• News,  Vendor Selection

    The Future of Marketing Events

    We are about to publish my next B2B Marketing Propolis Premium Report, titled The Future of B2B events: Strategic Importance of Events Elevated by Two Years of Crisis

    I enjoyed working with Steve Kimish, Propolis Hive expert, Execution & Campaigns, while the interviews were with senior executives in/around the B2B marketing event industry, to collect an appropriately deep insight into the topic.

    Within the report I also cite from my Vendor Selection Matrix research on the same topic and list out the most significant Marketing Event Management platforms that we discovered in the survey.  

    Here is my final chapter entitled simply; “Recommendations”. 

    “Planning a marketing event calendar for fiscal or calendar 2023 is probably going to be one of the more strategic programmes for many B2B CMOs and marketing directors over the next months. Many in marketing used to see events as nice-to-have vanity driven exercises of corporate PR. In future, it will be an integral part of an overall customer engagement strategy.

    Future marketing plans will include both physical and digital events as standard in customer engagement programs; to collect market/customer insights at scale and to maintain a buyer/customer relationship over a longer period than just a buying cycle. A B2B CMO I’ve met recently talked about plans as more of a ‘media strategy’ than a marketing strategy.

    I know of several large tech vendors that already have concrete plans into 2024 for large scale, multi-media, highly branded events accommodating thousands of delegates and providing an outstanding conference, networking and banqueting experience for business partners and customers alike.

    Virtual marketing events will become part of a new marketing channel, scheduled, and atomised across the whole calendar and much more numerous, impactful, and measurable than before.

    The interviews documented in the body of this report contain a series of recommendations for you to take note of, but I would like to add a couple more strategic thoughts as a recommendation. You may not need to do it this year, or even next, but I suggest that you should be at least considering the following initiatives over the next two to five years:

    • Recruiting media talent. The largest B2B companies will be creating their own ‘Netflix’ websites with full presentations and atomised videos of the speakers who have featured in recent marketing events, plus further thought leadership and educational content. Over time, the expectation among all B2B buyers will be to enjoy the same type of experience. So, when further recruiting content marketing staff, you should be looking for people with video management and editing skills or providing training for these capabilities.
    • Configure event data into your customer data management strategy. As you extend your customer data management (CDM) processes and strategy, ensure that the CDM team can collect and collate event engagement data as well. This requires process design and ensuring that the selection criteria for new event platform software include this requirement.
    • Don’t neglect the content expectations of your ecosystem members. While the intent to provide an entertainment and memorable experience in future marketing events is understandable, savvy marketing executives will also continue to generate content that provides deeper information to technical buyers and product or service user/consumer-personas.

    The report will publish to B2B Marketing Propolis clients next month and a shortened version to the non-premium members later in the year. Contact me if you would like to get more details.

    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).

    ALLOCADIA, APRIMO, BRANDMAKER, BRANDMASTER, BRANDSYSTEMS, CONTENTSERV, ELATERAL, INFOR, LYTHO, MARMIND, PERCOLATE, SITECORE, WEDIA, WELCOME, WORKFRONT

    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

  • Design Thinking,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Design Thinking in The Vendor Selection Process

    Many years ago, working at HP, I quickly learned to schedule my vacations according to the marketplace. Common practice was, when customers (well, prospects) went on their vacation, they first dumped some work on my colleagues and myself, sending us a thick envelope (no Email in those days) containing a “Request for Proposal” or even worse (sounds so uncommitted!) a “Request for Information” — long, detailed documents laying out a series of specifications and functions that they wanted to see in our product.

    We’d be expected to process/answer many detailed questions and submit a response when they came back from vacation. Most RFPs were issued, especially here in Germany, during the summer and just before Christmas. 

    I got the impression that creating these RFP documents, and then processing the vendor replies, was the main event for many buyers. It wasn’t necessarily about picking the right solution. The later stages (presentation, demo, negotiation, sales) seemed to happen very quickly afterwards.

    Further work experience also taught me that the famous adage that “70% of IT projects fail” is very true and continues to be so. I would suggest that one reason for this is the above process. Many companies assume that the most important component of any process automation project is the Vendor Selection Process (VSP). Once that’s done, it is easy sailing – just install it, configure it, (perhaps) train the users and run the system. 

    Well, I’ve now assisted many a client through their VSP and sat in on their meetings with potential suppliers to provide my input as “an outsider”. I trust that my assessment of the vendors’ offerings and potential to fit into their planned technical architecture was useful. But still, I’ve often left the meetings with the feeling that the client wasn’t really prepared for the full project.  I would notice that many aspects of the project were not yet thought through. There were often: 

    • No sample business workflows (much of which is outside the software they’ll buy)
    • No profile of their potential users (devices, competencies, preferences)  
    • No sample reports or dashboards designed
    • No prioritization in their list of requirements – all was equally important.   

    Process automation projects fail because of a bad fit between project solution and requirements. And when I say “project” I mean much more than the software product. The solution must cover the complete business scenario to be improved, which is usually only partly through technology – process and organization always needs to be tuned as well. 

    I suggest that it is now time to reconsider the role of the VSP – it should not be “the means to an end” – better to turn it into the kick-off for a process transformation project. 

    In 2009, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford came up with the concept of “design thinking” which has been adopted by many IT organizations and software vendors as the basis for their development projects. The associated meeting/communications method, SCRUM, has now even been adopted by modern marketing departments. The Stanford School process proposes these steps in a project: 

    Empathize – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test.

    So here is what I envisage in a modern marketing process automation project:

    Empathize. Collect and describe the requirements based not on technical specifications but by describing real business scenarios – improved workflows that marketers care about. Include persona profiles and the desired “usage tone” (marketing- or IT-centric, advanced or casual user, terminology known or not, device preferred, location of task, reporting requirements, millennials!). A scenario documentation should resemble the briefings given to marketing agencies – not an RFP spreadsheet. 

    Define. Based on the make-up of the user-team and other requirements such as integrations and services, you should be able to easily segment the vendors and arrive at a shortlist.  Provide the scenario documentation to those vendors and gather their responses as a first selection phase. Allow them to be creative – they may even be able to propose process improvements that you had not yet identified.

    Ideate. Invest time here to engage with three to five vendors to explore how they would help you to automate the scenarios. If you want to restrict this phase, limit how many scenarios each vendor works on – one will probably suffice for you to form an impression of the vendor’s suitability as a business partner.  

    Prototype. The people at Stanford would love you to be putting Post-It notes on the wall in this phase, but you should probably expect your vendors to be able to demonstrate how they would support your scenarios with their software. You should now be down to one or perhaps two vendors.  As well as checking whether they have realistic expectations, also use this phase to observe how the project members will work together – vendor people with your colleagues but perhaps you are also bringing together colleagues who are strange to each other. Create a conflict situation by changing a scenario and see how all players react. 

    Test. After selecting your technology provider, you now move into the project roll-out phase, which is usually focused on just one team, location, or business area to generate success and then a more expansive roll-out. Continue to expect the vendor to treat you as a business partner and working to ensure your success. 

    The test phase should never end. Wise project managers will maintain a running, live doc of the business requirements, because they’ll change over time. Display it in a flexible and editable spot to allow you to constantly re-check what you need, and the costs associated with it.  Also, ask yourself periodically what can you cut? Or what hasn’t been used in months? Who is now using the software – is that different than initially assumed? 

    Something to think about the next time you plan an automation project.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter O’Neill

  • Design Thinking,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Some Background to my Vendor Research

    If you are reading this, then I assume that you’ve looked at a couple of my Vendor Selection Matrixtm reports and are thinking … they look like magic quadrants or waves but they seem to be different… Well, they certainly are – in more ways than one !

    I do this work with my business partner Research In Action and mine are written for marketing software buyers who need to automate one or more important marketing processes and are researching which vendors COULD provide the software their business will require for optimal functionality and strategy. 

    They’re likely to be calling the project something close to the process(es) being automated and improved, but there is no guarantee that the vendors will be using that terminology when describing their products.  

    I design my projects around the process name I think Marketers would use and survey businesses on their experience. Often, that collects a landscape of vendors using different technology labels but that is the reality.

    All in all, there is a multitude of vendor report types out there. On one end of the spectrum, you have the Analyst Reports with industry analyst expertise and in-depth research. On the other end, we have Crowd-Sourced Reports in which rankings are driven by the quality and quantity of user reviews. 

    Analyst Reports

    Pros: The “Tier One” industry analysts doing this work are experts in their field and seriously know their stuff. They sit through strategy and product presentations/demos and some even get feedback from referenced customers. Vendors must invest days of time and resources to provide the right information to the analyst. Of course, many also sign up as clients and engage with the analyst on an ongoing basis to optimize the relationship. 

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

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

    That can be a little depressing not only for the vendor but also for the analyst – all that work and so little attention! Of course, the brand power, and resulting product-marketing ego, of being in a “Magic Quadrant” or “Forrester Wave” means that some vendors buy reprint-licenses and offer a download of the report through their website. And they book the analyst to make speeches/webinars about the research – a little show business that compensates for the initial disappointment perhaps. 

    Crowd-Sourced Reports

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

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

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

    Research In Action Reports Have Both Perspectives

    The methodology at Research In Action is that we first survey 1,500 practitioners about THEIR view of automating the process(es) in questions. And then we ask them to name one or two vendors they associate with the project and give us feedback on the vendor’s product, service, value-for-money, and ability to innovate. The vendors who score highly enough in the survey get into the Vendor Selection Matrixtm report in the first place (usually 15 to 20 vendors). 

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

    Research In Action Reports are Widely Read  

    When Research In Action publishes its reports, they are made available to several communities:

    • Survey respondents. The 1,500 marketing software decision-makers who answered the survey questions are provided with the full report as feedback
    • Survey panel. Research In Action maintains an active survey panel on a global basis with contact details and topics of interest: a current total of 125,000 IT Automation decision-makers and 90,000 Marketing Automation decision-makers. These panel members are informed of the report and can download it if desired
    • Website visitors. Any viewers of the Research In Action website sees a “public version” without the exact scores and matrix placements of each vendor (to save their embarrassment) but with all insights and the most important facts on each vendor.  
    • Vendor reprints. Research In Action does also license reprints, where a vendor can distribute a copy of the report, with their detailed profile, to interested parties. 

    On average, each report gets tens of thousands of clicks on our website. Personally, I am quite proud that so many people now get to see my work. And, when I am booked to do speeches and webinars, I know they are booking me personally, not the brand power. 

    Our work really does fill that gap between an industry analyst report focused on large enterprise needs, and the “trip-advisor” type of review websites. They also reach and assist a broader community of software buyers. Lastly, the community reading the reports is probably a whole order of magnitude higher than the audience able to access the “Tier One” research reports.  Here is our latest Market Impact statistics chart.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Employee Churn: Challenge or Opportunity?

    We are about to publish my next B2B Marketing Propolis Premium Report, titled The Great Resignation: Dealing with Employee Churn and New Expectations

    I enjoyed working with Jarmila Yu, Propolis Hive expert for Teams/Resourcing/D&I while the interviews were with marketing executives across several B2B sectors. 

    Here is the opening chapter; “The Great Resignation forces marketers back to management basics”.

    “Yet another challenge for marketers. They are already dealing with the shift to more digital marketing channels; to more customer-centric and personalised content marketing; and towards using new technologies such as predictive analytics, advertising retargeting and account-profiling. Now, as if that wasn’t enough, they are also facing widespread changes in the working conditions across their businesses. They are not only seeing significant personnel churn in their marketing team, but also dealing with radical changes in the expectations of their teams when it comes to the working environment.

    This is not a trend unique to the marketing department. Business employees across the board are quitting their jobs at a rate not seen in over a decade. The chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank in London reports that analysis of official data suggests people are resigning at the highest rate since 2009, with “historically elevated levels of workers leaving the labour market entirely”. 

    The data shows that a so-called ‘Great Resignation’ wave is happening around the world in the wake of the pandemic. In the US, where the government produces official data on the so-called ‘quit rate,’ the record 4.5 million people that resigned in November 2021 was followed by another 4.3 million resignations in December.

    Employers across the UK complain of struggling to both hang on to and recruit staff. Redundancies in the UK are at their lowest level since the mid-1990s, while the level of open vacancies is the highest on record. The employees are leaving for a variety of reasons:

    • Some are frustrated. Employees want to change their working environment because they are no longer satisfied with their current situation. Some have experienced inconsiderate leaders, unrealistic expectations of work performance, and/or a lack of career advancement. Those who saw colleagues being furloughed often had to shoulder greater workloads and work more time to help keep operations afloat.
    • Others are just tired. Burnout and stress, family-care demands, and personal life-reflection after the Covid-19 pandemic are prompting many employees to reconsider their overall work-life balance objectives. 
    • Seizing the opportunity to move on. Many business professionals are now reconsidering where they want to live, let alone where they want to work. There is an increasing numbers of job opportunities that can be fulfilled remotely without ‘The Great Commute’ to deal with anymore. 

    The marketing discipline is one of many feeling the impact of this trend, which LinkedIn, the professional networking and career development platform, calls ‘The Great Reshuffle.’ The company reports a 31% growth of members with marketing careers changing jobs in 2021 compared to the previous year. That translates to a whopping 618,000 marketing job changes in 2021. And this at the same time as many firms are also ramping up their marketing departments. The past year saw a mind-blowing 374% growth in marketing jobs, with 1.3 million marketing jobs posted to LinkedIn. 

    So, is the ‘Great Reshuffle’ or ‘Great Resignation’ an opportunity or a challenge for marketers? Perhaps it’s a bit of both, offering an opportunity to re-build the business in a better manner, and ensuring that people are better placed in more rewarding and engaging careers.

    For years, most B2B marketing organisations have been working with a ‘do more with less’ approach, with burnout and a lack of mental wellbeing all around. So, was the great resignation about to happen anyway and just accelerated by the pandemic? 

    The number of open marketing roles is at a seemingly all-time high in 2022. Is this because there is an overall increased need for marketers, or is it that there is a greater recognition for the role marketing plays in supporting business? Alternatively, is it a case of ‘where have all the marketing people gone and we need to replace them’?  

    The focus for this Propolis report is to answer some of those questions by examining and documenting how The Great Resignation has affected B2B marketing. We have held long interviews with several senior B2B marketers for deep insight into the topic. Hopefully, their comments will provide actionable advice for other marketers facing similar challenges. As you will see, these executives dropped a series of advisory nuggets in our conversations, so they will take the main stage throughout the report. Both Jarmila Yu and I have worked (and continue to work) with many clients on these issues, and so those experiences also feed into the report.”

    The report will publish to B2B Marketing Propolis clients next month and a shortened version to the non-premium members later in the year. Contact me if you would like to get more details.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • ABM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Martechopia exhibits event vendors

    On my first business trip since years, I attended B2B Marketing’s Martechopia event in London earlier this week. As usual, it was a mix of insightful presentations and discussions by the rich team of experts that the organization is always able to collect for their events. Also, my latest Propolis research report for B2B Marketing entitled ”Riding the Wave of Martech Change” was launched at the event.  

    But I was even more intrigued by the sponsors that exhibited. This was traditionally a mix of a few marketing automation platform vendors, various other software vendors, plus a few agencies – typical providers that target B2B marketing executives as prospects. Well, the big names were not there but a new rising star, the Californian analytics and account engagement platform vendor, 6sense, was present in recognition of their new office in London. Spoiler alert: the day before, I had recorded a video/webinar for them about Account-Based Marketing in Europe to be published in the next weeks.   

    The intriguing thing was that there were THREE marketing event management (MEM) vendors with booths – I also met event attendees representing two further MEM vendors during the day. It looks like I was right in my prediction in the December 2021 Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Marketing Event Management – that investments for marketing event platforms is going to become part of the B2B marketing budget in the next years.  

    In their stage presentation, MEM vendor Cvent even admitted that they had totally ignored Marketing as a target buyer till now, they were only focused on event managers (who are not in marketing). That is true; when I contacted them for the MEM research last September, they declined to brief me because I (only) write for marketers. Well, now they are playing catch-up to address exactly that audience. 

    The other two MEM vendors displaying at Martechopia were in the Top Five in my December report:  ON24 and SpotMe. My colleagues at B2B Marketing are now even using SpotMe as their event platform – I had shared my research with them last year, of course. Another spoiler: there is a webinar with ON24 and myself in the works. 

    My perception was that the staff at both vendors were very good about talking about marketing topics to the delegates instead of event management stuff like registration processes and ticketing. I see MEM becoming an integral part of the customer engagement lifecycle monitored and orchestrated by marketers – from initial kicking-the-tyres curiosity through to offering a Netflix-style library of videos and webinars, most of it collated out of the event calendar. As I write in the report:

    • The crisis has accelerated the inevitable. Large Virtual Events are now SOP and many businesses will plan these as routine in their marketing calendars. Webinars are now an accepted marketing tool across most sectors and geographies.
    • Over one half of companies used between six and ten vendors this year – most did not have a centralized procurement strategy for this topic. Expect his to change for 2022.
    • Nearly three quarters of companies have serious difficulties monetizing their events efficiently. Over half have issues with supporting international audiences, managing presentation content, event registration and ticketing.  

    I suspect the vendors probably did not collect that many “leads” this year, but they have certainly put their stake into the ground and will be top-of-mind when the strategic MEM projects get budgeted this and next year.

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • BCM Research,  Brand Content Management,  News

    Branding in B2B is Important

    We are about to publish my next B2B Marketing Propolis Premium Report, titled 

    Building an Authentic Brand: Defining the Building Blocks for Brand Success

    It was great fun working with B2B Marketing colleagues Sue Mizera and Darren Coleman and the interviews were with marketing executives from Atos, Deloitte, Ideal, The IET, Kalibrate, Pension Insurance Corporation, and PwC.

    This is the opening chapter; “Branding’s journey from logo to message to authenticity”. 

    “Even as B2B marketers become more precise and targeted up and down the funnel, brand strategy is still the starting point for many companies’ overall go-to-market approach. Why? Well, B2B companies that do not take an active role in crafting their brand are leaving perception up to chance. Having a defined brand allows companies to guide their narrative and the public’s opinion. 

    Branding is much more than building awareness; it establishes and maintains credibility with prospects, customers, employees and partners.

    I well remember leading a multi-year project back in 2002–2005 helping the software giant SAP to understand how they won, or lost, their more important deals. For each deal, we would interview the customers about how they came to their buying decision. Every deal involved partners like business consultants and/or system integrators, and it was clearly important to SAP that we record not only what their customers were thinking, but also how those partners were communicating SAP values and their offering. Although the word ‘brand’ wasn’t used (B2B vendors did not talk about brand then; I am not even sure if the client worked in marketing), they were really checking on their brand consistency throughout their sales channel. Simply put, were the partners telling the same story as SAP?

    Branding begins with consistency of presentation across all channels of communication, whether that’s digital or human, direct sales force, or business partners. But it’s not just the messaging about the product or service being offered; branding should also reveal a consistent value system that a business wants to present to the world. Not only what a company offers, but also what it believes in.

    With that in mind, we held extensive interviews with several senior B2B marketers to help us obtain deep insight into the topic of brand authenticity – what it means to marketers, how they approach it, the value it can deliver, and the challenges they face. These interviews serve as the basis of this report.”

    The report will publish to B2B Marketing Propolis clients next week and a shortened version to the non-premium members later in March. Contact me if you would like to get more details.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    MAP Research Nearly There

    I am almost finished with my next Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) – the draft is with the vendors for fact checking. Here are some highlights that will, hopefully, make you more curious about the full report. 

    Our method of asking business managers to name software vendor(s) they associate with a certain topic collects the list of all vendors that are currently top of mind on the practitioner side. In this case we provided a definition and asked about their “Marketing Automation Platform” and the vendor landscape discovered will surprise some people and vendor staff will see new competitors they had not yet considered. Perception is reality. Most vendors were also scored highly, a sign of a mature market, but the survey results also

    make it clear that expectations from marketing executives of MAP vendors have now changed dramatically.

    More and more companies are now focusing on digital marketing programs as society and business reacts to the COVID-19 crisis. In parallel, the focus of digital marketing itself is moving from the simple realization of new business leads to a more engaging and relationship model, raising questions on MAP functions now needed, questions such as: is lead management or engagement management the main function required now? 

    Nearly three quarters of companies are using the MAP more than previously with over half of those companies are leveraging it for more products and services than before and/or for greater market coverage. The crisis has accelerated the inevitable and the increased dependency on digital marketing has exposed weaknesses in many MAP installations. So, it is no surprise that our survey found that 83% of the companies who have a MAP are actively reassessing the suitability of their current installation. 11% are already replacing their MAP. Another 24% of the respondents know they must migrate to something new and 50% know this will be the case for them soon. 

    63% claim that they are not getting the promised return from their MAP (46% citing that as a BIG problem). 91% have issues integrating the MAP to other systems with, again, the share citing that issue as a BIG challenge is well over 40%.

    The re-assessment wave varies across the key regions of the world with North American enterprises already well into the replacement phase. Although there are 12 market leaders, ONLY 13% of companies are satisfied with their current MAP functionality – or just 10% in North America and in Europe.

    Two thirds of companies lack the time/resources to use their MAP effectively while a similar proportion complain about lack of support, or over-promising, from the vendors (40% call this is a BIG challenge). 

    So, watch this space at the end of this month for more data and insights. 

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Der Marketing Event Management Bericht ist fertig

    Glücklicherweise werde ich als Branchenanalyst immer noch häufig als Redner für Webinars und Konferenzen gebucht. Einige Vorträge waren Standard-Webinars mit etwa hundert Teilnehmern, jeweils mit einer Handvoll Rednern oder einer Podiumsdiskussion. Andere Vorträge fanden im Rahmen von Großveranstaltungen oder Konferenzen mit Tausenden Teilnehmern, Dutzenden Sponsoren/Ausstellern und einer Vielzahl von Rednern statt. In den letzten 18 Monaten wurden all diese Veranstaltungen aufgrund der eingeschränkten Reisefreiheit virtuell organisiert und durchgeführt.

    Da jede Plattform ein wenig anders zu bedienen ist, habe ich gelernt, flexibel zu sein. An einem Tag befinde ich mich beispielsweise als Avatar in einem 3D-simulierten Konferenzzentrum (Ich habe immer noch Zugriff auf einen virtuellen Konferenzraum dieser Website). An einem anderen Tag sitze ich in einer Microsoft Teams Videokonferenz und werde dann von den Organisatoren live in eine große Konferenz “gebeamt” (Das war ein ziemlich großer Aufwand, denn ich brauchte drei Geräte: Desktop/Laptop, um in Teams zu sein; ein Tablet, um zu verfolgen, wie die Show live gestreamt wurde; und schließlich mein Smartphone, welches als Clicker eingerichtet war, um die Präsentationsfolien zu steuern).  

    Eine der wichtigsten Herausforderungen für CMOs bei der Planung der Budgets für 2022 liegt darin, zu antizipieren, wie ihr Veranstaltungskalender für das kommende Jahr aussehen sollte oder könnte. Mit Live-Veranstaltungen? Aber wie? Als hybrides Event? Und was ist das genau? Plus: Welche Marketing Event Management (MEM)-Plattform(en) wird (werden) im bevorstehenden Jahr 2022 am besten für sie geeignet sein. 

    Meine ersten Gedanken zu dieser Thematik habe ich bereits hier in diesem (in englischer Sprache) Blog niedergeschrieben. Der Bericht ist nun vollständig und hier sind einige der Highlights…

    • Die aktuelle Corona-Pandemie hat das Unvermeidliche beschleunigt. Große virtuelle Veranstaltungen gehören mittlerweile zum Normalbetrieb und viele Unternehmen planen sie nun routinemäßig in ihre Marketing-Kalender ein. Auch Webinare sind in den meisten Branchen und Regionen bereits zu einem bewährten Marketinginstrument geworden.
    • Fast ein Drittel der Unternehmen sorgt sich um die Skalierbarkeit. Die nächstgrößere Herausforderung für Unternehmen liegt im Kosten- und Ressourcenmanagement.
    • Mehr als die Hälfte der Unternehmen nutzte dieses Jahr zwischen sechs und zehn Anbieter. Die meisten verfolgten hierfür keine zentrale Beschaffungsstrategie, was sich im Jahr 2022 voraussichtlich ändern wird.
    • Beinahe 75% der Unternehmen haben ernsthafte Schwierigkeiten bei der effizienten Monetarisierung ihrer Veranstaltungen. Mehr als die Hälfte berichtet von Problemen mit dem Support von internationalem Publikum, bei der Verwaltung von Präsentationsinhalten, der Registrierung und dem Ticketing.  

    Der Bericht enthält mehrere Seiten mit weiteren Erkenntnissen, welche auf Interviews mit Anwendern und Anbietern basieren. Unsere weltweite Befragung von 1.500 Fachleuten für Geschäftsveranstaltungen konnte folgende Wettbewerbslandschaft der Top MEM-Anbieter aufdecken. Die Market Leaders (Strategie und Execution Bewertung mehr als 4 von 5 Punkte) waren: 

    • 6CONNEX, ACCELEVENTS, AIRMEET, BIZZABO, CERTAIN, CVENT, KALTURA, MEETYOO, NOTIFIED , ON24, RAINFOCUS, SPOTME, VFAIRS, und ZOOM.

    Es ist gut, einen deutsche Anbieter, MEETYOO, in diesen Liste zu finden. Gratuliere nach Berlin. 

    Sie können den veröffentlichte Report hier weiterlesen. Zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren, falls Sie mehr über diese Forschung erfahren möchten. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Marketing Event Management Report Out Now

    One of the most important questions marketing executives are asking is about how their events calendar should, or could, develop for the next planning phase. Are live events totally dead now, or will they return? What is a hybrid event and how do they choose which format to offer? 

    Plus, which Marketing Event Management (MEM) platform(s) will be the most suitable for them going forward. Through 2021, many MEM providers released new, dedicated software to better support virtual events of all sizes, accelerated, of course, by massive injections of venture capital. The classical webinar vendors now all support larger events, while existing virtual event providers added functionality for webinars and meetings to their portfolio.  

    Here is our report on MEM which is based upon a global survey of 1,500 business decision-makers about their MEM experiences in 2021 and plans for 2022, which discovered the software vendors that are most known, as well as what the businesspeople think about those products and services. Over half of the 1,500 companies used between six and ten different MEM vendors this year and most did not have a centralized procurement strategy for this topic. We expect this to change for 2022 and going forward.Here are the survey highlights and my insights from the many conversations I had on the topic:

    • Partner COVID accelerated an already-inevitable move to virtual. Virtual is part of a new marketing paradigm where events will be more numerous, impactful, and measurable than before. Expect all digital marketing plans to include events as standard in customer engagement programs; to collect market/customer insights at scale and to maintain a buyer/customer relationship over a longer period than just a buying cycle. Marketers used to see events as nice-to-have vanity-driven exercises of corporate PR. No longer  
    • Hybrid event strategies will prevail, but the definition changes. Marketers see “hybrid” as more than just mobile apps for on-site attendees. It is a mix of on-site with virtual attendance, with all attendees treated equally; a program of on-site and virtual events within a hub and spoke engagement strategy; plus, importantly, the ability to switch to virtual at short notice if necessary.  
    • To immerse or not to immerse, that is the question. Many virtual event vendors have 3D, CGI-like, avatar-driven, conference environments. But a good share of marketers will opt for a more pragmatic experience – something like a Netflix interface, with a content hub/streaming platform where recordings can be leveraged in campaigns or even just be discovered through good SEO. 
    • Virtual events encourage further globalization. Most virtual events attract and discover new attendance from international audiences. This raises new challenges for event organizers (and the platform they select) around localization, supporting synchronous and asynchronous presentations and meetings, as well as compliance issues such as using attendee and engagement data.     
    • The MEM vendor landscape bewilders, vendors must tell better stories. The over-100 MEM vendors out there have a variety of roots. Some have just repackaged traditional offerings through new product positioning. Others are meeting platforms good for meetings, but not necessarily larger events, or vice-versa. Most are challenged, however, to communicate the benefits of their technologies to business-oriented marketers.
    • Who came out on top? As most businesses were experimenting, the general level of satisfaction with the vendors is higher than usual, so there is an unusually long list of Market Leaders (having both a Strategy and an Execution score of over 4 out of 5) in the Vendor Selection Matrix™ – Marketing Event Management 2021 as scored by the survey and myself (listed alphabetically): 

    6CONNEX, ACCELEVENTS, AIRMEET, BIZZABO, CERTAIN, CVENT, KALTURA, MEETYOO, NOTIFIED, ON24, RAINFOCUS, SPOTME, VFAIRS, and ZOOM 

         Time will tell if that list remains so strong. The full list of vendors in the Top 19 vendors scored in the survey is completed by: CADMIUMCD, CIRCA, HOPIN, SPLASH, and MICROSOFT.   

    Contact me if you’d like to hear more about this research.   

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter