Branding in B2B is Important
We are about to publish my next B2B Marketing Propolis Premium Report, titled
Building an Authentic Brand: Defining the Building Blocks for Brand Success.
It was great fun working with B2B Marketing colleagues Sue Mizera and Darren Coleman and the interviews were with marketing executives from Atos, Deloitte, Ideal, The IET, Kalibrate, Pension Insurance Corporation, and PwC.
This is the opening chapter; “Branding’s journey from logo to message to authenticity”.
“Even as B2B marketers become more precise and targeted up and down the funnel, brand strategy is still the starting point for many companies’ overall go-to-market approach. Why? Well, B2B companies that do not take an active role in crafting their brand are leaving perception up to chance. Having a defined brand allows companies to guide their narrative and the public’s opinion.
Branding is much more than building awareness; it establishes and maintains credibility with prospects, customers, employees and partners.
I well remember leading a multi-year project back in 2002–2005 helping the software giant SAP to understand how they won, or lost, their more important deals. For each deal, we would interview the customers about how they came to their buying decision. Every deal involved partners like business consultants and/or system integrators, and it was clearly important to SAP that we record not only what their customers were thinking, but also how those partners were communicating SAP values and their offering. Although the word ‘brand’ wasn’t used (B2B vendors did not talk about brand then; I am not even sure if the client worked in marketing), they were really checking on their brand consistency throughout their sales channel. Simply put, were the partners telling the same story as SAP?
Branding begins with consistency of presentation across all channels of communication, whether that’s digital or human, direct sales force, or business partners. But it’s not just the messaging about the product or service being offered; branding should also reveal a consistent value system that a business wants to present to the world. Not only what a company offers, but also what it believes in.
With that in mind, we held extensive interviews with several senior B2B marketers to help us obtain deep insight into the topic of brand authenticity – what it means to marketers, how they approach it, the value it can deliver, and the challenges they face. These interviews serve as the basis of this report.”
The report will publish to B2B Marketing Propolis clients next week and a shortened version to the non-premium members later in March. Contact me if you would like to get more details.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
MAP Research Nearly There
I am almost finished with my next Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) – the draft is with the vendors for fact checking. Here are some highlights that will, hopefully, make you more curious about the full report.
Our method of asking business managers to name software vendor(s) they associate with a certain topic collects the list of all vendors that are currently top of mind on the practitioner side. In this case we provided a definition and asked about their “Marketing Automation Platform” and the vendor landscape discovered will surprise some people and vendor staff will see new competitors they had not yet considered. Perception is reality. Most vendors were also scored highly, a sign of a mature market, but the survey results also
make it clear that expectations from marketing executives of MAP vendors have now changed dramatically.
More and more companies are now focusing on digital marketing programs as society and business reacts to the COVID-19 crisis. In parallel, the focus of digital marketing itself is moving from the simple realization of new business leads to a more engaging and relationship model, raising questions on MAP functions now needed, questions such as: is lead management or engagement management the main function required now?
Nearly three quarters of companies are using the MAP more than previously with over half of those companies are leveraging it for more products and services than before and/or for greater market coverage. The crisis has accelerated the inevitable and the increased dependency on digital marketing has exposed weaknesses in many MAP installations. So, it is no surprise that our survey found that 83% of the companies who have a MAP are actively reassessing the suitability of their current installation. 11% are already replacing their MAP. Another 24% of the respondents know they must migrate to something new and 50% know this will be the case for them soon.
63% claim that they are not getting the promised return from their MAP (46% citing that as a BIG problem). 91% have issues integrating the MAP to other systems with, again, the share citing that issue as a BIG challenge is well over 40%.
The re-assessment wave varies across the key regions of the world with North American enterprises already well into the replacement phase. Although there are 12 market leaders, ONLY 13% of companies are satisfied with their current MAP functionality – or just 10% in North America and in Europe.
Two thirds of companies lack the time/resources to use their MAP effectively while a similar proportion complain about lack of support, or over-promising, from the vendors (40% call this is a BIG challenge).
So, watch this space at the end of this month for more data and insights.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
2020 Vendor Landscapes
Here are the 2020 vendor landscapes discovered in my global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.
Channel Marketing and Enablement (Nov 2019). ”Channel” being business partners not marketing channel. I also wrote reports focused on Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) based on this list. This topic is often also called Local Marketing or Distributed Marketing.
IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), BRANDMAKER ( #1 Customer Satisfaction), TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS, CHANNELEXPERTS, BRANDMUSCLE, ELATERAL, ANSIRA, SPROUTLOUD, BRIDGELINE DIGITAL, NETSERTIVE, CHANNELKONNECT
Marketing Lead Management (Mar 2020). 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.
MARKETO (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ACT-ON (#1 Price/Value), HUBSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CREATIO (#1 Price/Value), ORACLE, SAP, ADOBE, SALESFORCE, RIGHT-ON INTERACTIVE, PEGASYSTEMS, EVERGAGE, SALESFUSION, SUGARCRM, ZOHO, CRM NEXT
Sales Engagement Management (May 2020). 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.
SEISMIC (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), CLEARSLIDE (#1 Price/Value), SHOWPAD, BRAINSHARK (#1 Price/Value), HIGHSPOT, SALESPHERE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BIGTINCAN, SAP, , MEDIAFLY, PITCHER, SALESLOFT, APPAROUND, ZOOMIFIER, PROLIFIQ, ACCENT TECHNOLOGIES
Digital Marketing Service Providers (Aug 2020). We wanted to ask marketing practitioners about the service providers they work with on their digital marketing projects. But what do we call this beast?
Marketing Agency … Marketing Consultant … Marketing Systems Integrator (SI) … Media Agency … Full Service Agency … Digital Agency … Digital Experience Agency …
Then I remembered posting a research report back in 2011 called “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP)” based on a consulting project I had just done. My Forrester colleagues didn’t like the term, but it led to many new engagements with both creative marketing agencies, who wanted to add more IT skills to their offering, and traditional IT-centric SIs wanting to expand their creative offerings. It worked for the survey and produced great results – but we also learned that these companies do little or no marketing about themselves, so the report had little traction. I was particularly pleased to see the provider that I based that 2011 Forrester report upon (I’ve known Valtech since they were a HP hardware reseller back in the 1990s) topping the survey results.
VALTECH (#1 Overall), R/GA, HUGE, MERKLE, 10PEARLS, CAPTECH, ICFNEXT, MPHASIS, EPAM, PROXIMITY, PUBLICIS SAPIENT, CRITICAL MASS, MULLENLOW PROFERO, PERKUTO, LEADMD, KIN & CARTER, CI&T, PEDOWITZ GROUP, THOUGHTWORKS, DIALEXA
BTW – the above research revealed this: DMSP are absolutely awful at marketing themselves (“cobblers children”).
Marketing Resource Management (Oct 2020). Marketing executives, as with any business executive, should have full visibility for the planning and effectiveness of all the business resources they deploy. The Marketing Resource Management (MRM) process manages all marketing assets and supports plans and budgets for marketing initiatives. As the topic is not fully deployed, we found a vendor landscape with a mix of vendors managing some asset types, those that manage projects resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.
BRANDMAKER (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), PERCOLATE BY SEISMIC (#1 Price/Value), APRIMO, WORKFRONT (#1 Price/Value), CONTENTSERV, ALLOCADIA, BRANDMASTER, SITECORE (#1 Sitecore), ELATERAL, WEDIA, INFOR, SAS, BIZIBLE, SAP, BRANDMUSCLE
Customer Data Management (Dec 2020). The vendor landscape for Customer Data Management (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 is different across the B2C and B2B spectrum, which we analyzed in the report at length.
TEALIUM (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), AQUIA (#1 Customer Satisfaction), EVERGAGE, SITECORE (#1 Price/Value), CXENSE, ACTIONIQ, ADOBE, REDPOINT GLOBAL, EULERIAN, BLUECONIC, COMMANDERS ACT, SALESFORCE, NGDATA, ORACLE
Always keeping you informed! Peter
Vendor Landscapes in 2021
Through 2021 in my work with Research in Action, I discovered many separate vendor landscapes – ALL LISTED BELOW FOR EVERYBODY TO READ. I interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and talked to well over 200 marketing software vendors – as discussed in this blog.
The vendor-marketers often respond with 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). Also, many vendors are very specific about their target market segment and we survey companies from mid-market to enterprise and across the globe and across all industries.
Here are the vendor landscapes discovered in those global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.
Marketing Event Management (Dec 2021). Selecting a Marketing Event Management (MEM) platform will probably be one of the more strategic decisions for CMOs in 2022. When many companies ran virtual events during the COVID-19 crisis, their immediate goal was to cover an already-planned live event with an online alternative as a work-around. Many executives made short-term decisions about the platform — optimization wasn’t yet part of their strategy, just getting it done.
ON24 (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZOOM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), MEETYOO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), 6CONNEX (#1 Price/Value), VFAIRS, NOTIFIED, CERTAIN, BIZZABO, ACCELEVENTS, KALTURA, AIRMEET, RAINFOCUS, CVENT, SPOTME, CADMIUMCD, SPLASH, HOPIN, CIRCA, MICROSOFT
Partner Management Automation (Oct 2021). This is my new label for what I (and many vendors) have traditionally called Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA). The digital world has now dramatically changed these processes and made the need for a broader technology platform (PMA) inevitable as companies deal with increasing volumes and types of partners.
IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), IMPACT.COM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS, MAGENTRIX (#1 Price/Value), WEBINFINITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CHANNEL MECHANICS, SALESFORCE, CHANNELEXPERTS (#1 Price/Value), CHANNELTIVITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER, COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, SPROUTLOUD, ORACLE
Brand Content Management (August 2021). This vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: brand governance, brand portal, digital asset management, content management hubs, even marketing resource management. Hardly any vendor can cover all process within BCM, so companies are deploying software from more than one of the vendors appearing in this landscape – 76% of the respondents have more than one vendor and 24% have six or more systems installed.
CENSHARE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), WEDIA (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMUSCLE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BYNDER (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMASTER, CELUM, OPTIMIZELY, SITECORE, ANSIRA, ADOBE, OPENTEXT, CAPITAL ID, ACOUSTIC, MARCOMCENTRAL
Product Information Management (May 2021). The recent acceleration of digital marketing and eCommerce investments has increased the need for marketers to be involved with this. So many companies must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and their marketers usually discover a mix of eCommerce channels: direct on their own websites, plus third parties such as marketplaces and distributors. The only way they can optimize the customer experience through all those channels is to pay much more attention to the PIM process, previously scoped only by IT and product management.
CONTENTSERV (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), RIVERSAND, INFORMATICA, STIBO SYSTEMS, SEMARCHY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), VIAMEDICI (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), PROFISEE (#1 Price/Value), TIBCO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), AKENEO, ATACCAMA, SAP, RELTIO, IBM, WINSHUTTLE, INRIVER
Account-Based Marketing (Apr 2021). ABM is a purely B2B imperative – many people would even say B2B marketing is ABM. But others would promote Account-Based Marketing and Selling. The resulting vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data collection and analytics, targeted advertising, marketing campaign orchestration, enabling intelligent engagement, and even sales enablement.
DEMANDBASE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), MRP (#1 Price/Value), 6SENSE (#1 Price/Value), JABMO, TECHTARGET (#1 Price/Value), KWANZOO, MADISON LOGIC, TERMINUS, ROLLWORKS, TRIBLIO, DUN & BRADSTREET, LEADSPACE, MINTIGO, METADATA.IO, UBERFLIP
Digital Experience Management (Feb 2021). This vendor landscape contains vendors with a wide variety of claims: web content management, content management systems, digital experience, through to digital commerce. The major enterprise application software vendors also offer their own DXM platform – the market feedback in report shows that their solutions are not appreciated though. The suitability of a DXM platform varies according to whether you are a medium-sized company or a large international enterprise.
ACQUIA (#1 Overall), E-SPIRIT, CROWNPEAK (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BLOOMREACH (#1 Customer Satisfaction), OPTIMIZELY (#1 Price/Value), COREMEDIA (#1 Price/Value), SITECORE, SQUIZ, ADOBE, IBEXA, CONTENTFUL, OPENTEXT, MAGNOLIA, SALESFORCE, ORACLE, SAP
Digital Asset Management (Jan 2021). Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology) – DAM projects mostly occur early in the maturity progression, but many companies then replace and/or consolidate their DAM projects at a later stage. The vendors listed here include some on the asset management function while others are more about the business processes around that.
SITECORE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), CENSHARE (#1 Price/Value), CLOUDINARY (#1 Price/Value), ADOBE, BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, CELUM, NUXEO, WIDEN, PICTUREPARK, CANTO, BYNDER, OPENTEXT, IMAGE RELAY, BRANDMASTER
Always keeping you informed! Peter