• News

    Marketing und CX

    In meinem zweiten Bericht aus dem Jahr 2021 für B2B Marketing Propolis dreht sich alles darum, wie Marketing zu den Customer Experience (CX) Programmen ihres Unternehmens beiträgt (oder sie vielleicht sogar anführt?). Ich habe annähernd 100 B2B-Marketer befragt und einige von ihnen für einen tieferen Einblick interviewt.   

    Vor einem Jahrzehnt konzentrierte sich CX auf die Bezeichnung “KUNDE” und bezog sich hauptsächlich auf die Benutzerfreundlichkeit von Produkten und die Servicequalität nach dem Verkauf. Die meisten Early-Adopter waren Unternehmen im Einzelhandel und in der Finanzdienstleistung. Ich erinnere mich noch gut an das Jahr 2014, als ich in meiner Rolle als Forrester-Analyst der deutschen Drogeriekette DM-Markt zu seinen kundenfreundlichen Läden gratulierte. In DM-Märkten benötigt man keine Münze/keinen Token für die Einkaufswägen, welche darüber Hinaus mit Lupen ausgestattet sind (für diejenigen, die Hilfe beim Lesen von Produktbeschreibungen benötigen). Außerdem verfügen die Läden über großzügig angelegte Supermarktgassen, in denen man seinen eigenen Weg durch ein Geschäft wählen kann und nicht gezwungen ist, sich alles anzuschauen, was angeboten wird. Das übergeordnete Konzept zu dieser Zeit war “ease of doing business”.

    Anschließend arbeitete ich mit namenhaften B2B-Unternehmen wie Mearsk und Henkel zusammen, welche dieses Mantra aufgriffen und entsprechende Verbesserungsprogramme umsetzten. Mithilfe dieser Programme wurde z.B. Spediteuren die Buchung von Containertransporten erleichtert (Maersk) und Beschaffungs- und Projektmanagern das Auffüllen von Beständen an Industrieklebstoffen mit einem Minimum an bürokratischem Aufwand ermöglicht. Der CX-Imperativ begann also auch, sich implizit auch auf die Buyer Journey auszuweiten. 

    Inzwischen haben die gut kommunizierten (digitalen) Erwartungen einer neuen Generation von B2B-Käufern und -Nutzern das Thema CX an die Spitze der Agenda der digitalen Transformation befördert. Zahlreiche Umfragen ergeben nun übereinstimmend große Prozentsätze von digitalen Käufern, welche eine Website oder sogar ein Unternehmen als Ganzes im Internet “weg klicken”, wenn die Website oder das Unternehmen ein unangenehmes Erlebnis während ihrer Buyer Journey verursacht hatte.  

    CX ist mittlerweile also ein entscheidender Faktor sowohl für den Vertrieb als auch für das Marketing. Doch decken B2B-Marketingorganisationen das Thema CX ausreichend ab? Übernehmen sie die Verantwortung für die CX-Optimierung oder spielen sie nur eine kleinere Rolle in den gesamten CX-Bemühungen von Unternehmen? Dies habe ich herausgefunden:

    • Die Verbreitung verschiedener Werkzeuge und Methoden zur Verbesserung der CX war nicht sehr groß. Mehr als zwei drittel der Befragten konnten lediglich drei unterschiedliche Methoden nennen. Fazit: B2B-Marketer beginnen gerade erst zu erkennen, dass sie eine bedeutende Rolle bei der CX-Optimierung haben.  
    • Erschreckende 72% der Befragten halten die “Sicherstellung der Ausrichtung des Marketings auf CX” nicht für eine der wichtigsten Prioritäten. Darüber Hinaus gaben nur sehr wenige gaben an, dass sie CX-Messungen und Kennzahlen nutzen, um die Arbeit des Marketings zu unterstützen.    
    • Die Umfrage hinterlässt den Eindruck, dass B2B-Marketer zwar die zunehmende Bedeutung von CX erkennen, sich aber nicht direkt für deren Messung oder Verbesserung verantwortlich fühlen.

