• DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    Identifying DX vendors is a challenge.

    The last years has seen businesses in every sector accelerating their digital transformation plans in response to a customer base that clearly prefers to interact and buy digitally. This increased investment in digital transformation projects invariably results in a Digital Experience Management (DXM) project; either to replace the existing DXM or Web Content Management platform, or to consolidate the same across the company. 

    Modern DXM systems must support the delivery of compelling experiences across the whole customer journey, with real-time retrieval even needed for resource-intense media assets like video, even virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) images. The global market for DXM software and projects is therefore very healthy as companies replace their current older systems to ensure success in their digital marketing and digital selling.

    Out of curiosity, I went through the 36 Martechstack examples published by Scott Brinker the other week and found these vendors named by various marketing organizations in their DXM (or similar) stacks. 

    • 6Sense listed under “Digital Experience” PathFactory, Mutiny, Wisia, and WordPress.
    • Akamai has Adobe, Drift, Siteimprove, SDL, and Swiftype.
    • IBM names Adobe, Brightedge, Contentful, Clearscope, and WordPress.
    • Merkle lists under “Experience” just Adobe, Meta, and Salesforce.
    • Verizon has Adobe and Medallia.

    Almost every marketing software vendor will claim some element of DXM, so there are potentially thousands of vendors with DXM solutions. For historical reasons, (the stuff is already installed), many companies have multiple digital experience solutions in their stacks. So, the greatest challenge for them is integration.  Which means that my new Vendor Selection Matrixtm research on DXM, to be published this week, is going to be more useful than ever for potential buyers of software for that process. 

    As usual, as the report reflects the view of the market, 1500 business decision-makers reported their opinions and ratings for the DXM vendors they know. That is quite different than the standard research reports from my old colleagues (remember, I am ex- Gartner and ex-Forrester) that focus on an analyst’s rating of the product, based on briefing presentations by the vendors invited to speak with them. Indeed, Forrester managed to put Oracle, Salesforce and SAP into the leader category in their report, though these vendors are hardly mentioned in other surveys, including our’s below. 

    The survey respondents named several priorities for DXM projects with #1 being system performance (meaning responsiveness) followed by customer experience. A new priority this year was advanced analytics and recommendation engines.  On a global basis, 76% of the respondents told us they were consolidating numerous and disparate DXM systems; two years ago this share was 68%.  49% of those respondents cite “Achieving a 360-degree view of the customer” as their top reason for the consolidation.

    These are the Top 15 vendors as selected by 1,500 users surveyed based upon their rating of product, company, and service quality (listed alphabetically): ACQUIA*, ADOBE*, BLOOMREACH*, CONTENTFUL*, COREMEDIA*, CROWNPEAK*, IBEXA, KENTICO, LIFERAY, MAGNOLIA*OPENTEXT*, OPTIMIZELY*, ORACLE*, SITECORE, and SQUIZ*.  These vendors* are the Market Leaders as they scored over 4 out of 5 in both the Strategy and Execution categories.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter O’Neill

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    DAM no longer back-office

    Continuing my predictions for 2023, here are two further propositions focused on the more mundane topic of Digital Asset Management (DAM): 

    1. Modern DAM administrators are no longer just assets managers, they are supporting the delivery of compelling experiences across the whole customer journey.
    2. The DAM is a cornerstone of digital marketing. Which means that the DAM process is now a high priority for the whole marketing organization.

    DAM did used to be a backroom process that most marketers do not concern themselves with directly and cynics would say, “A DAM is where our creative assets are sent to die” – it was, historically, just a repository for photographs and other static images. And the people managing it were the ultimate geeks. But things have changed.

    Which means that my new Vendor Selection Matrixtm research on DAM is going to be more useful than ever for potential buyers of that software. DAM software is being bought in three separate project categories:

    1. Stand-alone DAM is being bought to replace one or more older-generation systems with a more performant and extensive solution. Indeed, 74% of the respondents to our survey are consolidating their DAM, PIM (Product Information System) and other content management systems this year.
    2. More mature marketing organizations who want to personalize the offerings they render to website visitors as much as possible find they must replace their DAM to achieve their goals. 
    3. Companies in industries most affected by the new demands of digital marketing, eCommerce, and customer preference systems, such as manufacturing, healthcare and business services must upgrade their DAM systems accordingly as part of a larger project. 

