead capture. Marketing-qualified leads are generated and passed on.
- Stable. An operational MLM system shares content and run digital campaigns, nurturing and progressing leads through all digital channels, including indirect business channels such as subsidiaries, distributors, resellers (TCMA).
- Proactive. Marketing’s role matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a customer experience. The necessary functionality is found in more mature MLM solutions or from additional products. Sellers are supported as a vital experience channel and marketing at the account level becomes mission-critical.
- Predictive. Over time, the prospect/lead process changes to a more holistic Customer Engagement Management process. Every industry is morphing to an “as-a-service” business model and digital channels will increasingly be used to engage with customers throughout their lifecycle: from initial research through to product use or service consumption.
The various processes can be mapped against this model on what we call an S-Curve Maturity Model.
Whether you are trying to win over consumers to be active in communities and social media, or if you are trying to recruit a business buyer to be a loyal user and advocate, the classical lead generation paradigm for all marketers is going to be replaced by new relationship-based metrics of customer success.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
In 2019 I have discovered many separate vendor landscapes – all listed below for everybody to read.
During these projects, I interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and talked to some 120 marketing software vendors – usually analyst relations staff and product marketing managers, as discussed in this blog.
The vendor-marketers have often commented something like: “strange, there are vendors on your list that I do not see in deals or think I compete with”.
Well, that’s because I first describe a marketing process in my interviews and ask respondents which vendors they work with on that process. I try to avoid category terms invented by other analysts or product managers because the chances are: marketing people don’t think in categories (that’s more of an IT-centric trait).
I’m currently updating my Marketing Lead Management (MLM) report. The survey is in and the new vendor landscape is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some describing themselves as Customer Data Platform vendors. My observation is that the MLM process is changing to a Customer Engagement process in many companies and that is why we have this mix.
So the challenge for marketing software marketing professionals is: Do you focus on shining in a category or ensure you are found by marketing professionals when they are seeking a solution to their automation challenges. Sometimes, these objectives and tactics may be mutually exclusive.
Here are the vendor landscapes discovered in my global process-oriented surveys.
Marketing Lead Management (Nov 2018). MLM processes are deployed in marketing and/or sales operations departments to support the collection of unqualified contacts and opportunities from various sources such as: Direct mail or email responses; Database marketing programs; Other multichannel marketing campaigns; Offline interactions such as seminars and tradeshows; Social media contacts; and web pages.
ACT-ON (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ADESTRA, ADOBE, APRIMO, BPM’ONLINE (#1 Price/Value), CRMNEXT, ENGAGIO, HUBSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), IBM, IMPARTNER, MARKETO, ORACLE, PEGASYSTEMS, RIGHTON INTERACTIVE, SALESFORCE, SAP, SALESFUSION, SUGARCRM, WEBMECANIK, ZOHO
Brand Content Management (Dec 2018). BCM is the management of all digital content assets in order to govern the brand messaging across the company, from corporate brand to the individual messaging statements around products. Companies working in a more distributed (sometimes called local) marketing environment deploy BCM processes to manage content across all their internal organizations, subsidiaries, and/or all business partners.
ADOBE, ANSIRA, BRANDMAKER (#1 Overall), BRANDMUSCLE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDSYSTEMS (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BYNDER, CAPITAL ID, CELUM, CENSHARE (#1 Price/Value), CODE WORLDWIDE, EPISERVER, IBM, MARCOM CENTRAL (#1 Price/Value), NORTHPLAINS, OPENTEXT, PICA9, SAS INSTITUTE, VYA, WEDIA
Sales Engagement Management (Mar 2019). Marketing plays an increasingly active role in enabling the sales team, collaborating with their colleagues in Sales Operations with a robust set of sophisticated tools in an all-in-one platform in order to engage productively with knowledgeable buyers and customers.
ACCENT TECHNOLOGIES, APPAROUND, BIGTINCAN, BRAINSHARK, CLEARSLIDE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CLIENT POINT, CUSTOMSHOW, DOCSEND, FILEBOARD, HIGHSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), INSITE SOFTWARE, JOURNEY SALES, OCTIV, PITCHER, PROLIFIQ, SALESLOFT, SAP, SEISMIC (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), SHOWPAD, MEDIAFLY
Web Experience Management (May 2019). WEM is an integrated set of business processes for the creation, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences on websites. Software used to automate these processes must deal with an ever-more complex, extensive and interconnected technology landscape.
ACQUIA (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ADOBE, AMPLIENCE, BLOOMREACH, CONTENTFUL, CROWNPEAK, COREMEDIA, EPISERVER (#1 Price/Value), E-SPIRIT, EZ SYSTEMS, IBM, KENTICO SOFTWARE, MAGNOLIA, OPENTEXT, ORACLE, PROGRESS, SDL, SITECORE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), SQUIZ
Digital Asset Management (July 2019). The DAM process is the storage and management of digital files, in particular digital media files like graphics, videos, sound and text components needed for digital content production. DAM catalogs and retrieves the digital assets for various types of users working in marketing, product management, sales, service, design, and manufacturing departments of an organization.
ADOBE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, BYNDER, CANTO, CENSHARE, CLOUDINARY, COGNIZANT, CELUM (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CUMULUS, DIGIZUITE, EXTENSIS, MEDIA VALET, MEDIABEACON, NORTHPLAINS, NUXEO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), OPENTEXT, PICTUREPARK, SITECORE (#1 Customer Satisfaction, #1 Price/Value), WEDIA, WIDEN
Account Based Marketing (Oct 2019). The ABM process is actually a long-established marketing/sales methodology in business services companies, where success depends so much on personal empathy and the relationship. The advent of digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and data analytics, now allows all B2B businesses to do ABM by leveraging collected behavioral and profile data on companies (accounts) or even individual buying decision-makers.
6SENSE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), AGENT3, D&B DATAVISION, DEMANDBASE, ENGAGIO (#1 Overall), KWANZOO, INSIDEVIEW, JABMO (#1 Price/Value), LATTICE ENGINE, LINKEDIN, MADISON LOGIC, MARKETO, MRP (#1 Customer Satisfaction), RADIUS, ROLLWORKS, TECHTARGET, TERMINUS, TRIBLIO, TRUE INFLUENCE, ZOOMINFO
Channel Marketing and Enablement (Nov 2019). Channel Marketing and Enablement processes cover the tasks involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel. Only a few vendors can help marketers to automate both sets of processes.
ANSIRA, CHANNELXPERTS, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS
Through-Channel Marketing Automation (Nov 2019). Part of the channel marketing processes involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel, TCMA brand and content asset management; where programs, promotions and leads are managed both down and up the channel. TCMA is also known as Local or Distributed Marketing.
ANSIRA, BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMUSCLE, BRIDGELINE DIGITAL, CHANNELXPERTS, CHANNELKONNECT, ELATERAL, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), NETSERTIVE, SPROUTLOUD, TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS
Partner Relationship Management (Nov 2019). Part of the channel marketing processes involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel, PRM is the set of processes around the partner relationship itself: recruitment, registration and classification, contractual details, information exchange, and more.
ANSIRA, CHANNELXPERTS, CHANNELTIVITY (#1 Price/Value), CHANNELKONNECT, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), MAGENTRIX, ORACLE, SALESFORCE, TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), WEBINFINITY, ZIFT SOLUTIONS
Feedback and comments are welcome, here or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Always keeping you informed! Peter
I’m coming to the end of my first year back as an industry analyst and thanks to all of you who recognized me from previous contacts and worked with me in 2019. Through my collaboration with Research in Action GmbH, I’ve interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation. And I’ve also talked to some 120 marketing software vendors and some have told me that I’ve set a new standard for market analysis. Here are a few general impressions from the year.
- Business POV is the right approach. My research reviews MarTech from the business practitioners’ point of view and names their most important business process, or perhaps family of processes. Why? Well, that’s how business people plan their automation projects and look for suitable software or SaaS suppliers. In our interviews, we discuss the process first and then the vendors they work with to improve that process in their company.
Many vendor CMOs tell me that this approach has been an eye-opener to them and some have even debated changing their messaging. On the other hand, quite a few still respond that they prefer to see themselves in a different technology category (than where customers named them?) and that I am therefore “wrong”. Others gladly take note of competitors they’d underestimated.
- Tech marketers still misunderstand the significance of brand. I’m amazed at how many MarTech vendors still only talk about themselves and their products, relying on product-based differentiation to be noticed. They don’t get that their customers are now expecting every aspect of their experience with a vendor to be as sophisticated, consistent, and frictionless as those they have with the most admired B2C brands.
Many vendors object to the weightings of selection criteria I use. But Customer Satisfaction and Price/Value Ratio feedback does far overweigh what people think of the product itself. The emotions that buyers experience when they consume a vendor’s content and engage with its employees define a company’s brand more than the product or service.
- Perception is reality and so important. We ask survey respondents to rate the vendors they know well – but that doesn’t mean that they’re customers or users necessarily, so it’s also an awareness and perception survey. Business professionals care about whether a vendor is innovative or if it has a partner ecosystem rich enough to reach their needs (geographic or industry), and they form those impressions based upon what information is available.
Incredibly, I have heard counter-arguments from several vendors that they only reveal their innovation and go-to-market strategy to anybody under non-disclosure terms. These day, so many vendors are eliminated from a list by buyers doing their own initial research – and the vendor doesn’t even know about it.
Next year, I will continue the same research process and revisit most of the topics covered in 2019. It will be interesting to see how the vendor landscapes change.
I will also be doing other research in collaboration with the B2B Marketing.net organization, based in London and Chicago. My first project is to prepare the keynote research, and a premium report, for the next GetStacked conference in March 2020, where I will report how B2B companies are planning and developing their marketing technology stacks. This is nice extension of the work described above and is determined by their conference schedule. Later in the year, I will explore other topics across B2B marketing.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
A few years ago, we began to hear a curious cacophony around ABM. ABM stands for “account-based marketing,” a marketing concept that’s been around for decades. Now, it is being used in reams of promotional copy distributed by marketing consultancies, data service providers, and software automation vendors alike.
Marketing-led prophesies can sometimes be self-fulfilling. So now, B2B marketers everywhere are busy researching, launching, and conducting ABM initiatives — ostensibly to engage prospects at target accounts with personalized messaging, content, and offers. And as a growing number of product vendors, service providers, and event organizers enter this gold rush, B2B marketers are in danger of falling for the “fool’s gold” of unrealistic revenue windfalls and investment returns.
‘Tis time to take stock and sieve this topic more effectively. The musicians among us would prefer to hear more harmony than discord. But the truth is that ABM means different things to different people; a recent survey of 120 B2B marketers on their strategies and tactics shows:
“73% agreed that ABM is a term that lacks specific meaning and is used inconsistently today.”
The same survey showed that four out of five found ABM effectiveness falls short of their expectations. So much for years of marketing spend by all those vendors!
My research, in comparison, can be somewhat boring: I talk about the age of the customer and the need for customer obsession, and, of course, I tell my B2B marketing clients that customer obsession should be account-based if that aligns with their business strategy. This summer, I did some extensive research into the experience of B2B marketers with their ABM projects, and their ABM vendors, for my latest Vendor Selection Matrix report.
The Cacophony Continues! ABM continues to be the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. And there are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. The software market is estimated at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.
ABM is just B2B marketing done properly. I was presenting a webinar on this topic yesterday together with Jon Miller of Engagio and we both agreed that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys.
And the Top 20 ABM Vendors are….. The top five vendors rated by the users are (all listed alphabetically) 6sense, Engagio, InsideView, Jabmo, and MRP. The vendors Demandbase, Kwanzoo, Madison Logic, Marketo, and Zoominfo complete the top ten. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence. Here is the report in its public version.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
What an exciting time to be discussing Marketing Lead Management (MLM) automation – a topic galvanized recently by the headline news that Adobe is acquiring Marketo for $4.75 Billion. Marketo – the vendor that led the first charge a decade ago to automate the MLM process in B2B companies, along with peers like Act-On, Hubspot, Eloqua, and Neolane. MLM automation continues to be a priority investment area for many CMOs – in our recent survey of 1500 users worldwide, 72% of respondents said they were now investing in it – half of those to replace their existing system. In fact, we estimate total annual software license, maintenance and SaaS revenues for MLM to be around $3.5 Billion this year, shared around roughly 60 vendors.
But planning to buy software, investigate the vendors and select the right solution is not a trivial task for any business professional. While the influence of IT professionals is increasing in this application area (historically, marketing has often been able to make autonomous decisions about its services and technology procurement), most marketing automation decisions are still finalized in the marketing department. But, as a CMO told me a few months ago: “The thing is, the vendors always know so much more than me, they talk about their solution every day – I only get into this topic occasionally and need to select a vendor partner perhaps once in a decade”.
The buyers inform themselves about potential vendors through general internet research, talking to their peers and reading industry analyst research. More and more, they use peer reviews websites such as G2 Crown or Capterra. The challenge for buyers is: analysts are mostly focused on the needs of large enterprises, their target clientele; while the peer review websites tend to get quite busy and difficult to align to specific needs.
I have spent the last months following a new research methodology which addresses those issues. I first surveyed the business users, asked them which vendors they have worked with, and asked for a rating of the vendors based on specific criteria (criteria aligned to the typical selection criteria used when selecting a software vendor). I then shared this “feedback” with the vendors and got briefed by them on their go-to-market strategy and product roadmap. The combined scoring schema of the 20 vendors most named by the survey respondents inform a Vendor Selection Matrix for Marketing Lead Management Software that I have now published. The survey is global and covers SMBs as well as enterprises. I’ve profiled the top 10 vendors with these headlines.
Act-On Software Mid-market success now spreading to the enterprise segment #1 Global Winner, Joint-#1 in Customer Satisfaction Hubspot Inventor of “inbound marketing” continues to innovate and execute Joint-#1 in Customer Satisfaction Marketo Marketing automation leader now under the Adobe brand promise Bpm’online Drive for process management in marketing helps bpm’online success Joint-#1 in Price/Value Ratio Salesforce Probably the preferred choice for Salesforce customers Adobe Investing BIG in marketing lead management Pegasystems The business process manager for marketers Salesfusion Capable marketing platform for SMBs with service if desired Joint-#1 in Price/Value Ratio SAP A brew in progress: a little SAP, Hybris plus Callidus – final recipe to come Oracle MLM leader gone cold due to lack of focus and corporate inertia
The biggest surprise is certainly the progress of Eloqua since it was acquired by Oracle. What is also clear is that many companies do not want a marketing application, but prefer a rapid development tool that enables them to automate their marketing processes specific to their needs, and quickly. This also reflects the increasing influence of IT professionals in the buying process. The survey report is available at the researchinaction.de website – the vendor scorecards are available to clients.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
Research firms like GG and Forr tend to want to bucket tech vendors into categories they’ve designed, usually derived from some sort of technology architecture or blueprint they think defines their world.
In my new role, I have decided NOT to do this for my Vendor Selection Matrix reports. I’ll document the USER point of view; not vendor nor technological. So I consider a business process (or perhaps a group thereof) within the marketing function. For me, there are several maturity phases in each process – which defines and informs the type of technology and organizations required.
One example is Marketing Lead Management. This process matures from: the initial phase where marketers just want to generate leads for sales through outbound marketing activities; through when they discover that they now also can collect and nurture inbound marketing leads; and culminating in the mature phase where they realize that marketing now should own leads throughout the customer lifetime and sales plays its role within that story.
Another is Brand Content Management. This matures from a basic desire to manage all digital branded assets in a central repository to ensure consistency; through actively leveraging content into marketing programs and channels; to the management of the brand messaging across the company, from corporate brand to the individual messaging statements around products. Companies working in a more distributed (sometimes called local) marketing environment deploy Brand Content Management systems to manage content across all their internal organizations, subsidiaries, and/or all business partners.
However, when we qualify users for their inputs into our Vendor Selection Matrix, we list out a group of technologies or labels within the process so that they recognize the subject dependent on their maturity level.
We then ask them to identify up to 3 vendors that they have had a business experience with on the topic. We also validate that the experience was not totally unfavorable and filter those out of the survey – the average number of vendors they speak about is just under two. We have developed a list of selection criteria based on our experience of helping and moderating vendor selection processes. We ask each user to score their vendors for each criterion. So that way, 60% of the matrix is scored by the users.
My job now is to complete the matrix by assessing the remaining 2 criteria: 1) Company Viability and Execution Capabilities and 2) Market Share and Growth, based on my own knowledge, desk research, what I hear from others, AND what I hear from the vendors in a briefing.
We also refine the survey over time. If we notice an item or priority appearing often in the “other” line, we add it to the list of items being offered. This happened in the BCM survey where many respondents had cited “headless CMS” as a priority and it is now in 5thposition.