    EIN GROSSTEIL DER CX LIEGT AUSSERHALB DES MARKETINGS

    Die Umfrage deckte zudem eine generelle Zurückhaltung bei der Unterstützung von CX-Prozessen innerhalb des Marketings auf. Von den 86 % der befragten Unternehmen, die ein Kundenfeedback-System für CX betreiben, gab die Hälfte an, dass das System außerhalb des Marketings betrieben wird. Selbst ein marketingorientierter Prozess wie Customer Analytics, der von 84 % der Befragten als “für CX relevant” eingeschätzt wurde, wird in etwa einem Drittel der Fälle (31 % von diesen 84 %) außerhalb der Marketingorganisation durchgeführt.  

    Bei den CX-Messsystemen, welche in den Unternehmen eingesetzt werden, zeichnet sich ein ähnliches Bild ab. Lediglich die Metriken “Customer Lifetime Value” und “Voice of Customer” werden zu mehr als 50 % vom Marketing verwaltet. Alle anderen Systeme werden überwiegend außerhalb des Marketings ausgeführt. Dies ergibt durchaus einen gewissen Sinn: Der Kundenservice und andere Post-Sales-Abteilungen haben einen größeren Zugang zu den Kunden und sind dadurch in der Lage, effektiv Daten erfassen zu können. Siehe Grafik unten. 

    Das soll aber nicht heißen, dass das Marketing kaum Verantwortung für CX übernimmt? 

    Marketingverantwortliche bestätigten zwar nachdrücklich, dass sie vorhaben, CX-Ressourcen und -Kompetenzen aufbauen zu wollen. Andere Aussagen dieser Fachleute zu Training, Coaching und sogar Karrieremöglichkeiten konnten diese Absicht jedoch nicht überzeugend mit Fakten untermauern.  

    Es existieren jedoch einige Programmtypen, bei denen das Marketing die klare Führung übernimmt und die Möglichkeit hat, CX weiter voranzutreiben. Diese sind Sales Enablement, Customer Advocacy und Customer Success. Aus diesem Grund habe ich in unserer CX-Umfrage unter B2B-Marketern speziell nach diesen Themen gefragt und kann diesbezüglich berichten:  

    • Sales Enablement läuft bereits in den meisten Unternehmen, einschließlich Customer Insights
    • Investitionen in Customer Advocacy-Programme nehmen zu, wenn auch langsam 
    • Customer Success-Programme befinden sich noch in der Anfangsphase.

    Der vollumfängliche Bericht enthält noch viel mehr Daten, einige interessante Aussagen von Praktikern und mehrere Tools, darunter ein Reifegrad-Bewertungs-Tool. Dieses Tool von Propolis kann z. B. von B2B-Marketing-Kunden dafür genutzt werden, um das Marketing an der CX-Strategie ihres Unternehmens auszurichten. In ein paar Wochen werden wir eine Version mit den Highlights veröffentlichen – zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren, falls Sie an dem Bericht interessiert sind und ein Exemplar haben möchten. 

    Insgesamt ist der Bericht ziemlich optimistisch, was die Rolle des Marketings angeht, insbesondere wenn man die Tiefeninterviews berücksichtigt.  Meine B2B-Marketing-Kollegin und Propolis-Expertin für CX, Barbara Stewart, aus Großbritannien, stellt ganz einfach fest: “Jetzt ist der ideale Zeitpunkt für B2B-Marketer, um sich einzuschalten und die Bereitstellung eines durchgängigen Kundenerlebnisses anzuführen, um ein marketinggesteuertes Kundenerlebnis zu schaffen”. 

    Eine weitere Praktikerin, die ich interviewte, war Lauren McCadney, Direktorin des Marketing Delivery bei CDW in Chicago. Sie sagt: “Zu einer idealen CX gehört, dass jeder Kundenkontaktpunkt für sich begeistert und ein konsistentes Spiegelbild der Marke darstellt. Dies legt eine symbiotische Beziehung zwischen den Funktionen nahe, die nicht von einer einzelnen Gruppe verantwortet werden kann, sondern von jener Gruppe angeführt werden sollte, welche die Expertise hat eine Strategie auf breiter Ebene zu denken und zu teilen. Ich glaube, diese Funktion hat das Marketing.”

    In der folgenden Grafik wird ein Schema von meinem geschätzten Ex-Kollegen James McCormick, Principal Analyst bei Forrester dargestellt, welches die aktuelle Matrix der CX-Funktionen veranschaulicht. Er zeigt eine separate, dedizierte CX-Praxis – Es stellt sich die Frage, ob viele B2B-Unternehmen dies auch so machen werden. 

    Jedenfalls ist die Zuweisung von Verantwortung für CX von großer Bedeutung. Wie Lauren andeutet, muss jemand verantwortlich sein, da ansonsten jeder einfach annehmen wird, dass jemand anderes daran arbeitet. Wenn etwas eindeutig in Ihrer Verantwortung liegt, ist es Ihre Aufgabe sicherzustellen, dass dieser Prozess zufriedenstellend ausgeführt wird. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Changed Role of Marketing

    We are about to publish my third B2B Marketing premium report, on Execution and Campaigns. This is my opening chapter entitled; “Digital Business Transformation Changes the Role of Marketing” (the six parameters of change listed are described in more detail in the report itself):

    ” Readers of industry analysts’ reports like this are used to being alerted to “change” and being advised (hopefully) about what to do about it. In my 20-odd years in the role, I have published scores of such reports – in the very old days, for IT Professionals about the trend to distributed or client/server computing; noting that the IT Service department is no longer managing pieces of IT equipment but full “business services”; and, of course, the advent of cloud computing. More recently, for B2B Marketers, I was one of the first to point out that the role of sellers will change (“Death of the B2B Salesman” in 2015), the rise of Account-Based Marketing and, most recently, Marketing’s change-in-purpose from the loyal hunter and gatherer of leads to an orchestrator of customer engagement and experience. 

    But this time, things really have changed: dramatically, drastically, radically, and probably for-ever. 

    COVID is the Accelerant for Digital Marketing Transformation  

    No business can now afford to ignore the need for digital transformation. The prevailing arguments in some B2B organisations: “We know our customers well enough”; “Our buyers do not work digitally”; “Nobody buys our solutions over the Web” are no longer valid. In fact, the reality of working during a pandemic has proven all those objections to be false. It has finally forced many marketing organizations to respond to the pressure of digital transformation, overcoming a logjam of institutional resistance.  

    Even more: the whole post-covid business world is clearly going to be one driven by overwhelming societal changes, which will result in new working practices, as well as major economic and market shifts. And these changes are already reflected in new B2B customer or buyer behaviour and preferences. That should be enough to make Marketing react, but the probability is that many businesses will need to engage in a much more holistic radical re-thinking about their products, services, channels, processes and go-to-market approach. All of which could, ultimately, result even in a fundamental re-examination of the role of Marketing itself. 

    Parameters of Change  

    Indeed, some business leaders are already looking for Marketing to step up and lead change. They’re looking down a new type of funnel and have realised that their customers have different expectations and now want Marketing to drive a different demand generation programme through more impactful and relevant campaigns and a seamless, cohesive customer journey. The “big picture” includes these six possible parameters of change:

    1. The Offering

    2. The Target Markets

    3. The Brand

    4. Marketing’s Role

    5. The Buyers

    6. The Engagement

    The complete “big picture” of change will be discussed in a Premium report addressing Strategy, later this year. If the engine room of Marketing is now Marketing Operations (see the first Premium Report), and the probable aspirational goal for Marketing is Customer Experience (second Premium Report), the current functional focus for today’s Marketing organization is executing Campaigns. 

    That is the focus for this report: Execution and Campaigns: building marketing programs that will engage audiences to change how they think and feel. It is exactly those items: “engage”, “how they think”, “feel” that have now changed so dramatically. 

    The questions we will try to answer in this report are: what has changed and how ? What will stayed changed for ever ? What lessons have already been learned in the last 18 months that can be leveraged when planning for the next marketing calendar. “

    ………..

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

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • 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

  • News

    CX and Marketing (B2B)

    My second 2021 report for B2B Marketing Propolis is all about how Marketing contributes to (or perhaps even leads?) their company’s customer experience (CX) programs. I had surveyed nearly 100 B2B marketers and also interviewed several of them for a deeper dive.   

    A decade ago, CX focused on the descriptor “CUSTOMER” and was mostly about product usability and after-sales service quality; the most early-adopters were companies in retail and financial services. As a Forrester analyst in 2014, I well remember congratulating the German drugstore DM-Markt on their customer-friendly shops where no coin/token is needed for a trolley; which has magnifying lenses attached (for those needing help to read product descriptions); plus generously-spaced supermarket lanes where you could choose your own route through a shop and not be forced to look at everything on offer. The overriding concept at that time was “ease of doing business”. 

    Then I worked with B2B companies like Mearsk and Henkel who took up that mantra and implemented improvement programs to help: shipping agents book their container transport much easier (Maersk); or procurement and project managers to replenish inventories of industrial adhesives with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss. So, the CX imperative began to spread implicitly across the buyer journey as well. 

    Now, the well-publicised digital expectations of a new generation of B2B buyers and users has pushed CX to the top of everyone’s digital transformation agenda. All surveys now report incessantly on large percentages of digital buyers clicking away from a website, or even a company as a whole, in response to a difficult experience during their buyer research.   

    So CX is therefore now a vital factor for both sales and marketing. But how much CX do B2B Marketing organizations  cover? Do they take responsibility for CX optimization, or do they just play a cameo role in the company’s overall CX endeavor. This is what I found out …

    • The prevalence of various tools and methods to improve CX was not high, and only three methods were cited by more than two-thirds of the respondents. Conclusion: B2B marketers are only just beginning to recognize that they have a role in CX optimization.  
    • A frightening 72% of the respondents did not consider “ensuring alignment of marketing to CX” to be a major priority. And very few stated that they use CX measurements and metrics to inform marketing’s work.    
    • The general impression left by the survey opening is that B2B marketers do recognize the increasing importance of CX but they do not feel directly responsible for its measurement nor improvement. 

    MUCH OF CX IS OUTSIDE MARKETING

    The survey also revealed a general reluctance to support CX processes within Marketing. Of the 86% of companies running a Customer Feedback System for CX, half of those respondents specified that the system was run outside of marketing. Even a marketing-orientated process like Customer Analytics, named by 84% of respondents as being used for CX, is being done in over a third of the cases (31 of that 84%) outside of the marketing organization.  

    There is a similar picture with the CX measurements systems that are in place across the companies. Only the Customer Lifetime Value and Voice of Customer metrics are managed more than 50% of the time by Marketing. All other systems are collected outside of marketing in the majority of cases. Which does make some sense: Customer Service and other post-sales departments have greater access to customers to be able to collect the data. See the graphic below. 

    Marketing executives answered emphatically that they want to build up CX resources and competencies. But other answers on training, coaching and even career opportunities for marketing professionals did not really support that intent with fact. 

    But this should not mean that marketing takes little responsibility for CX ? 

    There are several programme types where Marketing has the clear leadership plus an opportunity to push CX further. These are Sales Enablement, Customer Advocacy and Customer Success. So I asked specifically about these topics in our CX survey of B2B marketers and can report that:  

    • Sales Enablement is up and running in most firms, including customer insights
    • Customer Advocacy program investment is picking up, albeit slowly
    • Customer Success programs are in the infancy stage.

    The report itself has much more data, several statements from the practitioners I interviewed and several tools. including a maturity assessment tool, that B2B Marketing’s Propolis clients can leverage as they align their marketing to their company’s CX strategy. In a few weeks, we will release a highlights version – write me if you would like a copy

    Overall, the report is quite bullish about what role Marketing should be playing, particularly when the deep-dive interviews are considered.  My B2B Marketing colleague and Propolis Expert for CX, Barbara Stewart, from the UK, states quite simply: ““Now is the ideal time for B2B marketers to step in and lead the delivery of a customer experience from end to end to deliver a marketing-led customer experience” 

    Another practitioner interviewed was Lauren McCadney, Director, Marketing Delivery at  CDW in Chicago, and she says:  “Fantastic CX involves ensuring every customer touchpoint delights and is a consistent reflection of the brand. This suggests a symbiotic relationship between functions that can’t be ‘owned’ by a single group, but should be led by the group that has the expertise to think and share the strategy broadly. I believe that function is marketing.”

    This schematic from my distinguished ex-colleague James McCormick, Principal Analyst at Forrester documents the current matrix of CX functions. He shows a separate, dedicated, CX practice – the question is: will many B2B companies do it that way, or will they put Marketing in charge ? 

    Allocating responsibility for CX is so important. As Lauren implies, somebody has to be responsible, or everyone will just assume that someone else is working on it. If something is your responsibility, it means that it’s your job to make sure that it’s OK. 

    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. 

    EUROPEAN VENDORS DOMINATE DAM

    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. 

    DAM VENDORS IN GERMANY WITH THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

    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

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    PIM Rules! – Product Data is Key for Success

    It no longer matters whether you are a B2C or a B2B business – digital marketing and eCommerce is booming and now mission-critical. Many manufacturers must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and the marketers will usually work through a mix of eCommerce channels: direct on their own websites, plus third parties such as marketplaces and distributors. The only way they can optimize the customer experience through all those channels is to pay much more attention to the Product Information Management (PIM) process, which has historically been an obsession in IT and product management departments, but less so in marketing.

    In this digital world, companies require high-quality and unique product information on an increasingly large scale (number of SKUs and variants, plus number of channels), for all these reasons important to marketers:

    • To have direct influence on conversion in the buying process
    • To reduce the number of returned goods
    • To gain higher visibility through search engines
    • To leverage higher website traffic
    • To reduce resources spent on individual customer queries
    • To optimize the product and customer experience, resulting in customer loyalty

    PIM ensures the quality of your product data

    The right PIM system improves the quality and accuracy of all product data, which leads to the optimization of all digital marketing business processes. It will become the central place for all product-relevant information, specifications and digital files and the feed for the countless digital channels to be deployed by marketing.

    The basis of success in the sale of products and services is top-quality product data and that would be difficult enough even if each company only sold directly to customers. But product information must now be provided by manufacturers to their sales forces, distributors, retailers, marketplaces, and more; all digitally and essentially in real-time pace. Manufacturer specifications must fulfil legal requirements, but also be comprehensible. 

    I could go on … but you get the point, I hope. This is why I found it suitable to do my latest Vendor Selection Matrix research on the process of PIM.    

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

    Who is in the PIM Vendor Landscape ?

    These are the Market Leaders, having both a Strategy and Execution score of over 4 out of 5: 

    AKENEO, CONTENTSERV, INFORMATICA, PROFISEE, RIVERSAND, SEMARCHY, STIBO SYSTEMS, TIBCO, and VIAMEDICI. 

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

    The public version of the report is here. We do not reveal the individual scores but you can see ratings for Market Presence, Growth Rate and Customer Traction, and see summary profiles. The survey respondents have received a full copy and out marketing automation research panel (ca. 90,000) can also check it out. 

    PIM or MDM ? – Depends on who you talk to

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

    Indeed, many of the vendors we discovered in the survey do still market their solutions as an MDM solution and are more focused on covering the requirements for data projects as specified by the IT department. 

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

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

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

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Wir demokratisieren den Research Prozess (Suche nach Anbieter)

    Also – Sie wollen nun wichtige Marketingprozesse in Ihrem Unternehmen automatisieren und haben damit begonnen nach passenden Software-Anbietern zu suchen. Diese sollten Software mit optimaler Funktionalität anbieten, welche zur Strategie des Unternehmens passt. 

    Die gute Nachricht? Sie sind nicht der oder die Einzige, der den Weg der Recherche beschritten hat. Hierbei können fundierte Forschungsberichte eine ausgezeichnete Informationsquelle sein, welche Ihre Entscheidung zur Marketingautomatisierung unterstützen. 

    Die schlechte Nachricht? Diese Berichte sollten nicht unüberlegt für bare Münze genommen werden. Es ist wichtig die Hintergründe der jeweiligen Berichte zu kennen, um ihre Aussagekraft einschätzen zu können.

    Es existieren verschiedene Typen von Forschungsberichten. Also lassen Sie uns diese auf höchster Ebene kategorisieren. Am einen Ende des Spektrums gibt es tiefgreifende Forschung in den Analysten-POV-Berichte, basierend auf der Expertise von Branchenanalysten. Auf der anderen Seite gibt es die Crowd-Sourced Berichte, bei denen die Rankings von der Qualität und Quantität der Nutzerbewertungen bestimmt werden. 

    Analysten-POV-Berichte

    Vorteile: Die hier angewandten Forschungs- und Bewertungsprozesse sollten nicht unterschätzt werden. Die “Tier One”-Branchenanalysten, die diese Arbeit machen, sind Experten auf ihrem Gebiet und kennen sich mit der Materie sehr gut aus. Sie sehen sich Strategie- und Produktpräsentationen/Demos an und manche erhalten sogar Feedback von Referenzkunden. Die jeweiligen Anbieter investieren viel Zeit und Ressourcen, um dem Analysten wichtige Informationen zu liefern. Natürlich melden sich auch viele dieser Anbieter als Kunden bei dem Analysten und halten fortlaufend Kontakt, um eine langfristige Beziehung aufzubauen. 

    Spoiler Alert: In meiner Zeit als Research Director bei Forrester hatte ich einen Analysten in meinem Team, der Kunden ausschließlich dazu beriet, wie man Beziehungen zu den Analysten aufbaut und pflegt (Es ist schließlich ein Teil des B2B-Marketings). Hierzu gehörte beispielsweise auch die Frage, wie man sich in einer Magic Quadrant  oder Forrester Wave optimal platziert. 

    Nachteile: Der Analyst POV Report wird den Kunden des Forschungsunternehmens angeboten. Diese sind in der Regel große Unternehmen (Diese Tatsache beeinflusst natürlich auch die Liste der einbezogenen Anbieter). Es handelt sich dabei um eine kleinere Anzahl von Aufrufen, als oft angenommen wird. Die Leserschaft eines Berichts hinter der Bezahlschranke liegt in der Regel im Hunderterbereich – ein Kunde (Anbieter) erzählte mir, dass die letzten beiden Berichte, welche sein Produkt enthielten, 480 und nur 58 Aufrufe auf der Website des Forschungsunternehmens erzielt hatten.

    Dies kann für den Analysten etwas deprimierend sein – so viel Arbeit für so wenig Aufmerksamkeit. Selbstverständlich geht die Platzierung eines Anbieters in einem “Magic Quadrant” oder einer “Forrester Wave” mit entsprechender Markenmacht und Produktmarketing-Ego einher. Daher kaufen einige dieser Anbieter Reprint-Lizenzen und bieten zudem einen Download des Berichts über ihre eigene Website an. Zudem buchen sie den Analysten, um Vorträge/Webinare über die Studie zu halten – ein kleines “Show Business” Geschäft, das vielleicht die anfängliche Enttäuschung kompensiert. 

    Einige der Anbieter sind sehr erfreut in dem Bericht erwähnt zu werden, unabhängig davon, wie gut sie positioniert sind. Hier ist ein Beispiel für ein Unternehmen, welches eine Lizenz erworben hat, obwohl in diesem Bericht vom Forschungsunternehmen Gartner einige Anbieter (8) in Bezug auf die Ausführungsfähigkeiten höher bewertet wurden. 

    Crowd-Sourced-Berichte

    Pro: Es ist wahrscheinlich auch hilfreich, Feedback von anderen Anwendern einzuholen.  Gleichgesinnte, die ihre Erfahrungen mit einem Produkt teilen, ob gut oder schlecht. Mittlerweile existieren mehrere solcher Feedback-Websites für alle Arten von Software-Anwendungen, einschließlich Marketingsoftware. 

    Nachteile: Haben Sie jemals Ihr Lieblingsrestaurant auf Google oder Yelp nachgeschlagen, ein paar Ein-Sterne-Bewertungen bemerkt und sich gefragt, wie Kunden zu solch gegensätzlichen Schlussfolgerungen kommen konnten? Eine einzelne Bewertung (ob gut oder schlecht) sollte nicht allein Ihre Software-Kaufentscheidung diktieren, genau wie bei jedem anderen Produkt. Denken Sie daran: Die Meinungen von Nutzern haben einen unterschiedlichen Grad an tatsächlichem Verständnis für Marketing-Automatisierung. Nur weil jemand eine Bewertung schreibt, heisst dies noch lange nicht, dass er ein Experte auf diesem Gebiet ist.

    Darüber hinaus beeinflusst die Qualität und Quantität der Nutzerbewertungen das Ranking. Wenn ein Unternehmen ein paar Hundert Bewertungen mit einem hohen Bewertungsdurchschnitt hat und ein anderes einige Tausend Bewertungen mit überdurchschnittlichen Bewertungen, ist es wahrscheinlich, dass Letzteres aufgrund der sehr großen Anzahl der Bewertungen besser im Bericht positioniert wird. Dies stellt einen Vorteil für größere Anbieter dar, welche schon lange auf dem Markt sind und womöglich über Bewertungsanreiz-Programme verfügen, um ihr Ranking zu verbessern.

    Gibt es da vielleicht etwas dazwischen?

    Zusammen mit meinem Geschäftspartner Research-in-Action habe ich eine andere Herangehensweise an die Methodik entwickelt. Wir befragen 1.500 Nutzer nach IHRER Meinung über das Produkt, den Service, das Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis und die Innovationsfähigkeit der Anbieter. Die Anbieter, welche in der Umfrage gut genug abschneiden, qualifizieren sich für die Aufnahme in den Vendor Selection Matrix Report (normalerweise 15 bis 20 Anbieter). 

    Anschließend wird dieses kuratierte Marktfeedback mit einer Brise Branchenanalystenwissen gewürzt, um ein abgerundetes Rezept für eine sinvolle Anbieterauswahl zu erhalten. Diese Berichte beinhalten, mehr noch als die Quadranten- oder Wellenberichte, mehreren Seiten an Trendeinblicken. Diese können sowohl Käufer als auch Anbieter darüber informieren, was bei der Investition in das nächste Projekt am wichtigsten ist. 

    Democratic Research bedeutet eine offene und multimethodische Herangehensweise

    Nach der Veröffentlichung der Research-in-Action Berichte, stehen diese einigen Communities, und damit einer großen Anzahl von Interessierten, kostenlos zur Verfügung:

    • Umfrageteilnehmer. Die 1.500 befragten Entscheidungsträger der Marketing-Software- Branche erhalten den vollständigen Bericht als Feedback
    • Umfrage-Panel. Research-in-Action unterhält ein aktives Umfrage-Panel auf globaler Basis mit Kontaktdaten und Interessensschwerpunkten von insgesamt 90.000 Entscheidungsträgern im Bereich Marketing Automatisierung. Die Panelmitglieder werden über die Berichte informiert und können Sie auf Wunsch herunterladen
    • Website-Besucher. Jeder Besucher der Research-in-Action-Website hat Zugriff auf eine “öffentliche Version” der Berichte. Diese sind ohne die genauen Scores und Matrix-Platzierungen der einzelnen Anbieter (um manchen die Peinlichkeit einer schlechten öffentlichen Bewerten zu ersparen). Trotzdem werden alle Insights und die wichtigsten Fakten zu jedem Anbieter in der öffentlichen Version dargelegt.  
    • Nachdrucke für Anbieter. Zudem lizenziert Research-in-Action Nachdrucke für Anbieter. Die Anbieter erhalten eine Kopie des gesamten Berichts, einschließlich des detaillierten Anbieterprofils und können diese Kopie an Interessenten verteilen können. 

    Als Analyst bin ich stolz darauf, dass nun so viele Menschen meine Arbeit zu sehen bekommen. Wenn ich für Vorträge und Webinare gebucht werde, ist mir klar, dass man mich persönlich bucht und nicht die Macht einer Marke. 

    Die Vendor Selection Matrix-Berichte von Research-in-Action füllen die Lücke zwischen den trockenen Berichten von Industrieanalysten, die sich auf die Bedürfnisse von Großunternehmen konzentrieren und den wilden “Trip-Advisor”-artigen Bewertungswebsites. Außerdem erreichen und assistieren diese Berichte eine breitere Masse von Softwarekäufern. Schließlich ist die Community, welche diese Berichte liest, sehr wahrscheinlich deutlich größer als die Zielgruppe, welche auf die “Tier One”-Forschungsberichte zugreifen kann.    

    Unten finden sie unser aktuelles Statistikdiagramm zum Markteinfluss.

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Digital Marketers Discover the Power of Product Data

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

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

    Many manufacturers must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and the marketers usually discover a mix of eCommerce channels: direct on their own websites, plus third parties such as marketplaces and distributors. The only way they can optimize the customer experience through all those channels is to pay much more attention to the PIM process, which was previously scoped only by IT and product management.

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

    Do you need a PIM Application or an MDM Vendor

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

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

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

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

    Who is in the PIM Vendor Landscape ?

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

    AKENEO, CONTENTSERV, INFORMATICA, PROFISEE, RIVERSAND, SEMARCHY, STIBO SYSTEMS, TIBCO, VIAMEDICI. 

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

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

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

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • Design Thinking,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Democratic Research

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

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

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

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

    Analyst POV Reports

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

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

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

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

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

    Crowd-Sourced Reports

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

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

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

    Well, What About Something In-Between ?

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

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

    Democratic Research is In-Between and Open 

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

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

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

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

    Here is our latest Market Impact statistics chart.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Propolis, a new digital community for B2B Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter