• Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Web Experience Management

    Käufer wollen Produkte im richtigen Kontext sehen

    Szenario 1: Ein Produkt, aber viele unterschiedliche Käufer

    Stellen Sie sich vor, Sie sind ein Hersteller von Werkzeugmaschinen, wie z. B. einer hochwertigen Bohrmaschine, einer echten Hochleistungsbohrmaschine mit hohem Drehmoment und einem Schlagschrauber. Ein Werkzeug, welches von verschiedenen Profis benötigt wird, z. B. von Bauarbeitern, von Automechanikern und von Zimmerleuten, in einer Garage, Werkstatt oder auch bei der Montage vor Ort. 

    Die Herausforderung ist nun: Wie können Sie die Bohrmaschine so präsentieren, dass sie jede dieser Zielgruppen anspricht (und von ihnen gekauft wird)? Wie können Sie sicherstellen, dass Ihre Produkte auch dort angezeigt werden, wo diese ganz unterschiedlichen Käufer nach ihren Werkzeugen suchen?

    Szenario 2: Eine Website, aber viele unterschiedliche Besucher

    Stellen Sie sich jetzt einmal vor, dass Sie ein großer Einzelhändler für Heimtierzubehör sind. Sie vertreiben Tausenden von Produkten für sämtliche Arten von Haustieren, und der Großteil Ihrer internationalen Kunden und Interessenten shoppt heutzutage digital. Eines Tages könnte Ihre Website also von einem in den USA ansässigen Besitzer mit einem etwas ungewöhnlichen Haustier besucht werden, z. B. einer Glattechse. Ein anderer Besucher aus Asien hat ein eher klassisches Haustier wie eine Katze. Und wieder ein anderer Besucher ist in Südafrika ansässig, hat besonders anspruchsvolle Bedürfnisse und besitzt aus diesem Grund einen Diensthund.

    Diese vielfältigen Profile werfen Fragen auf: Wie können Sie Ihre Produkte jedem einzelnen Online-Besucher im Kontext seiner jeweiligen Bedürfnisse und seines Umfelds präsentieren? Wie können Sie die Inhalte sogar so weit wie möglich für jeden dieser Besucher personalisieren?

    Kundenzentrierung – ehemals analoge Wechselbeziehungen sind nun digital

    Die letztendliche Umwandlung eines Standard-Produkts in eine kundenspezifische Lösung wurde früher durch überzeugende Verkaufsgespräche erreicht. Verantwortlich dafür waren in der Regel Außendienstmitarbeitern, die die Kunden besuchten oder empfingen. Oder auch Verkaufsmitarbeiter in Ausstellungsräumen, die die richtigen Fragen stellten, bevor sie die empfohlenen Produkte präsentierten und anpriesen. Herausragende Produktunternehmen verteilten sogar Print-Materialien, in denen der Verkäufer die richtigen Illustrationen und Use Cases auswählte, die zum Profil des Kunden passten. Die Kundenzentrierung war im Wesentlichen analog und personenorientiert.

    Die heutige Realität ist jedoch digital und global. Die meisten Käufer durchforsten im Vorfeld mehrere Vertriebskanäle und Websites, um sich über die Lösungen zu informieren, die sie nutzen möchten. Der Besuch von Ausstellungsräumen oder Verkaufsgespräche in den eigenen 4 Wänden gehören längst der Vergangenheit an. Die Art der Kundenzentrierung, die von gut informierten Verkäufern gewährleistet wurde, muss heute folglich Teil von digitalen Prozessen und Systemen sein, die eine E-Commerce-Welt unterstützen. 

    Hersteller wie der oben erwähnte Bohrmaschinenhersteller wollen die Produktinformationen genau im Kontext jedes potenziellen Kunden präsentieren. Und in dieser digitalen Welt müssen sie diese Produktpräsentation auch über ihre Handelspartner oder Einzelhändler und in den meisten Fällen auch auf ihrer eigenen Websites gewährleisten. Der ebenfalls oben erwähnte Einzelhändler für Heimtierprodukte hat beispielsweise einen mehrsprachigen Online Shop, der mit Produktdateien von Tausenden verschiedenen Lieferanten zurechtkommen muss – aber er möchte auch die Konsistenz seiner eigenen Marke wahren und zusätzliche Dienstleistungen wie Schulungsinhalte und Werbepakete anbieten, die auf den Kunden ausgerichtet sind.

    Digitale Käufer fordern IHR persönliches Erlebnis

    Digitalisierung macht ungeduldig. Marketern sehen sich mit vielfältigen, wie den oben genannten und ähnlichen Herausforderungen konfrontiert. Diese werden immer größer, da Kunden jede E-Commerce-Website, auf der sie sich nicht willkommen fühlen und verstanden fühlen, umgehend wieder verlassen. 

    Ob Verbraucher oder professionelle B2B-Käufer – sie sind unbeeindruckt von digitalen Erlebnissen, die den Eindruck erwecken, dass das Unternehmen wenig oder gar nichts über ihre Bedürfnisse und ihren Hintergrund weiß. Umgekehrt verweilen sie aber länger auf einer Website, die relevante und kontextbezogene Informationen bietet. 

    Im besten Fall sollten Marketer in der Lage sein, alle Erwartungen der Käufer vorauszusehen und zu erfüllen. Nicht nur bei der Anzeige hilfreicher Inhalte, sondern auch bei der Präsentation der Produkte selbst. Viele dieser Daten sind in modernen digitalen Marketing-Systemen verfügbar und können zur Abstimmung der Inhalte verwendet werden.  

    Kommen wir noch einmal auf das Beispiel des Bohrmaschinenherstellers zurück: In diesem Fall benötigen die verantwortlichen Marketer eine Plattform, die es ermöglicht, dasselbe Werkzeug (ein Bild eines gängigen Produkts) in verschiedenen Bildhintergründen darzustellen, je nachdem, in welchem Kontext sich der Besucher der Website befindet: auf einer Baustelle, in einer Garage oder in einer Schreinerei. Außerdem würde ein passender Text, der zum Bild passt, direkt in den digitalen Kanal eingefügt, unabhängig davon, welches digitale Programm verwendet wird. Ähnlich verhält es sich mit dem Einzelhändler für den Heimtierbedarf. 

    Marken- UND Produktinhalte gewährleisten eine umfassende Customer Experience

    In jedem Fall erfordert dies mehr als nur das ” Feintuning ” eines digitalen Assets, obwohl viele traditionelle Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systeme genau das sind, nämlich Asset Management Systeme. Das Markenerlebnis muss ebenso gut verwaltet werden wie das Produkterlebnis. Das Markenerlebnis wird durch digitale Assets wie pädagogische oder Thought-Leadership-Inhalte, einschließlich Rich Media wie Bilder und Videos, unterstützt. Viele Hersteller schaffen sogar durch innovative Verpackungen ein einprägsames Markenerlebnis, indem sie beim Auspacken ihrer Produkte Emotionen beim Verbraucher wecken.

    Die Verwaltung sämtlicher Marken- und Produktinhalte geht weit über die klassische Definition von “Content Marketing” oder die Aufgaben der meisten Content-Management-Systeme (CMS) hinaus. Das liegt daran, dass Markeninhalte Teil der gesamten Kommunikation eines Unternehmens sind, so dass die Verwaltungsprozesse eine Zusammenarbeit mit vielen anderen Teilen des Unternehmens und externen Partnern erfordern. Es geht auch um ein Zusammenspiel zwischen erforderlichen Freigaben bei gleichzeitiger Kontrolle. Ich habe begonnen, den Begriff Brand Content Management (BCM) in meiner Forschung zu verwenden, und ich habe kürzlich 1.500 Unternehmen zu ihren BCM-Bedürfnissen und den Anbietern, mit denen sie zusammenarbeiten, befragt – den Bericht finden Sie hier.

    Die Mehrzahl der im BCM-Bericht genannten Anbieter zieht es immer noch vor, ihr Angebotsportfolio als DAM-Plattform für Unternehmen zu bezeichnen, aber Unternehmen wie Sitecore, Censhare und Wedia helfen Unternehmen ganz konkret dabei, sämtliche Marketing-Assets zu verwalten, anzupassen und bereitzustellen. Das Resultat sind mehr Relevanz, Reichweite und allgemeinen ein gesteigerter Geschäftserfolg. Sie ermöglichen es auch personalisierte Kundenerlebnisse auf internationaler Ebene bereitzustellen und sammeln aufschlussreiche Daten aus der Customer Journey, um die Content-Produktion voranzutreiben und die Zielgruppen besser anzusprechen. Ich bin besonders beeindruckt davon, wie das Digital eXperience-Modul von Wedia die Bereitstellung personalisierter und ansprechender Inhalte über alle Kanäle hinweg unterstützt. Ihre Kunden können somit ein wirklich personalisiertes Kundenerlebnis anbieten.

  • BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Buyers must see offerings presented in their context

    Imagine: One Product, with Many Different Buyers 

    Your challenge: How can you present the drill so that it appeals (and is bought by them) to each of these audiences? How can you ensure that your products are even displayed wherever these quite different buyers are looking for their tools? 

    You are a maker of machine tools such as a high-end power drill, a real heavy-duty one with high torque and impact wrench. A tool needed by various professionals such as construction workers on the building site, car mechanics in a garage or repair shop, or even carpenters in their workshop or onsite installing something. 

    Or: One Website, with Many Different Visitors 

    You’re a large retailer of pet accessories with thousands of products for all types of pets, and most of your customer traffic is digital and international these days. One day, your website could be visited by a US-based owner of a somewhat unusual pet, say, a skink lizard. Another visitor, from Asia, has a more standard family pet like a cat. Yet another visitor lives in South Africa and disabled with a service dog. 

    How well can you present your offerings to each digital visitor in the context of their per-related needs and their environment? How can you even personalize the content as much as possible for each of those visitors? 

    Customer Centricity moves from Analog to Digital Interactions

    The final translation from standard product to customer-specific solution used to be accomplished by great sales conversations hosted by field sales staff visiting or hosting customers. Or by showroom sales staff who ask the right questions before presenting and pitching the products they would recommend. Great product companies would even distribute printed sales materials where the seller selects the correct illustration and use cases to match the customer’s profile. Customer-centricity was essentially analog and people-driven.

    However, the world is now digital and global. Most buyers browse across multiple channels and websites to inform themselves on solutions they would like to leverage, not visiting showrooms or taking visits from salespeople. That customer-centricity that was provided by well-informed sellers now needs to be part of the digital processes and systems that support an eCommerce world. 

    Manufacturers like the power drill supplier above want to present product information in every potential customer’s exact context. Plus, in this digital world, they also need to render that product presentation through their trading partners or retailers and probably on their own website. The pet-goods retailer cited above has a multi-language eCommerce site that must cope with product files sent by thousands of different suppliers – but it also wants to maintain consistency of its own brand and provide added value services like educational content and promotional bundles that are customer-centric. 

    Digital Buyers Expect THEIR Experience

    Digital breeds impatience. The challenges faced by marketers involved in the above scenarios, and all similar, is increasing in intensity, as buyers quickly click-away from any e-commerce site that does not make them feel welcomed and understood. Whether a consumer or a professional B2B buyer, they are unimpressed with digital experiences that imply that the business they’ve visited knows little, or cares nothing, of their needs and background. Conversely, they will stay longer on a site which does present relevant and contextual information. 

    Ideally, those marketers want to be able to anticipate and meet all buyer expectations. Not only when displaying helpful content, but when presenting the products themselves. Much of this data is available in modern digital marketing systems and can be used to tune content.  

    To go back to the example of the power drill manufacturer, their marketers need a platform that would allow the same tool to be rendered (one picture of a common product) within different picture backgrounds depending on the context of the website visitor: a building site, a garage, and a carpentry workshop. It would also provide a suitable text copy matching the picture directly into the digital channel, regardless of which digital experience system is used. Similarly with the pet products retailer. 

    Brand AND Product Content Provides the Customer Experience  

    In each case, this requires more than just “tuning” a digital asset though, many traditional Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems are just that, asset management systems. The brand experience must be managed as well as the product experience. The brand experience is sustained through digital assets like educational or thought leadership content, including rich media such as pictures and videos. Many manufacturers even create a memorable brand experience through innovative packaging, creating emotions for consumers when they unpack their products. 

    Managing the total of all brand and product content is also much more than the traditional definition of “content marketing” or what is done by most content management systems (CMS). That is because brand content is part of all communication that any business distributes, so the management processes therefore involve working in tandem with many other parts of the company and external partners. It is also a balance of enablement and governance. I have started to use the term Brand Content Management (BCM) in my research and I recently surveyed 1,500 companies about their BCM needs and the vendors they work with – here is that report. Note that nearly one quarter of the respondents have more than six different systems in place (and we asked “vendors”, so the number of systems could be even higher) and that this has increased dramatically since our 2018 survey.

    Most of the vendors named in the BCM report still prefer to call their offering an enterprise DAM platform, but companies like Sitecore, Censhare and Wedia are, indeed, helping organizations to manage, customize and deliver all marketing assets for more relevance, impact and overall business success. They also power personalized customer experiences on a global scale and gathers insightful data from the customer journey to fuel content production and better engage audiences. 

    This blog was commissioned and sponsored by Wedia. I was particularly impressed with how Wedia’s Digital eXperience module supports the rendering of personalized and engaging content across all channels. Their clients can truly deliver a personalized customer experience.

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  • BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    BCM 2021 Report Preview

    I am in the middle of updating my research report on how marketing organizations are automating their Brand Content Management family of process.

    BCM is increasingly important to Marketers

    This is an important business process set which I see maturing through these three stages in many marketing organizations:

    STAGE 1: There is a basic desire to manage all digital-branded content files and digital assets in a central repository to ensure consistency and maintain a “single source of truth”.

    STAGE 2: The marketers are actively leveraging content into all marketing programs, including those rendered through third-party channels where they need to offer these content assets for through-channel marketing programs.

    STAGE 3: Due to the increasing criticality of brand (more than just the logo), marketers care deeply about managing all brand messaging across the company, from corporate brand to the individual messaging statements around products. 

    Companies working in a more distributed (called local in some industries) marketing environment deploy Brand Content Management systems to manage content across all their internal organizations, subsidiaries, and/or all business partners.

    Managing brand and content is now a major business pain point in marketing organizations that seek a consistent process from content creation, through delivery, to attribution. The recent explosions in content marketing and digital channels have increased both the complexity and volume of content assets. Plus, the transition of the classical sales cycle to what is now recognized as a buyer-led research process means that marketers must obsess about the brand message carried in all the channels. Many of them also serve an ecosystem of subsidiaries, distributors, resellers or even franchisees.

    Consolidation is the name of the game

    Most companies use several software tools within this process as there are few vendors who cover the complete lifecycle for content and brand. But companies want to consolidate their software platforms – our survey highlights and underscores the need for consolidation across the brand and content management stacks. Nearly one quarter of the respondents have more than SIX different systems in place (note: we asked “vendors”, so the number of systems could be even higher). Also, the proportion with 6-10 vendors has increased dramatically since our 2018 survey.

    So, it is no surprise that the market for this software is active and growing. I found nearly 50 active software and SaaS vendors globally generating an estimated total revenue of around $2 billion but it is still quite fragmented across many vendors – the top 15 vendors selected by buyers in this survey generate less than 40% of that total. This list includes established software giants but there are several innovative solution providers, who talk much more about marketing than technology.  

    And the winning vendors are ….

    The report draft is currently out for fact-checking with the vendors, who must review their profiles and provide me with feedback. Of course, some will push back that I should score them higher – but I then remind them that the report is primarily informed by the market survey (63%) and there is little that I can do. If they only got 3 out of 5 for their Price/Value Ratio, perhaps that is important market feedback they should note (and there is one here with that score). It will publish in early August on the Research in Action website.

    The vendors reviewed in the report will be: Acoustic, Adobe, Ansira, BrandMaker, BrandMaster, BrandMuscle, Bynder, Capital ID, Celum, Censhare, MarcomCentral, OpenText, Optimizely, Sitecore, and Wedia. 

    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.

    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 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.

    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

    Feedback and comments to poneill@marchnata.eu please.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Managing All Marketing Resources

    Here it is – my Vendor Selection Matrix report on Marketing Resources Management. Modern CMOs or Marketing Directors are now responsible for a more extensive operation, some are even measured on revenue contribution. So, as with any business executive, they should have full responsibility for the planning and effectiveness of their business resources. For a marketing, those resources fall into these categories: money or costs, people or talent (internal and external talent), content assets and brand. 

    Enter  “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.  Although MRM is infant, the vendors are mostly experienced and established providers – their Recommendation Index and, indeed, overall scores are outstanding compared to my other marketing automation

    As always, this report is based upon feedback from 1,500 businesses globally plus my view of the each vendor’s strategy and viability. Here are the report highlights:

    • MRM is used to help to define marketing plans, collect and share marketing assets, execute on campaigns, and track marketing assets across print and digital channels. It also manages marketing budgets, tracks actual costs and supports the campaign planning process. It provides a single unified system for all marketing material, which in turn ensures consistency of branding and messaging. It also enables marketers to create workflows and processes to streamline marketing operations. 
    • The resulting vendor landscape for MRM is a mix of vendors managing some asset types, ones that manage mainly project resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.  
    • There is a clear gradient of project maturity across the landscape. Many marketing departments are still only managing content and digital assets and operating as a cost center. Over time, some organizations mature into fully accounted-for revenue centers where the CMO needs visibility into all project work and all types of resources deployed. This maturity model is reflected within the maturity S-Curve shown in this report: moving from PIM and DAM projects to a more “universal content management” system; then adding costs and talent to achieve MRM; before progressing further with a Customer Data Management project and, ultimately, being able to do full Marketing Performance Management. 
    • There are generally three broad types of MRM projects: asset and people management , spend management, and workflow management; with four categories of resources managed: cost, talent, content, and brand.  The relative importance of each resource category in a planned MRM project will often determine which solution fits best, so our report lists the resources managed by each vendor profiled.
    • Who came out on top? The top five vendors rated by the users for MRM in 2020 are (listed alphabetically) Aprimo , BrandMakerContentservPercolate by Seismic, and Workfront.
    • The vendors Allocadia, Bizible (Adobe), BrandMaster, BrandMuscle, Elateral, Infor, SAS, SAP, Sitecore, and Wedia complete the list of vendors who were named by the 1500 business professionals.

    Remember, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, some respondents deploy at least two to cover their needs.

    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

  • BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News

    MRM is Coming

    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 

  • ABM,  Brand Content Management,  Channel Marketing and Enablement,  DAM,  Marketing Lead Management,  Partner Management Automation,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    2019 Wettbewerbslandschaften

    In meiner Forschung zur Vendor Selection Matrix von 2019 habe ich viele Wettbewerbslandschaften von verschiedenen Anbietern entdeckt, welche im folgenden beschrieben wird.  (Blog auf Englisch)

    Während diesen Projekten habe ich tausende Marketing Fachleute zur Automatisierung ihres Marketing-Prozesses befragt und mich mit etwa 120 Marketing Software Anbietern unterhalten, meist über deren Analyst Relations und Produkt Marketing Manager, wie in diesem Blog erläutert wird.  

    Die Anbieter-Marketer trafen häufig Aussagen wie z. B. : „Merkwürdig, dass Anbieter auf ihrer Liste sind, welche ich selten wahrnehme und gegen welche ich meiner Meinung nach nicht konkurriere“.  Das liegt daran, da ich zu Beginn der Befragungen immer einen bestimmten Marketingprozess beschreibe und die Teilnehmer dazu befrage, mit welchen Anbietern Sie in diesem Prozess zusammenarbeiten. Ich versuche hierbei Kategorie-Begriffe zu vermeiden, welche von anderen Analysten oder Produkt Manager erfunden wurden, da Marketing Fachleute in der Regel nicht in diesen Kategorien denken (dies ist eher ein IT-zentrisches Merkmal). 

    Mein erster Bericht in 2020 ist bereits fertig, zum Thema Marketing Lead Management (MLM). Die Studie ergab eine neue Anbieter Landschaft mit einer interessanten Mischung aus Email Service Providern, Marketing Automatisierung Anbietern und sogar einigen selbstbezeichneten Customer Data Platform Anbietern. In einigen Unternehmen ist vermehrt ein Wechsel vom MLM Prozess zu einem Customer Engagement Prozess zu beobachten, welcher die diverse Zusammensetzung der Anbieter Landschaft erklärt. 

    Dadurch ergibt sich folgende Herausforderung für die Anbieter: Fokussiert man sich auf hervorragende Leistung in lediglich einer Kategorie oder darauf, von Marketing Fachleuten gefunden zu werden, welche Lösungen für Fragen der Automatisierung suchen.

    Im Folgenden werden die 2019 Vendor Landscapes (Anbieter Wettbewerbslandschaften) dargestellt, welche im Rahmen meiner globalen prozessorientierten Studien gefunden wurden.

    Marketing Lead Management (Nov 2018). 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 Post oder Email Antwort, Datenbank Marketing Programme, anderen mehrkanalige Marketingkampagnen, Offline Interaktionen wie Seminare oder Messen, Kontakt aus Sozialen Medien und Web-Seiten.

    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 beschreibt das Management aller digitalen Inhalte, um die Markenkommunikation auf allen Ebenen des Unternehmens zu regulieren, von Unternehmensmarken bis hin zur individuellen Kommunikation eines Produkts. Unternehmen, welche in einem weit verteiltem Marketing Umfeld agieren, wenden BCM Prozesse an, um Inhalte über alle interne Organisationen, Tochtergesellschaften und/oder allen Geschäftspartnern hinweg zu steuern und abzustimmen. 

    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 spielt eine zunehmend aktive Rolle in der Befähigung des Vertriebspersonals, welches sich durch die robusten Werkzeugen einer all-in-one Plattform möglichst produktiv mit kompetenten Käufern und Kunden beschäftigen kann. 

    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 ist eine integrierte Reihe von Geschäftsprozessen für die Erstellung, Verwaltung, Lieferung und Optimierung von konzeptualisierten digitalen Erfahrungen auf Webseiten. Software, welche diese Prozesse automatisiert, muss sich mit der zunehmend komplexen, umfangreichen und stets vernetzten Technologielandschaft auseinandersetzen.

    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). Der DAM Prozess beschreibt das Speichern und Verwalten von digitalen Dateien, insbesondere digitalen Medien wie Grafiken, Videos, Sound und Textkomponenten, welche für die digitale Produktion von Inhalten benötigt werden. DAM katalogisiert die digitalen Inhalte für verschiedene Nutzer, welche beispielsweise im Marketing, Produkt Management, Verkauf, Service, Design oder in Produktionsabteilungen einer Organisation tätig sind. 

    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

    Digital Asset Management in Deutschland (August 2019).

    ADOBE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, BYNDER, CANTO, CAVOK (PEAK-14), ELUM, CENSHARE, CONTENTSERV, COREMEDIA, EIKONA-MEDIA, EYEBASE, NUXEO, OPENTEXT, SITECORE (#1 Customer Satisfaction, #1 Price/Value)

    Account Based Marketing (Oct 2019). Der ABM Prozess stellt eine bereits etablierte Marketing/Verkaufs-Methode für Unternehmensdienstleistungen dar, bei denen Erfolg sehr von persönlicher Empathie und Beziehungen abhängt. Das Aufkommen von digitalem Marketing, welches von technologischem Fortschritt in Webseiten- und Datenanalytik geprägt ist, erlaubt allen B2B Unternehmen einen ABM Prozess aufzubauen, welcher es ermöglicht die gesammelten behavioralen- und Profildaten von Unternehmen und deren Kauf-Entscheidern gewinnbringend zu nutzen. 

    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 und Enablement Prozesse umschreiben die Aufgaben, welche ein Herstellers ausführt, um Produkte und Dienstleistungen durch eine Partnerorganisation über einen indirekten Kanal zu vertreiben. Nur wenige Anbieter können bisher den Marketing Fachleuten helfen, beide dieser Prozesse effizient zu automatisieren. 

    ANSIRA, CHANNELXPERTS, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS

    Through-Channel Marketing Automation (Nov 2019). Als Teil des Channel Marketing Prozesses eines Herstellers, welcher Produkte und Dienstleistungen durch Partnerorganisationen über einen indirekten Kanal vertreibt, ist TCMA für die Marke und das Content Asset Management dort relevant, wo Programme und Promotionen in beiden Richtungen des Kanals verwaltet werden. TCMA wird auch als regional Marketing oder Vertriebsmarketing beschrieben.

    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). Als Teil des Channel Marketing Prozesses eines Herstellers, welcher Produkte Produkte und Dienstleistungen durch Partnerorganisationen über einen indirekten Kanal vertreibt, stellt PRM eine Reihe an Prozessen dar, welche sich auf die Beziehung zum Geschäftspartner selbst fokussieren und sich durch folgende Elemente auszeichnet: Rekrutierung, Registrierung, Klassifikation, vertragliche Details, Informationsaustausch u. v. m..

    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, sowie Fragen und Anregungen sind jederzeit Willkommen, hier oder direkt an poneill@researchinaction.de

    Always keeping you informed! 

    Peter O’Neill 

  • ABM,  Brand Content Management,  DAM,  Marketing Lead Management,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    2019 Vendor Landscapes

    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 peter@teamoneill.de

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  News

    A Rockstar for One Day

    I presented at the Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR) Festival last week. 

    OMR started in 2011 as a small event on online marketing held at the prestigious Bucerius Law School, Hamburg. It is now the leading conference for digital marketing in Europe and OMR 2019 hosted 50,000 visitors over two days to meet over 400 exhibitors including some 1,500 executives from the national and international marketing scene.  

    I was a guest of the vendor BrandMaker– we’ve been working together for many years: I was at their HQ in Karlsruhe 8 years ago to do a workshop on through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) back in my days as an industry analyst at Forrester Research. Earlier this year, marketers around the world scored them highly in my research on Brand Content Management. I was engaged to present in their OMR19 Masterclass and we had over 300 applications to attend but could only admit 150 people – I expect that BrandMaker will set up a webinar to make the same presentations to those who lost out. 

    I had initially discovered BrandMaker when I was researching innovative marketing automation vendors from Europe– a report I then published to Forrester clients each couple of years. It was a sort of hobby project (Forrester didn’t really care about doing European research) where I could champion local vendors and also make clear that marketing in Europe is so very different to the marketing challenges faced by an American firm selling to American customers. You’d be amazed at how few American companies export their products – especially compared to the economy here in Germany of course. 

    Unconsciously, I think I also probably used Brandmaker as a method to educate many of the analysts in my team (as Research Director, my team of 11 B2B marketing analysts were all based in the US).  Understanding how BrandMaker worked and what it offers, helped them to understand the true complexity of business marketing, especially in an international context. As they always admitted, this was beyond what was being offered in the so-called leading marketing automation systems coming out of the US.   

    The exhibitors at OMR19 included new and established software vendors in all aspects of digital marketing. I had many productive meetings and could finalize my upcoming reports on Web Experience Management, as many of the leading vendors in that report were present (I’ll publish both a global and a Germany-specific Vendor Selection Matrix later this month). I was also prospecting for vendors to include in my planned research on Customer Data Platforms later in the year. 

    The “Rockstar festival” modus was also an education for me as a marketer. When I was first invited, I must admit that, at first glance through the agenda and the set-up, it seemed a little strange for a serious business event. But it is being deliberately presented and positioned to our younger generation of marketing colleagues. And there is a lot of wisdom in that plan. BrandMaker had clearly recognized that as well. 

    Many of us talk of how we need to market to Millennials and recruit Millennials into our teams. But the point is: Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1998. They are now all over 30 years of age and some of them are approaching their 40thbirthday. 

    So, it is now time to consider targeting the generation after that – they are going to be our buyers very soon, and they are the new employees that we will be recruiting. For vendors and buyers of marketing technology, this generation has one very clear characteristic.

    IF THESE PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE SOMETHING, THEY WILL IGNORE IT

    My last survey across 1500 business professionals had “adoption” among the top 3 project success factors and I am therefore considering a new set of criteria in my market research about software applications. One that indicates how likely is the system to be adopted by the staff you are trying to help and motivate by investing in the software.  

    I’ll call it something like “Employee Experience” and it is about much more than the design or ergonomics, which software engineers call User Experience. The EEx is influenced by how: 

    • Accessible the application is, especially if the employee is a casual user
    • Integrated or even embedded it can be (did you know the average business employee already opens scores of applications each day?)
    • Does it communicate back to the employee – one who is now in the habit of using voice activation, read quickly, consume pictures and videos and so on. 

    If anybody has suggestions about to measure these factors, feel free to contact me. 

    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.