• DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Digital Marketers Discover the Power of Product Data

    As I stated in a previous blog, it now looks like data now rules the roost in marketing. Success no longer depends on creative events or content, or persuasion by charismatic sales people – marketing success is now data-driven. I was talking about customer data management (in B2C and increasingly in B2B too) and the B2B marketing’s own ABM process – in the context of  Vendor Selection Matrix reports earlier this year. 

    The ABM work led me to talk to several marketers working in manufacturing companies and those conversations pointed me to one important other flavor of data – product data. The recent acceleration of digital marketing and eCommerce investments has increased the need for marketers to be involved with product data, usually managed in a Product Information Management (PIM) system, which is why I have decided to reviewed this landscape for the first time. 

    Many manufacturers must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and the 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, which was previously scoped only by IT and product management.

    I did my usual survey of 1,500 business decision-makers, presented them with my definition of PIM and asked them to name and score their feedback about the vendors they knew enough about in that context. The survey discovered fifteen vendors that were rated often and highly enough in our survey to be included in the report. 

    Do you need a PIM Application or an MDM Vendor

    Now, the overall data-management process in companies is historically called Master Data Management (MDM) and is usually a family of processes managed out of the IT department. Those companies who do not even have MDM set up usually manage their product data within their ERP system. 

    Indeed, many of the vendors we discovered in the survey do still market their solutions as an MDM solution and are more focused on covering the requirements for data projects as specified by the IT department. Indeed, I have emails from vendors telling me that should not be covering them in my report on PIM because they “provide an Enterprise multi-domain Intelligent Data Hub”. Also from the ERP vendors named by some of the respondents denying they do any PIM at all. But then again, the customers of these vendor seem to think that they do. And isn’t the customer always right ???

    My research clearly found that Marketing professionals are now much more involved in using PIM for digital marketing and eCommerce to complete the digital experience. This is a much more business-oriented population, with job titles such as eCommerce brand managers and merchandise designers. So even those vendors who have been selling PIM for decades should extend their solutions and messaging to match the new needs and, most importantly, the different language of these users – and I paid particular attention to this in my briefings with the vendors. Plus, PIM must now integrate to other enterprise systems such as eCommerce and DXM. 

    There is going to be significant churn in the PIM software market: 29% plan to consolidate their PIM systems; 29% plan to replace what they have; and another 17% are investing in PIM for the first time. This varies across regions: 43% of North American respondents are in replacement mood while 45% of European companies, where PIM is more mature as a process, are planning consolidation projects.   

    Who is in the PIM Vendor Landscape ?

    Within the fifteen vendors scored by the 1,500 survey participants, these vendors ended up in the Market Leaders category, having both their Strategy and Execution score of over 4 out of 5 (listed alphabetically): 


    The full list was completed by these vendors: AKENEO, ATACCAMA, IBM, INRIVER, RELTIO, SAP, WINSHUTTLE.  

    The major reasons why Marketing is getting more involved with PIM are summarised in the graphic below. 

    We plan to publish the report later in May. Contact me if you’d like to hear more about this research.   

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • Design Thinking,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Democratic Research

    So – you need to automate important marketing processes in your business, and have begun researching which vendors provide the software your business will require for optimal functionality and strategy. 

    The good news? You’re not the only one who has travelled down that research path, and Research Reports can be an excellent source of information supporting your marketing automation decision. 

    The bad news? These report shouldn’t be taken at face-value, it’s important to understand the behind-the-scenes of each to determine just how big a grain of salt you are reading.

    There is a multitude of research report types so let’s categorize them at the highest level. On one end of the spectrum, you have the Analyst POV Reports with industry analyst expertise and in-depth research. On the other end, we have Crowd-Sourced Reports in which rankings are driven by the quality and quantity of user reviews. 

    Analyst POV Reports

    Pros: The research and evaluation processes here cannot be understated – the “Tier One” industry analysts who do this work are experts in their field and seriously know their stuff. They sit through strategy and product presentations/demos and some even get feedback from referenced customers. The vendors invest days of time and resources to provide the right information to the analyst. Of course, many also sign up as clients and engage with the analyst on an ongoing basis to optimize the relationship. 

    Spoiler Alert: In my time as Research Director at Forrester, I had an analyst in my team who only advised and consulted about how to execute the process of Analyst Relations (it’s part of B2B Marketing after all) – including how to get yourself placed in an optimal position in a quadrant or wave analysis.  

    Cons: The Analyst POV Report is offered to the research firm’s clients, which are usually large enterprises (that fact also influences the list of vendors included, of course). These are smaller communities than is often assumed. Usually, the readership of each report behind their paywall is perhaps in the hundreds – one vendor client told me that the latest two reports where his product was featured had 480 and just 58 views on the research website.

    That can be a little depressing to the analyst – all that work and so little attention. Of course, the brand power, and resulting product-marketing ego, of being in a “Magic Quadrant” or “Forrester Wave” means that some vendors buy reprint-licenses and offer a download of the report through their  website. And they book the analyst to make speeches/webinars about the research – a little show business that compensates for the initial disappointment perhaps. 

    Some of the vendors are just happy to be in the report, regardless of whether they are positioned well or not. Here is an example of someone who bought a license –even though Gartner had rated eight vendors higher than them in Execution capabilities. 

    Crowd-Sourced Reports

    Pros: It’s probably also helpful to seek out feedback from other users; peers who share the good, bad, and everything in between about a product. There are several such feedback websites now up and running for all types of software applications, including marketing. 

    Cons: Have you ever looked up your favorite restaurant on Yelp, noticed a few one-star reviews, and wondered how they could come to such contrasting conclusions? A single review (good or bad) shouldn’t dictate your software-buying decision, just like with any other product. Remember: User opinions have varying levels of actual marketing automation understanding–that is to say, just because someone writes a review does not make them an expert in the field.

    Additionally, report rankings are driven by the quality and quantity of user reviews. If a company has a few hundred reviews with a high rating average, and another has a few thousand reviews with above-average ratings, it is likely the latter will position better in the report due to the sheer number of reviews. This is a huge advantage for larger vendors that have been on the market for a long time, and it’s likely they have review incentive programs to boost their ranking.

    Well, What About Something In-Between ?

    We’ve created a different methodology at my business partner Research in Action. We survey 1,500 practitioners about THEIR view of a vendor’s product, service, value-for-money, and ability to innovate. The vendors who score highly enough in the survey qualify to get into the Vendor Selection Matrix™ report (usually 15 to 20 vendors). 

    Then, that curated market feedback is flavored with a touch of industry analyst expertise to provide a more well-rounded recipe for successful vendor selection. In fact, much more than the quadrant or wave reports, these reports are embellished with several pages of trends insights that inform both buyers and vendors alike about what is most important when investing in the upcoming project. 

    Democratic Research is In-Between and Open 

    When Research in Action publishes its (my) reports, they are made available to several communities, for free:

    • Survey respondents. The 1,500 marketing software decision-makers who answered the survey questions are provided with the full report as feedback
    • Survey panel. Research in Action maintains an active survey panel on a global basis with contact details and topics of interest: a current total of 90,000 Marketing Automation decision-makers. These panel members are informed of the report and can download it if desired
    • Website visitors. Any viewers of the Research-in-Action website sees a “public version” without the exact scores and matrix placements of each vendor (to save their embarrassment) but with all insights and the most important facts on each vendor.  
    • Vendor reprints. Research-in-Action does also license reprints, where a vendor can distribute a copy of the report, including their detailed profile, to interested parties. 

    As an analyst, I am proud that so many people now get to see my work. And, when I am booked to do speeches and webinars, I realize that they are booking me personally, not the brand power. 

    The Vendor Selection Matrix™ reports do fill that gap between an industry analyst report focused on large enterprise needs, and the “trip-advisor” type of review websites. They also reach and assist a broader community of software buyers. Lastly, the community reading the reports is probably a whole order of magnitude higher than the audience able to access the “Tier One” research reports.    

    Here is our latest Market Impact statistics chart.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Propolis, a new digital community for B2B Marketing

    I’ve been working with the B2B Marketing organization contributing research-based reports and presentations at their events. Recently, calling on my 10 years of experience in the research industry, I’ve also been able to contribute to their planning for a new community platform, which launched in January this year and already has over 1,000 members.   

    Propolis is an exclusive new digital community for B2B marketers, and one which we all believe will become the new home for the B2B marketing industry. By design, Propolis will have a diverse membership; not just executives but entire teams of people in leading global organisations based across the globe. The global expansion is real: I noticed that myself last March, when presenting at GetStacked 2020, all of a sudden I had listeners from around the world, not just from the UK.

    The naming is quite elegant. Propolis is a resin that bees use to both build and protect their hives. That makes it a perfect metaphor for the buzzing, vibrant and productive community that we will be generating. Within Propolis, there are eight separate Hives, built around the core pillars of B2B marketing, where members can explore and expand their knowledge on their chosen areas of interest. 

    If that were not enough, there are also areas dedicated to individuals of different areas of seniority, as we know CMOs have different community needs to marketing directors or line managers.

    I am the resident “Lead Analyst” for Propolis and get to write one research report for each of the hives during 2021, working with the designated Hive Expert, each of them a recognized B2B marketing expert. We usually run a survey and interview other practitioners to inform the report.  The first report, Moving Forwards with Marketing Operations, is now available; the second survey, on customer experience is in the field; and the third survey, about campaigns and execution is being finalized. 

    I think that Propolis has the potential to be nothing less than a game changer for B2B marketing as an industry, as a profession, and most of all as a community. The way that business professionals want to consume and discuss industry and disciplinary trends is changing to become much more:

    • Digital. Meaning that there is interactivity, not just website documents
    • Democratized. Where all job levels can afford to benefit from the information
    • Discussion-based.  Where peer inputs are valued just as much as the so-called experts. 

    As an industry analyst, I am proud to be able to offer my wisdom in this community but realize that I am learning from every interaction as well.

    It is strange: about 7 years ago, I had an argument with Joel Harrison, Editor-in-Chief of B2B Marketing because he claimed that they and Forrester Research, where I worked then, were competitors. I did not believe that a journalism-based site was in that position, though I did agree that they probably captured budgets that could have been spent on my stuff.

    NOW, we will see what happens. I look forward to our interactions in Propolis.  

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • Channel Marketing and Enablement,  Marketing Lead Management,  Partner Management Automation,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Wettbewerbslandschaften in 2020

    Im Laufe des letzten Jahres habe ich in Rahmen meiner Arbeit mit Research in Action viele verschiedene Anbieter-Wettbewerbslandschaften aufgedeckt – DIESE WERDEN IM FOLGENDEN AUFGELISTET. Ich habe Tausende von Marketer zur Automatisierung ihrer Geschäftsprozesse befragt und mit fast 200 Marketing-Software-Anbietern gesprochen. 2020 wurde ich von deutlich mehr Anbietern gebrieft als im Vorjahr, als ich meine Tätigkeit als unabhängiger Analyst anfing. Dies ist sehr erfreulich aber verlängert dadurch auch die jeweiligen Projekte.

    Die Marketing-Fachleute einiger Anbieter trafen häufig Aussagen oft wie: „Merkwürdig, dass Anbieter auf ihrer Liste sind, welche ich selten wahrnehme und gegen welche ich meiner Meinung nach nicht konkurriere“. Dies begründet sich darin, da ich zu Beginn des Interviews einen Marketingprozess beschreibe und die Teilnehmenden dazu befrage, mit welchen Anbietern sie bei diesem Prozess zusammenarbeiten. Ich versuche hierbei Kategorie-Begriffe zu vermeiden, welche von anderen Analysten oder Produktmanagern erfunden wurden, da Vermarkter in der Regel nicht in diesen Kategorien denken (dies ist eher eine IT-zentrische Eigenschaft). Wir befragten weltweit Unternehmen vom Mittelstand bis zum Großunternehmen, während einige Anbieter ein sehr spezifisches Zielmarktsegment haben. 

    Die Herausforderung für Software-Vermarkter bleibt jedoch bestehen: Fokussiert man sich auf hervorragende Leistung in einer Kategorie oder darauf, von Marketing Fachleuten gefunden zu werden, welche Lösungen für Fragen der Automatisierung suchen. Manchmal können sich diese Ziele und Taktiken sogar gegenseitig behindern. 

    Im Folgenden werden die Vendor Landscapes (Anbieter-Wettbewerbslandschaften) dargestellt, welche im Rahmen meiner globalen prozessorientierten Umfragen gefunden wurden. Allerdings, habe ich auch ab und zu, den deutschen Markt auch untersucht. Die Anbieter sind nach ihrem jeweiligen Ranking in der Grafik “Vendor Selection Matrix” aufgelistet.  

    Channel Marketing und Enablement (Nov 2019). “Channel” bedeutet in diesem Fall Geschäftspartner, nicht Marketingkanal. Basierend auf dieser Liste habe ich auch Berichte zu den Themen Partner Relationship Management (PRM) und Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) verfasst. Dieses Thema wird häufig auch Local Marketing gennant. Das dramatischste Feedback, welches ich für diesen Bericht erhielt war die Drohung eines Anbieters, mich zu verklagen. Dieser wehrte sich dagegen nicht auf Platz 1 gelistet zu sein und behauptete, dass er mir (oder seinen 124 Kunden) nicht die Erlaubnis gegeben habe, über ihn zu sprechen/schreiben.


    Marketing Lead Management (März 2020). Oft einfach als Marketing-Automation genannt, MLM Prozesse werden in Marketing- und Vertriebsabteilungen angewandt, um die Sammlung von unqualifizierten Kontakten zu unterstützen. Darüber Hinaus beschreiben Sie die Möglichkeiten von diversen Marketing Werkzeugen wie direkter Post oder Email Antwort, Datenbank Marketing Programmen, anderen mehrkanaligen Marketingkampagnen, Offline Interaktionen wie Seminare oder Messen, Kontakte aus Sozialen Medien und Web-Seiten. 

    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 (Mai 2020). Marketing spielt eine zunehmend aktive Rolle in der Befähigung des Vertriebspersonals, welche durch die robusten Werkzeugen einer All-in-one Plattform möglichst produktiv mit kompetenten Käufern und Kunden interagieren können.


    Digitale Marketing-Service-Provider (Aug 2020). Wir wollten befragen Marketing-Fachleute nach den Dienstleistern, mit denen sie bei ihren digitalen Marketing-Projekten zusammenarbeiten. 

    …aber wie nennen wir dieses Ungetüm? Marketing-Agentur … Marketing-Berater … Marketing-Systemintegrator (SI) … Media-Agentur … Full-Service-Agentur … Digital-Agentur … Digital Experience Agency …

    Dann erinnerte ich mich an einen Forschungsbericht, den ich im Jahr 2011 veröffentlichte mit dem Titel “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP) – Der Aufstieg der Digitalen Marketing Service Provider“. Dieser basiert auf einem Beratungsprojekt, welches ich gerade durchgeführt hatte. Meinen Forrester Kollegen gefiel diese Terminologie zum Teil nicht, jedoch erhielt ich daraufhin viele Anfragen und Aufträge von Marketing-Agenturen, welche mehr IT-Fertigkeiten in ihrem Angebot anstrebten und traditionellen Systemintegratoren, welche ihr kreatives Angebot erweitern wollten. Die Bezeichnung DMSP reichte für diese Befragung aus und lieferte zufriedenstellende Ergebnisse – wir lernten jedoch auch, dass diese DMSP’s wenig oder gar kein eigenes Marketing betrieben, so dass der Bericht vergleichsweise wenig Resonanz erhielt. Außerdem ist zu erwähnen, dass ich besonders erfreut war zu sehen, dass der Anbieter VALTECH, auf welchen ich den Forrester-Bericht von 2011 stützte, die Umfrageergebnisse anführt (VALTECH kenne ichseit sie in den 1990er Jahren ein HP-Hardware-Reseller waren).


    Übrigens – Die obige Recherche ergab: Das Selbstmarketing von DMSP’s ist noch sehr dürftig und ausbaubar.

    Digitale Marketing-Service-Provider – Deutschland (Sep 2020). Hier ist die Liste aus den deutsche Erhebung


    Marketing Resource Management (Okt. 2020). Marketing-Führungskräfte sollten, wie alle Führungskräfte, stets den vollen Überblick über die Planung und Effektivität aller von ihnen eingesetzten Unternehmensressourcen haben. Der Marketing Ressourcen Management (MRM) Prozess verwaltet alle Marketing-Assets (Vermögenswerte) und hilft bei der Entwicklung von Plänen und Budgets für Marketinginitiativen. Da dieses Thema noch nicht vollständig ausgereift und implementiert ist, entdeckten wir eine Wettbewerbslandschaft mit einer Mischung aus verschiedensten Anbietern. Manche Anbieter verwalten einige Typen von Vermögenswerten, andere verwalten Ressourcen für bestimmte Projekte und eine dritte Gruppe von Anbietern verwaltet das gesamte Spektrum an digitalen Vermögenswerten, Talenten, Budgets und Projekten.


    Kundendaten-Management (Dez. 2020). Die Wettbewerbslandschaft für Kundendaten (Customer-Data) Management (CDM) besteht aus einer bunten Mischung von Anbietern mit den unterschiedlichsten Behauptungen zum Nutzen ihrer Dienstleistungen: Datenkonsolidierung, Sammeln ganzer Clickstreams, Erstellen eines “Golden Record” durch Identitätsauflösung, Ermöglichen von intelligentem Engagement und Identitäts-Tagging. Zudem unterscheiden sich die Herausforderungen eines effektiven Kundendaten-Managements vom B2C- zum B2B-Spektrum, was in dem Bericht ausführlich analysiert und beschrieben wird. 


    Zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren, Feedback und Kommentare gerne an poneill@marchnata.eu

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • ABM,  DAM,  Marketing Lead Management,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Data (ABM) now drives B2B Marketing

    My work on several projects in the last months has led me to this one clear conclusion. I recently issued a report on Customer Data Management profiling the Top 15 vendors automating this process for marketers in many different types of companies, including B2B organizations. I have also done extensive surveys and practitioner interviews for B2B marketing for their Propolis community on martech, marketing operations and customer experience. And next month, I’ll publish my report on Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Heh! I’ve been so active that Onalytica now list me as a data analyst

    It is clear that technology can now “read” a marketplace and name exactly those companies that are “in market” for a certain topic (ie. have a budget and firm intent to invest). And it can produce a profile of all decision makers in each company (account), documenting exactly that person’s decision criteria and/or preferences plus, perhaps, their recent research history (what other offers are they considering, how much information do they have). 

    That does make me shudder a little – that was exactly what I did as a field marketer personality, always in contact with vendors and users alike, working for HP Germany during the 1990s.

    It now looks like data now rules the roost in B2B marketing. Success no longer depends on creative events or content, or persuasion by charismatic sales people, marketing success is now data-driven. 

    Here is what my ABM report will say……

    ABM has spread across all B2B sectors

    ABM technologies were first adopted in the software industry but are now being deployed in financial services, healthcare and now, increasingly, in the health care and manufacturing sectors. The trend towards digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and general data analytics, and now accelerated by the COVID-19 business environment, has motivated all these B2B businesses to collect as much behavioral and profile data about individual buying decision makers as possible, and then to:

    • Post localized contextual content marketing programs to profiled visitors
    • Send personalized/specific digital marketing content to individual prospects
    • Capture prospects who may have left the website unsatisfied by re-targeting 
    • Gather and calculate “propensity to buy” data and provide this data to sellers 
    • Aggregate digital behavior across a buying team to provide guidance to marketing and sales.

    ABM platforms help marketing to play its role in revenue success. Leading-edge CMOs now favor an ecommerce model and focus on customer experience, all of which requires an ABM approach. Even digital advertising has become fundamental for B2B marketers, and ABM software supports ad-targeting by either providing native advertising capabilities or at least enabling integrations with partner solutions.

    ABM is how B2B marketing should be

    B2B sellers work at an account level and most B2B projects involve large and complex buying centers and decision processes. So mature B2B CMOs now focus on account-based work, developing and maintaining engagement with important contacts in target accounts. Account-based marketing and selling is how B2B marketing should work, mixing digital and human communication. 

    ABM platforms could become the new marketing backbone system

    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 it is a highly-active playing field for venture capital investors. The leading ABM platform vendors have product roadmaps to expand into a wide range of engagement channels, including direct mail and campaign personalization. Currently, most users connect ABM systems to the (older) incumbent marketing lead management (MLM) platform to cover that. But most MLMs have been slow to embrace ABM so, as martech budgets tighten, ABM urgency could drive MLM vendors out of their market. 

    The ABM nomenclature will fade out in the near-term. 

    B2B marketing will end up being 100% account-based in its digital marketing, informed and optimized by data collected about those accounts. This will remove the need for the ABM label – the new system of engagement is, essentially, the (ABM-based) B2B marketing cloud with data as the hub: an account-based go-to-market platform. 

    We plan to publish the report on April 12th. I can reveal now that the global survey of 1,500 practitioners scored these vendors as Market Leaders (a score of over 4/5 on both the Strategy and Execution axis): 6SENSE, DEMANDBASE, KWANZOO, JABMO, MADISON LOGIC, MRP, TECHTARGET, and TERMINUS.

    Contact me if you’d like to hear more about this ABM research, including the other ABM vendors selected and scored in our global survey of 1,500 practitioners.  

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • ABM,  BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  Channel Marketing and Enablement,  DAM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Sales Enablement Management

    2020 Vendor Landscapes

    Through the last year in my work with Research in Action, I have 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 nearly 200 marketing software vendors – as discussed in this blog. I was briefed by many more vendors in 2020 than in 2019, when starting out as an independent analyst, which was gratifying but also made the projects longer. 

    The vendor-marketers often remark 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). We also survey companies from mid-market to enterprise and across the globe, while many vendors are very specific about their target market segment. 

    But the challenge for marketing software marketing professionals remains: Do you focus on shining in a category; or do you ensure you are found by marketing professionals when they seek an answer to their automation challenges. Sometimes, these objectives and tactics may even be mutually exclusive. 

    Here are the 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. The most dramatic feedback I had for this report was a threat to be sued by one vendor who, firstly objected to being lower than #1 and, secondly, claimed that they had not given me (nor their 124 customers) permission to talk/write about them.


    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 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.


    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. 


    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.


    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. 


    Feedback and comments to poneill@marchnata.eu please.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • ABM,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    Propensity to Switch DAM, DX and ABM Vendors

    I have collected several new Recommendation Index (RI) values from my recent Vendor Selection MatrixTMreports on Digital Asset Management, Digital Experience Management and ABM. Remember, a few months ago I suggested that this is a significant leading-indicator of long-term customer satisfaction but also, more importantly, of the propensity to switch vendors.

    (picture source: iStock.com/PrettyVectors

    The RI (the simple percentage of respondents who answer “yes, I would recommend this vendor to my peers in this market”) encapsulates a longer- term, more strategic element of customer satisfaction – essentially it is a measurement of customer loyalty. It is for that reason that we have included the points earned through the RI score in our Strategy axis on the matrix and give it a significant 25% weighting.

    The data below shows that the vendors listed in our Digital Asset Management (DAM) landscape include several that should feel threatened by a propensity to switch. Our survey also showed that 51% of the respondents were planning to consolidate their many and disparate DAM vendors – always a moment of truth for a supplier if your client is not really satisfied with their overall experience. 

    Next week we will publish our report on the top Digital Experience Management (DXM) vendors as rated by our global survey of 1,500 practitioners. There is, indeed, already a lot of churn in this market as businesses race to replace their older web content management platforms with a more capable and holistic DXM solution. The large enterprise application software vendors may have provided “good-enough” platforms till now, but most businesses driving and accelerating their digital transformation are more likely to turn to specialist providers in the future. 

    Here is a sneak preview of my next report, on Account-Based Marketing which is coming out later this quarter. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the 90s but four are below the 95% number that I would set as an alert.  

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory but an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is already a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    If you want to see further tables, The first blog last year had data for Marketing Lead Management, Sales Engagement Management, and Marketing Resource Management vendors. The second post shows data on Customer Data Management vendors.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    I am an Influencer

    One of the challenges working as an independent analyst is explaining what I do now – especially in a private environment. When you work for a company, people associate your work easily with whatever that firm is famous for. Now I need to much more explaining about the potential outcome of my work. 

    I actually considered adopting the persona of a “B2B Marketing Influencer” when I started out … but got nervous of people seeing me as some sort of blogger testing perfumes, clothes or something else.  

    But that role is, slowly but surely, becoming important in our business world. When I hear myself describe the “market impact” of our Vendor Selection MatrixTM reports to software vendors (“We work with a panel of 100,000 marketing decision-makers”; “Our reports get 15,000 clicks on average”), perhaps that is the role that I fulfilling now. These reports are “influential” because we combine real feedback from 1,500 practitioners and with a seasoned Analyst’s point of view and experience. 

    The software vendor Onalytica offers an influencer marketing software platform that connects brands with topical influencer communities and helps them to scale and structure influencer programs globally. Many of the brands working with this software are B2B vendors and providers. This is what they have to say in their 2019 The Complete Guide to Industry and B2B Influencer Marketing :

    Influencer Marketing is now at a point where we no longer feel the need to explain why it is important, it  has become an integral strategy for Industry and B2B Marketing. Influencer Marketing was voted the 2nd

    most important trend for B2B Marketing according to research released by Raconteur in July 2019 interviewing 214 senior B2B Marketers across North America and Europe.

    Add to this that WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing) has been around for as long as humans have. When we have a positive or negative experience with a brand, we are inclined to share that with our peers.

    WOMM results in 5x more sales than paid media and people are 90% more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s recommendation. Influencer Marketing is no longer the “nice to have”, but rather the “must have” strategy.  

    Onalytica cleverly beats their own drum by periodically publishing a Who is Who report for a certain topic where they discover the most influential experts using Onalytica’s 4 Rs methodology (Reach, Resonance, Relevance and Reference) based upon quantitative data pulled through LinkedIn, Twitter, Personal Blogs, YouTube, Podcast, and Forbes channels, plus qualitative data pulled by their insights and analytics team to  capture offline influence. All these influential experts are categorised by influencer persona, the sector they work in, their role within that sector, and more from a curated database of 1m+ influencers.

    That sounds like powerful stuff. Which is why I was so pleased to be included in their latest report on Data Management. My Vendor Selection MatrixTM on Customer Data Management came out in December and I seem to have hit on a hot topic at exactly the right time. As well as the more harmless self-publicity thrusts I make via Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Research in Action and marchnata websites, there is a hive of dialogue going on with both vendors and buyers, which their tools picked up. I also published a report on Digital Asset Management in January which is having a similar impact. Somehow, that got me into the Analysts category of the top Influencers for the topic. I am listed there among illustrious full-time experts (remember, I cover various topics within marketing process automation during the year) working for the giants of my industry. 

    I have never briefed Onalytica, not even talked to them. When they published the report, they could not even email me but had to send out a Twitter post. 

    Here below is the page where I feature. The full report (free but gated) is available here

    The Who’s Who in Data Management page which includes me

    Always Keeping You Informed !  Peter

  • Uncategorized

    Information Supply Chain

    In my research with marketing practitioners, I investigate various processes around the management of marketing information and all relevant digital assets – which process name is most relevant to a company depends on Marketing’s process maturity which I see moving through these 5 phases over time: 

    1. Chaotic. Neophyte marketers focus on their product so the first important information management process is Product Information Management (PIM) – ensuring all company output shows the most recent product data (specifications, pricing, offers, use cases, and so on).  
    2. Reactive. The added complexity of digital marketing and multi-channel fulfillment programs requires a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system – many firms must combine multiple content assets systems into a more comprehensive asset database. IT-centric projects are named Master Data Management while marketers prefer a title like Universal Content Management or Hub. 
    3. Stable. DAM/PIM becomes part of a greater Brand Content Management (BCM) process when brand governance across multiple channels (digital channels plus external channels such as resellers) is needed. The need to manage assets AND better plan/budget for all Marketing results in a more holistic/operational Marketing Resource Management process, which may include BCM.   
    4. Proactive. When marketing’s role inevitably matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a full customer experience, focus switches to attribution analytics: identifying exactly where and how marketing is contributing to revenue success.
    5. Predictive. The most advanced marketers have digital assets managed in the MRM system and combined with other business data, so that a CMO can monitor the performance of all marketing programs, campaigns and asset projects. 

    The software vendors around these processes are all challenged to promote their benefits because the success of their messaging depends on where their potential buyer is the above model. Some market beyond their product capabilities using thought leadership marketing and others sometimes sell below their full capabilities in a modular fashion to get their foot in the door. I often hear these phrases in vendor briefings:

    • “Well, we are quite a bit more than just a DAM solution”
    • “We offer a DAM and a PIM module, most of our customers use us for both”
    • “We have a PIM that helps our clients to provide a product experience”
    • “Our system is really an MRM solution, but this year, most companies are just looking for DAM”.

    I also work with a list of other vendors outside of marketing whose value proposition is more about what can be done with the content.  A company like Empolis stresses the application of artificial intelligence to the content-data in order to accelerate the solving of support  problems by call centers and service teams. The vendor Quanos has content solutions that can automatically create all those important accompanying documents for many products, such as instruction documents, data sheets and catalogues. 

    Another way of representing the management of information/data is the supply chain metaphor, where The Information Supply Chain (ISCM) would represent a chain of connected software solutions in parallel with the classic Supply Chain concept. The term ISCM was actually coined by the chief analyst, Temel Kahyaoglu, of an organisation called The Group of Analysts (TGOA), way back in 2008 here in Germany. 

    That makes sense because this area of software technology is heavy with German, Austrian and Swiss vendors successful with their products on a global basis. TGOA’s ISCM concept splits the processes, and resulting product categories, into: Information Procurement: Information Preparation; and Information Distribution.

    TGOA also had several innovative ideas about how to represent products and services with their concept of  the Market Performance Wheel. I am interested in following these methodologies further and will be working with Temel and TGOA now to further develop the concept as they relaunch their business anew. This is in addition to my work with Research in Action, B2B Marketing and other clients.   


    Always Keeping You Informed !  Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Propensity to Switch CDM Vendors

    A few months ago, I had collected together all the Recommendation Index (RI) values from my 2020 Vendor Selection MatrixTM reports on various marketing process automation topics. I had proposed that I see this becoming a significant leading indicator of long-term customer satisfaction but also, more importantly, of the propensity to switch indicated by customers. It is for that reason that we have included the points earned through the RI score in our Strategy axis on the matrix and give it a significant 25% weighting. 

    in our surveys, we actually ask about two items directly related to customer retention: the current satisfaction, and the “would you recommend this vendor?” question. Customer satisfaction is defined as a measurement that determines how happy customers are right now with the solution being evaluated and flows into the Execution axis of the matrix. 

    The RI (the simple percentage of respondents who answer “yes”) encapsulates a longer- term, more strategic element of customer satisfaction – essentially it is a measurement of customer loyalty.

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory, an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is already a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    The first blog had the data for Marketing Lead Management, Sales Engagement Management, and 

    Marketing Resource Management vendors. Here is the data from my latest report on Customer Data Management. The table shows quite a range of Recommendation Index values — but all in the 90s. However, as this is a relatively new area of investment and quite a few companies (users) are still creating, developing and/or tuning their CDM strategy, there is likely to be some churn in this market segment over the next years.    

    Always keeping you informed! Peter