In my research with marketing practitioners, I investigate various processes around the management of marketing information and all relevant digital assets – which process name is most relevant to a company depends on Marketing’s process maturity which I see moving through these 5 phases over time:
- Chaotic. Neophyte marketers focus on their product so the first important information management process is Product Information Management (PIM) – ensuring all company output shows the most recent product data (specifications, pricing, offers, use cases, and so on).
- Reactive. The added complexity of digital marketing and multi-channel fulfillment programs requires a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system – many firms must combine multiple content assets systems into a more comprehensive asset database. IT-centric projects are named Master Data Management while marketers prefer a title like Universal Content Management or Hub.
- Stable. DAM/PIM becomes part of a greater Brand Content Management (BCM) process when brand governance across multiple channels (digital channels plus external channels such as resellers) is needed. The need to manage assets AND better plan/budget for all Marketing results in a more holistic/operational Marketing Resource Management process, which may include BCM.
- Proactive. When marketing’s role inevitably matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a full customer experience, focus switches to attribution analytics: identifying exactly where and how marketing is contributing to revenue success.
- Predictive. The most advanced marketers have digital assets managed in the MRM system and combined with other business data, so that a CMO can monitor the performance of all marketing programs, campaigns and asset projects.
The software vendors around these processes are all challenged to promote their benefits because the success of their messaging depends on where their potential buyer is the above model. Some market beyond their product capabilities using thought leadership marketing and others sometimes sell below their full capabilities in a modular fashion to get their foot in the door. I often hear these phrases in vendor briefings:
- “Well, we are quite a bit more than just a DAM solution”
- “We offer a DAM and a PIM module, most of our customers use us for both”
- “We have a PIM that helps our clients to provide a product experience”
- “Our system is really an MRM solution, but this year, most companies are just looking for DAM”.
I also work with a list of other vendors outside of marketing whose value proposition is more about what can be done with the content. A company like Empolis stresses the application of artificial intelligence to the content-data in order to accelerate the solving of support problems by call centers and service teams. The vendor Quanos has content solutions that can automatically create all those important accompanying documents for many products, such as instruction documents, data sheets and catalogues.
Another way of representing the management of information/data is the supply chain metaphor, where The Information Supply Chain (ISCM) would represent a chain of connected software solutions in parallel with the classic Supply Chain concept. The term ISCM was actually coined by the chief analyst, Temel Kahyaoglu, of an organisation called The Group of Analysts (TGOA), way back in 2008 here in Germany.
That makes sense because this area of software technology is heavy with German, Austrian and Swiss vendors successful with their products on a global basis. TGOA’s ISCM concept splits the processes, and resulting product categories, into: Information Procurement: Information Preparation; and Information Distribution.
TGOA also had several innovative ideas about how to represent products and services with their concept of the Market Performance Wheel. I am interested in following these methodologies further and will be working with Temel and TGOA now to further develop the concept as they relaunch their business anew. This is in addition to my work with Research in Action, B2B Marketing and other clients.
So … WATCH THIS SPACE.
Always Keeping You Informed ! Peter
Ich arbeite seid nunmehr fast 10 Jahren mit dem Marketing Lead Management Anbieter Marketo zusammen. Zu meiner Forrester Zeit, hatte ich die Gründer Phil Fernandez und Jon Miller regelmäßig in ihrem Büro in San Mateo getroffen, immer am Ende meinen Geschäftsreisen dort, bevor ich am Abend von San Francisco aus nach Hause flog.
Es freute mich daher sehr zu berichten, dass Marketo in meiner 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix report zu MLM, der am besten bewertete Markennamen war, trotz der Übernahme und Absorption durch Adobe vor einigen Jahren. Heutzutage ist eine starke Marke auch im B2B-Bereich zunehmend relevant.
Eine interessante Thematik, welche ich häufig mit der Marketo Geschäftsführung diskutieren musste, war ihre Europa-Strategie. Sie haben viele Jahre lang eine Handvoll Mitarbeiter (inklusive deutsch- und französischsprachigen) in Dublin, Irland stationiert, um von dort aus in anderen europäischen Ländern zu agieren. Ich bin überzeugt davon, dass dies ein Grund dafür war, dass Marketo Schwierigkeiten hatte im deutschen Markt Fuss zu fassen — wobei ich viele weitere Gründe dafür aufzählen könnte.
Mit der Übernahme durch Adobe, welche eine bedeutende Präsenz in Deutschland besitzt, ergaben sich für Marketo vielversprechende Möglichkeiten auf diesem Markt. Ich erhalte nun bereits seit einiger Zeit deutschsprachige E-Mails von “Marketo-Germany” und vernehme zunehmend Hinweis dafür, dass Marketo mehr beachtliche Verkäufe und Beratungsressourcen auf dem deutschen Markt verzeichnet.
Diese Woche weckte eine E-Mail von onlinemarketing.de mein Interesse, welche “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe” in der Signatur enthielt. Die Mail empfahl ein eBook, dass beschreibt wie erfolgreiche Unternehmen ihr Wachstum mit Hilfe von Marketo befeuern — präsentiert und in Aussicht gestellt in deutscher Sprache. Also habe ich es heruntergeladen und einen Blick hinein gewagt.
Welch Affront für interessierte deutsche B2B Marketer!
Das eBook ist ein Bericht, voll von amerikanischen Fallstudien, welche Wachstumszahlen zwischen 2014 und 2015 anführen — offensichtlich etwas veraltet. Ich fand sogar das englischsprachige Original, welches auf 2016 datiert ist — Sie haben also lediglich ein altes (unter Umständen obsoletes) eBook übersetzt, inklusive des Copyright-Statements auf der Rückseite … “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”
Nun, vielleicht war es absichtlich so geplannt. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (wer auch immer das genau ist) denkt womöglich, deutschen Marketern fehle die Reife ihrer US-amerikanischen Gegenstücke und zeigt ihnen deshalb Beispiele, welche 4-6 Jahre zurück liegen und deshalb für den heutigen deutschen Markt geeignet seien. Wie ich in den letzten Jahren wiederholt in Forschungsberichten und Blogs dargelegt habe, ist dieser Schluss schlichtweg nicht wahr: deutsches BSB Marketing ist nicht unterentwickelt, es ist anders.
Ich denke, dass dies lediglich ein fauler Marketingbeitrag von jemanden ist, der den deutschen Markt nicht kennt, Budget für Übersetzungen auszugeben hatte und die “quick and dirty”-Variante für das Projekt wählte. Die Ironie der Geschichte verzeichnet sich auch dadurch, dass man mit Adobe Experience Manager leser-spezifische Informationen “automatisch” auf einer Website wiedergeben kann. Team Marketo Engage (Adobe) sollte sich schämen, da Sie nicht in der Lage sind ihre eigenen Tools zu verwenden.
… wenn Adobe nur wüsste, was Adobe so weiß.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
I’ve been working with the Marketing Lead Management vendor Marketo for close to 10 years now. In my Forrester days, I would regularly stop off at their office in San Mateo and meet up with founders Phil Fernandez and Jon Millar before flying home in the evening from San Francisco.
So I was pleased to report that Marketo were named and rated the highest of all under that brandname in my 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix on MLM, regardless of the company being acquired and absorbed by Adobe several years ago. Brand counts for something in B2B these days.
One interesting discussion I always had with the Marketo executives was their strategy in Europe. For many years, they just parked some people (including German and French speakers) in Dublin, Ireland and marketed to European countries from there. I am convinced that this is one reason that Marketo struggled to sell well in Germany – though I could cite many others as well.
But the acquisition by Adobe, who do have a substantial presence in Germany, promised that this could change. I’ve been receiving German-language mailings from “Marketo Germany” for quite a while now and I do hear signals in the market that there are more substantial sales and consulting resources working with German companies.
So I was curious this week when I got an email, from onlinemarketing.de but signed off by “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe”, offering me an eBook describing how successful companies fuel their growth with Marketo – all presented and promised in German language. So I downloaded it and took a look.
What an insult to German B2B marketers. The eBook is a report full of American case studies citing growth numbers between 2014 and 2015 – so obviously old. I even found the English-language original which is dated 2016 – they just translated an old (ie. obsolete) eBook including translating the final copyright statement on the back page … “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”
Now this could be a considered fulfilment piece. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (whoever that is) may be thinking that German marketers are much less mature than their American counterparts and therefore showing examples that are 4-6 years back in time may be perfect for them here. But, as I have repeatedly written up in research reports and blogs over the last years, that conclusion is just not true: German B2B marketing is not underdeveloped, it is different.
But I think that this is just some lazy piece of marketing by someone who does not know the German market, had budget to spend on content translation and did a “quick and dirty” project. The irony is … with Adobe Experience Manager, you can render reader-specific information “automatically” on a website. Shame on you, Team Marketo Engage, Adobe, for not eating your own dog food !
Always keeping you informed! Peter
The concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has transformed the software industry. On the demand side, clients enjoy the new consumption model, with generally lower entry points, continual support in some cases, and a less capex-intensive approach overall. And the software/SaaS providers have learned that business success and profitable growth depends more as much on the full adoption of their solutions and renewals across their customer base as it does on winning net-new customers. So they invest heavily in Customer Success (in the form of onboarding and implementation services) and Customer Support resources to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a strong renewal rate.
Buyers also have their financial metrics and most business purchase decisions, including software, must be supported by some sort of financial analysis and forecast, using financial instruments such as:
Return-on-Investment (ROI) — Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) — Internal Rate of Return (IRR) —
Payback Period — Net Present Value (NPV)
In response, many software vendors routinely offer one or more tools to establish value during their sales process – tools such as an online ROI calculator or other spreadsheet templates. Or they help buyers to develop their own business case, perhaps by providing data collected from their existing client base. This was so important in the traditional software sales process that the vast majority of vendors even deploy a supplemental consulting resource to collect data and advise on the topic.
The irony is though, in my experience, most sales conversations still dwell and stay focused on the price of a product or subscription instead of the value. This is due to some serious muscle memory on both sides of the purchase decision:
- A business culture of sales quotas and discount models instead of a customer-first, value-based selling approach
- A focus from buyers on the cost budget they must invest instead of the value they are creating.
The other issue with most vendors’ ROI tools is that they are mostly focused on the initial investment approval process and tend to produce a one-off report. Anyway, collecting accurate data is quite difficult and so most of the ROI/TCO/IRR/NPV forecasts are some sort of estimate based upon many assumptions. Often, the document is completed on a pro-forma basis and not validated; and it is hardly ever audited at a later date on the actual outcomes of the project.
SaaS has also democratized software buying and many SaaS subscriptions are now signed up by individual contributors out of their expense budget – curiously, in these cases, IT or procurement only gets involved when the renewal phase is reached. But the SaaS spending honeymoon is likely ending. Chief Financial Officers are now turning their attention to these software expenditures and expect answers – answers in their taxonomy of return on investment, business outcomes, and revenue contribution.
Many SaaS providers tell me that the renewal negotiation has moved from a “shall we continue the project” discussion to an almost full-blown re-evaluation of the initial investment decision. Compliance guidance, or just good procurement management practice, is pushing buyers to evaluate a new shortlist in the renewal phase and each additional user group or functionality is treated as a brand new project.
The potential advantage for the current SaaS supplier is that they have, hopefully, provided a strong customer experience and that is well documented. Another is that the supplier is able to prove that their service has provided value to the organization:
- At the minimum, as measured against the forecasted benefits from the start of the project
- Ideally, based upon a continuous value management process.
I’ve known DecisionLink as a pioneer in the topic of customer value management for quite a while now, so I wasn’t surprised to hear they were interested in the above developments. They decided to find out how the SaaS industry is reacting to this new emphasis on ongoing value management and field a survey across numerous SaaS sales organizations. Then, they asked me to review and analyze the survey data and write up an insights report which you can see here.
I hope you will enjoy the report and it will help in your planning; whether on the demand or supply side. It also discusses lessons learned in the SaaS industry that will be useful for all sectors. Manufacturers of any type of goods can transform from a “product” orientation to a “solution” orientation by packaging up their “piece of hardware” and wrapping services, maintenance and support, upgrades, financing, monitoring, replenishment and other value-add services to an otherwise commoditized piece of hardware. For example, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that produce tractors, airplane engines and printers, are all delivering full solutions “as-a-service”.
Always keeping you informed! Peter.
A few years ago, we began to hear a curious cacophony around ABM. ABM stands for “account-based marketing,” a marketing concept that’s been around for decades. Now, it is being used in reams of promotional copy distributed by marketing consultancies, data service providers, and software automation vendors alike.
Marketing-led prophesies can sometimes be self-fulfilling. So now, B2B marketers everywhere are busy researching, launching, and conducting ABM initiatives — ostensibly to engage prospects at target accounts with personalized messaging, content, and offers. And as a growing number of product vendors, service providers, and event organizers enter this gold rush, B2B marketers are in danger of falling for the “fool’s gold” of unrealistic revenue windfalls and investment returns.
‘Tis time to take stock and sieve this topic more effectively. The musicians among us would prefer to hear more harmony than discord. But the truth is that ABM means different things to different people; a recent survey of 120 B2B marketers on their strategies and tactics shows:
“73% agreed that ABM is a term that lacks specific meaning and is used inconsistently today.”
The same survey showed that four out of five found ABM effectiveness falls short of their expectations. So much for years of marketing spend by all those vendors!
My research, in comparison, can be somewhat boring: I talk about the age of the customer and the need for customer obsession, and, of course, I tell my B2B marketing clients that customer obsession should be account-based if that aligns with their business strategy. This summer, I did some extensive research into the experience of B2B marketers with their ABM projects, and their ABM vendors, for my latest Vendor Selection Matrix report.
The Cacophony Continues! ABM continues to be the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. And there are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. The software market is estimated at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.
ABM is just B2B marketing done properly. I was presenting a webinar on this topic yesterday together with Jon Miller of Engagio and we both agreed that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys.
And the Top 20 ABM Vendors are….. The top five vendors rated by the users are (all listed alphabetically) 6sense, Engagio, InsideView, Jabmo, and MRP. The vendors Demandbase, Kwanzoo, Madison Logic, Marketo, and Zoominfo complete the top ten. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence. Here is the report in its public version.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
I’ve been researching the topic of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and find that 57% of businesses plan to invest in ABM software in the next 1-3 years. Business marketers in every industry must add ABM functionality to their marketing tech stack because their buyers only want communications relevant to their current business issues.
The ABM process is actually a long-established marketing/sales methodology in business services companies, where success depends so much on personal empathy and the relationship. So, they research the interests and needs of their target audiences and provide that “market intelligence” to their sellers or account managers.
The advent of digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and data analytics, now allows all B2B businesses to do ABM by leveraging collected behavioral and profile data on companies (accounts) or even individual buying decision-makers. ABM software enables marketers to channel personalized content to potential buyers. But first and foremost, ABM is a strategy and is applicable to all marketing channels.
ABM is currently the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. There are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. Still, I estimate the software market at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.
The term ABM is actually a misnomer, it should be Account Based Marketing and Selling (ABMS). The ABM process will only succeed if marketing collaborates with its sales counterparts to select the target accounts; share the important contact data; coordinate content distribution and distribute intent alerts. My survey found the second most important driver for ABM investment to be “enable sales to better understand their customers”. Some interview respondents pointed out that they have always done ABS but this is now supported better by their ABM project.
My prediction is that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys.
As usual, I will publish a Vendor Selection Matrix showing the ratings for the 20 most cited ABM vendors across our survey of 1500 practitioners. That will be on October 8th. The top ten vendors rated by the respondents are (all listed alphabetically): 6sense, Demandbase, Engagio, Kwanzoo, InsideView, Jabmo, Madison Logic, Adobe (Marketo), MRP, and Zoominfo. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence
My latest Vendor Selection Matrix reports focus 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.
I found some 40 active vendors offering DAM solutions, including open-source providers and vendors active only in their local markets. In 2018, the total global annual software license, maintenance and SaaS revenues for DAM totaled around $ 2.5 billion, growing annually at around 20%. Although
DAMis a mature technology, there is highdemand 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.
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. 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.
The top five vendors rated by the users are (listed alphabetically) Adobe, Bynder, censhare, Nuxeo, and Sitecore. The vendors CELUM, Cloudinary, Cognizant (yes, a service provider was named by the respondents), OpenText, and Widen complete the top ten. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Aprimo, Canto, Cumulus, Digizuite, Extensis, Media Valet, MediaBeacon, Northplains, Picturepark, and Wedia.
An abridged version of the report can be viewed here.
DAM VENDORS IN GERMANY
I also did a separate survey of 750 DAM practitioners in Germany and discovered that the top 15 vendors as selected by those respondents included just six non-German companies which is far fewer than usual. The top five vendors in Germany are (listed alphabetically) Adobe, Bynder, censhare, Eyebase (CMB), and Sitecore. The vendors Cavok (Peak-14), Canto, CELUM, Contentserv, and Nuxeo complete the top ten. In positions 11 thru 15 are vendors Aprimo, Coremedia, Eikona-Media, OpenText, plus open source vendors.
That report is available here. We have adopted a new format with this report and written it in both English and German – hope you like that.
Always keeping you informed! Peter
I was invited to speak at the 7thLead Management Summit, a two-day conference with about German 300 B2B marketers, held in Würzburg.
Although I wasn’t on till Day 2, I attended both days and really enjoyed the first keynote from Christian Schmitz, Professor for Sales Management at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. Bochum has three Profs on the Sales & Marketing chair and awards 15 master’s degrees in Sales Management annually (470 applications last year!). Their work is sponsored by over a dozen companies so its research and teaching
iscertainly not theoretical.
Of course, one reason I enjoyed Christian was because he started his “Digital Disruption in B2B Sales” talk with several citations from my work at Forrester. As well as naming the “Death of the Salesman” report (my recent blog), he showed other stats and predictions that I had published on the topic – it made my own introduction the next day so much easier.
We had a series of presentations by marketing practitioners. Some firms are already quite sophisticated in their lead management system while others are still in the experimental stage. Last October, 39% of 1500 firms I interviewed on Marketing Lead Management said they were planning their first automation project while 33% did have software in place but want to replace it – the German numbers were even higher for first-time projects.
But the most common phrase I registered, from speakers and from attendees I talked to was:
“I work at a company that is a worldwide leader in our market, but you probably have never heard of us.”
These are some of the 500-or-so“hidden champions”, the secret sauce of the German economy’s export success – mid-sized niche manufacturers located all over the German countryside. All these firms now face dramatic marketing challenges as the internet and digital disruption makes their world so much smaller. A great reason for marketing vendors to invest more time/resources in this audience (my talk listed the German GTM efforts
of leadingmarketing lead management software vendors – not a great commitment). Hubspot, Salesforce, Oracle-Eloqua, Marketo andAct-On do have some German sites. The most important local vendor is SC-Networks with Evonik followed by hundreds of E-Mail marketing platforms.
I also noted this quite telling and important statement made by a speaker as they discussed the necessary investments in a lead management project (doing effective customer research to record the buyer journey, creating content, installing and setting up software). She said:
“A print campaign would have been much more expensive and new-logo acquisition through sales people is the most expensive of all options.”
Now that is an interesting way to consider marketing automation ROI.
Always keeping you informed! Peter