    As usual, as the report reflects the view of the market, 1500 business decision-makers reported their opinions and ratings for the DAM vendors they know. That is quite different than the standard research reports from my old colleagues (remember, I am ex- Gartner and ex-Forrester) that focus on an analyst’s rating of the product. Buyers much prefer to hear what their peers are saying about a solution, I would suggest. 

    Depending on how much you believe the claims, there are nearly 500 vendors with DAM solutions. These are the Top 15 vendors as selected by 1,500 users surveyed based upon their rating of product, company, and service quality (listed alphabetically): ADOBE*, APRIMO*, BRANDMAKER (now called UPTEMPO), BYNDER*, CANTO, CELUM, CENSHARE*, CLOUDINARY*, CONTENTSERV, DIGIZUITE, HYLAND, NUXEO, OPENTEXT, SITECORE and WIDEN (part of ACQUIA). These vendors* form the Top 5 in the matrix. 

    The vendor landscape is stable with several well-established independent DAM vendors now being challenged by the expanded sales efforts of enterprise software vendors like Adobe, Sitecore, and OpenText who sell larger digital marketing software portfolios including a DAM solution. We estimate that 35-40% of companies have automated, or will be automating, parts of the DAM process in 2023.

    The link above connects you to the public version of the report, with the alphabetical list of market leaders and shorter vendor profiles. Watch out for several versions of report in full detail over the next months as several vendors distribute their licensed reprints.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter O’Neill

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    Buyers look for more than DAM

    Just a few more days to go before I publish our Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Digital Asset Management (DAM)– the vendors are currently fact-checking the report details.  

    This year’s survey has made one point absolutely clear: modern DAM systems must support the delivery of compelling experiences across the whole customer journey, with real-time retrieval even needed for resource-intense media assets like video, even virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) images. Over 55% of the 1500 business professionals we talked to confirmed “We are now very focused on optimizing the customer experience and this requires change in the DAM process” as Very True. 

    We also asked, “Which three key anticipated benefits are driving your investment in the Digital Asset Management automation space in the next 12 months?”.  After Improved Performance, the respondents chose Brand Management, Customer Experience and Improved Buyer Engagement as the next priorities. This reflects the strategic value of the DAM system within the new digital marketing standards expected in most companies. 

    Customers no longer need DAM, they crave for great DAM!

    This is quite different from the same survey 3 years ago. Now, three times as many respondents see DAM in the wider context of “the entire buyer journey” (website, marketing content, sales content, etc.).

    Also, 74% of the respondents confirmed that they want to consolidate their DAM systems. The top two reasons being “We need a single-source-of-truth” and “Achieving cost reduction”.  But these priorities vary greatly by region – the Single Source reason is rated highest in North America (62%) while Cost Reduction is Europe’s top reason (61%). 

    DAM is a busy market, with many local project-based providers offering their experience as a software product.  Indeed, the Capterra website lists 479 DAM vendors in its directory. We have found a vendor landscape of the Top 15 vendors and/or brands as selected by 1,500 business decision-makers, based upon their experience, or perception, of product, company and service quality. 

    These are the Market Leaders within the Top 15 (having both a Strategy and an Execution score of over 4 out of 5) as scored by the survey and myself (listed alphabetically): ACQUIA (WIDEN), ADOBE, APRIMO, BRANDMAKER, BYNDER, CANTO, CELUM, CENSHARE, CLOUDINARY, and OPENTEXT.

    Watch out for the report in a few weeks’ time. 

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Can’t Digitally Market without Great Digital Asset Management

    I am working on an update to our Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Digital Asset Management (DAM) – the survey results are in and I’m now talking to the vendors named and scored in the survey over the next weeks before completing the report. The link above shows the 2021 report, and the list of vendors is quite consistent, just three out and three new ones in. 

    DAM is a backroom process that most marketers do not concern themselves with. Cynics used to say, “A DAM is where our creative assets are sent to die”. That is because, historically, it was a repository for photographs and other static images. And the people managing this process were the ultimate geeks. I well remember getting a client inquiry two weeks after I had made a speech at a Content Management Summit in Cleveland about getting more creative about tagging content assets with informative units like sales phase, customer pain point and other stuff. The client said that what I was proposing was impossible, he had tried and “my DAM coordinator told me “No way”, he uses the date and time stamp and that is all”. 

    But things have changed. Now modern DAM administrators know they are no longer just storing assets, they are supporting the delivery of compelling experiences across the whole customer journey. DAM systems are being used to store and manage rich media assets like video, even virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) images, as well as text and documents. DAM is a cornerstone of digital marketing, just like Digital Experience Management (my next report project, survey is in the field). 

    Which means that the DAM process is now a high priority for the whole marketing organization. This was confirmed in our survey of 1500 business professionals familiar with their DAM projects where 55% confirmed “We are now very focused on optimizing the customer experience and this requires change in the DAM process” as Very True. 

    The survey scored these three objectives as their top benefits desired from their DAM system: 

    • Better system performance and responsiveness
    • Brand management capabilities
    • Delivering an elegant and intuitive customer experience. 

    Nearly three quarters of the companies confirmed they were planning to consolidate their DAM, PIM, and other content management systems (up from 51% in 2021). So, this is an exciting (or precarious?) time for the DAM vendors, an interesting mix of marketing suite and point solution vendors.   

    Watch out for the report in a few weeks’ time. 

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    MRM Earns a Boost of Interest, but is About to Change

    I hope you had a great summer break. I was away for a few weeks myself and have returned to my desk refreshed and ready for more work as Research Director for Research In Action, Lead Analyst at B2B Marketing, as well as several individual client projects.

    Earlier this month, I completed my 2022 Vendor Selection Matrix research on Marketing Resource Management and can report that there is clear increased interest in establishing a such a system to help marketing executives to plan, monitor, and control the usage of their most important resources: money, people, content assets, projects, and brand. 

    Marketing financials and calendars are the most popular processes being automated, closely followed by marketing performance management. Based on our conversations with users and vendors, we estimate that 55-60% of companies have automated, or will be automating, parts of the MRM process in 2022.

    When we asked 1500 business professionals about their 2022 MRM projects, well-over one third of companies cited the need for data on marketing performance or return-on-investment as their major reason for MRM investment. Just over one third see it as a method to reduce overall costs and a significant 26% consider improved brand management as a priority.

    The need for such a Marketing Resource Management process was proposed some years ago (I could probably claim to be that analyst) but not readily accepted by the user community. Now, the need for MRM is perhaps clearer, but the modern marketing executive wants more than just an asset management system. 

    They need a more dynamic solution that enables them to forecast, measure, model, analyze and even predict all their business numbers – to be fully empowered with control over their marketing processes and outcomes. 

    I anticipate the process name itself to mature in the next years. It will be interesting to see what thought leadership campaigns come out of the vendors and how quickly the user community can tune in to the new terminology. 

    These are the Market Leaders (having both a Strategy and an Execution score of over 4 out of 5) in the Vendor Selection Matrix™ – Marketing Resource Management 2022 as scored by the survey and myself (listed alphabetically):


    These are the vendor brands named spontaneously by the survey respondents. Some of the brands are part of larger vendor organizations (such as Welcome being part of Optimizely and Workfront part of Adobe). Also, BrandMaker acquired Allocadia earlier this year and have now rebranded completely to Uptempo.  

    Some of the marketers we surveyed saw MRM as just content or even digital asset management and so named and scored their vendors. Both Contentserv and Percolate (Seismic) have stated that they appreciate the great feedback from the survey but no longer promote their solution as an MRM solution and should be applauded for their honesty.

    The link above connects you to the public version of the report, with the alphabetical list of market leaders and shorter vendor profiles. Watch out for several versions of report in full detail over the next months as several vendors distribute their licensed reprints.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Marketers Need to Manage All Their Resources

    You may have noticed: when I do market research on software vendors and products, I always approach my topics from the business point of view – not 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 buy software because they are collectors, they want to make their processes more efficient and expect an automation project will help. 

    Over the years, their list of processes to be automated has become longer but also more business centric. Way back when, marketing was only about sales support, lead generation and literature. Now, 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 have full responsibility for the planning and effectiveness of all 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). 

    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 – especially the financials.

    Content and brand resources are already marketing-specific and many CMS and Brand Content Management systems include resource management for those resource types. Digital assets are managed in DAM and PIM systems.  But using the corporate ERP software to manage people resources is not good enough as a typical CMO-led organization increasingly includes external contributors (agencies, freelancers, analysts), all to be accounted for as an ongoing marketing-people resource. Lastly, the spending of marketing budgets is now so dynamic and digital that executives can no longer rely on monthly or quarterly batched financial reports with historical data – if anything, they need a dashboard that forecasts, predicts and recommends.  

    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.

    MRM is still in its adoption infancy. Capterra has some 50 MRM Software offerings in its directory. And my esteemed ex-colleagues at Forrester produced a NowTech report on MRM in Q1 this year that focused on the needs of enterprise B2C organizations above $1 billion in revenue and identified 28 vendors.  

    But what is the market saying?

    Well, I have now fielded my 2022 global survey of marketers’ experience with MRM solutions and am talking to the vendors to complete my research. This is the list of the Top 15 vendors from the survey (in alphabetical order).


    Curiously, a significant number of vendors who marketers cite as their MRM solution are telling me that they do not want to “position the offering as MRM”.  Who says that the customer is always right?  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter O’Neill

  • 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.



  • 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

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    DAM is Still Very European

    My January 2021 Vendor Selection Matrix™ reports focused on the management of digital assets. The software market for automating this process has been energized by an explosion in the volumes of digital assets, particularly rich media assets such as photos and video, driven by digital marketing and eCommerce. In some industries such as apparel and retail, this explosion can even include the management of new, dynamic assets created by customers during their buying behavior.

    The Digital Asset Management (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 systems can catalog and retrieve the digital assets for various types of users working in marketing, product management, sales, service, design, and manufacturing departments of an organization. 

    In my research, I found well over 40 active vendors offering DAM solutions, including open-source providers and vendors active only in their local markets. Although DAM is a mature technology, there is high demand for new DAM projects as more businesses need a management system for the expensive rich media content they now create for digital marketing programs and eCommerce projects.  There is an explosion in the need to manage video files across almost all industries.

    I also found a new market driver: companies who enable prospects/customers to configure their products using digital technology on websites, kiosks or other point-of-sale platforms also need to manage those dynamic assets – to support a sales order or just to provide feedback to product designers. This trend, where DAM expands from static digital files to include variants and instances created in the customer-facing delivery phases, which also need to be stored, logged, tagged and retrieved, is most apparent in the apparel and retail industries but I expect it to impact other industries as well in the next years.  I would call this “outside-in” DAM as opposed to the traditional “inside-out” DAM projects. 


    Of particular interest to me, living here in Europe, was that the list of leading global suppliers included several European vendors who have significant worldwide presence. SITECORE, originally founded in Denmark, was voted as #1 in the matrix based on the feedback by the survey respondents and the German vendor CENSHARE was placed #2. 

    European businesses tend to be much more process-oriented than North American firms. As the demands of digital marketing and rich media increase the need to install more rigorous business process around digital assets (compliance, security, privacy), vendors who have developed products for the needs of European companies are able to take advantage of their functional leadership in international markets as well.

    Several other European vendors BRANDMAKER, BYNDER, CANTO, CELUM, PICTUREPARK, plus ADOBE, APRIMO,CLOUDINARY, NUXEO, and WIDEN complete the list of Market Leaders (vendors with total scores of 4 out of 5 or more for both Strategy and Execution criteria).

    The public version of the Vendor Selection Matrix™ report can be viewed here. Some of the vendor listed above offer licensed versions with the full matrix and their vendor scorecard/profile. 


    I also did a separate survey of 750 DAM practitioners in Germany and discovered that the top 10 vendors as selected by those respondents included just six non-German companies which is far fewer than usual. The top five vendors in Germany include SITECORE, CENSHARE and the Isreali/California vendor CLOUDINARY that is currently running hot in the retail/eCommerce sector. The vendors ADOBE, BRANDMAKER (German), BYNDER (Dutch), CANTO (German), CELUM (Austrian), CONTENTSERV (Swiss), and NUXEO complete the Market Leaders in the important German upper mid-market segment (or “Gehobenen Mittelstand” as it is called locally). .  

    Cloudinary’s version of that report, which is in German language, is available here. And Sitecore’s version is here – they actually changed the layout a little.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter