• News

    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 

  • Brand Content Management

    Why Brand Content Management is the business process

    I’ve been getting so many inquiries on my recent research around brand content management. Not necessarily about the vendor scorecards therein, though that has certainly created quite some debate, but more about the “name itself”. They ask, “why create a new software application category called brand content management?”  

    Well, firstly, I do not want to create any software application category. That is not what I am doing with my research. I am sitting back and considering the world from the business practitioners’ point of view and naming their most important business process, or perhaps family of processes. Why? Well, because I think that is how business people actually plan their automation projects and look for suitable software or SaaS suppliers.  When we run our surveys, we discuss the process first and then discuss which vendors they work with to improve that process in their company. 

    I think that brand content management is now a key process in any marketing department. As well as managing and distributing all their digital content assets effectively, marketers care very much about the usage of their 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 must even deploy this process across ecosystems of subsidiaries, and external business partners. 

    In the (very) old days, the brand used to be just the logo, typeface and Pantone reference, and marketers helped business partners use the right brand by providing binders or books with the printed article. Now, the brand is a combination of purpose, positioning, promise, personality and values: the impression or promise you want to leave behind. It is broadcast through every sentence published in your name, through the tone and vocabulary; ultimately, by all employees of the company. And when business partners are leveraging your brand in their digital marketing, marketers now can maintain control and compliance through the digital marketing technology.  

    The survey we did on brand content management showed this. The number 1 investment priority cited was “Consolidated management of all content assets” while close behind was “Managing brand messaging across the company”.  

    The vendor who was scored highest by business practitioners for the business process of brand content marketing was BrandMaker. The next leaders were Censhare, BrandMuscle, BrandSystems and Adobe – proving that including the word “brand” in your name may help a little. The vendors MarcomCentral, Bynder, OpenText, Pica9 and Code Worldwide made up the top 10 in the matrix, out of 50 active software and SaaS vendors globally generating around $ 2 billion in annual software licenses, maintenance and SaaS revenue.

    Over half of the respondents are investing in this topic for the first time. Those companies will be looking for a new content management platform that can handle all the content types they now have; is easy to use even for casual users; integrates to their existing systems and databases; and operates the necessary business rules and policies for the brand control that they need. Potential vendors who wish to help companies with their brand content management should consider these factors: 

    • Integration has become a significant requirement. As IT increases its influence on marketing projects, there is increased focus on integration capabilities to other marketing systems, including Product Information Management, CRM and MLM, even eCommerce systems.  
    • Vendor consolidation is a priority. Ultimately, marketers will want to avoid working with too many vendors; so a “good enough” solution from an incumbent vendor may suffice. Many marketing departments are not as sophisticated as you would like.  
    • Cloud-based solutions are preferred. SaaS-based software has made this automation technology easier to adopt and to integrate. This also results in increased interest from midmarket companies with smaller teams who can now afford to invest. 
    • Marketing attribution becomes a business fundamental.  Attribution remains a priority for B2B and B2B2C, mainly given the reality of increasing privacy legislation to adequately track behaviors and as the proliferation of available customer touchpoints mount. For companies with significant channel business, accurate attribution to the worthy partner is also an economic priority.  
    • Brand Content Management systems become platforms for all formats of communication.  The definition of brand content has expanded from corporate or product literature to include social media communications, video and other formats. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

    The Vendor Selection Matrix for brand content management is available here in a public version. Clients who purchase the report also obtain further data including vendor scorecards for each of the top ten vendors in the matrix. 

  • News

    Updated Calendar

    Due to client requests, I have adjusted my planned research calendar. Here is the new version.

    VSM ProjectField SurveyBriefingsPublish
    Brand Content Management  done    done  Dec 2018
    Sales Engagement Management  Nov 2018    Jan’19  Feb’19
    Web Content Management   Nov 2018    Jan’19  Mar’19
    Digital Asset Management  Dec 2018    Feb’19  Apr’19
    Account Based Marketing  Mar’19    Apr’19  Jun’19
    Partner Engagement Mgment.  Apr’19    May’19  Jul’19