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.