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

    BCM 2021 Report Preview

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

    BCM is increasingly important to Marketers

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Consolidation is the name of the game

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

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

    And the winning vendors are ….

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

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

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    DAM is Still Very European

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

    The Digital Asset Management (DAM) process is the storage and management of digital files, in particular digital media files like graphics, videos, sound and text components needed for digital content production. DAM systems can catalog and retrieve the digital assets for various types of users working in marketing, product management, sales, service, design, and manufacturing departments of an organization. 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • 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: 


    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. 


    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. 


    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): 


    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

  • Channel Marketing and Enablement,  Marketing Lead Management,  Partner Management Automation,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Wettbewerbslandschaften in 2020

    Im Laufe des letzten Jahres habe ich in Rahmen meiner Arbeit mit Research in Action viele verschiedene Anbieter-Wettbewerbslandschaften aufgedeckt – DIESE WERDEN IM FOLGENDEN AUFGELISTET. Ich habe Tausende von Marketer zur Automatisierung ihrer Geschäftsprozesse befragt und mit fast 200 Marketing-Software-Anbietern gesprochen. 2020 wurde ich von deutlich mehr Anbietern gebrieft als im Vorjahr, als ich meine Tätigkeit als unabhängiger Analyst anfing. Dies ist sehr erfreulich aber verlängert dadurch auch die jeweiligen Projekte.

    Die Marketing-Fachleute einiger Anbieter trafen häufig Aussagen oft wie: „Merkwürdig, dass Anbieter auf ihrer Liste sind, welche ich selten wahrnehme und gegen welche ich meiner Meinung nach nicht konkurriere“. Dies begründet sich darin, da ich zu Beginn des Interviews einen Marketingprozess beschreibe und die Teilnehmenden dazu befrage, mit welchen Anbietern sie bei diesem Prozess zusammenarbeiten. Ich versuche hierbei Kategorie-Begriffe zu vermeiden, welche von anderen Analysten oder Produktmanagern erfunden wurden, da Vermarkter in der Regel nicht in diesen Kategorien denken (dies ist eher eine IT-zentrische Eigenschaft). Wir befragten weltweit Unternehmen vom Mittelstand bis zum Großunternehmen, während einige Anbieter ein sehr spezifisches Zielmarktsegment haben. 

    Die Herausforderung für Software-Vermarkter bleibt jedoch bestehen: Fokussiert man sich auf hervorragende Leistung in einer Kategorie oder darauf, von Marketing Fachleuten gefunden zu werden, welche Lösungen für Fragen der Automatisierung suchen. Manchmal können sich diese Ziele und Taktiken sogar gegenseitig behindern. 

    Im Folgenden werden die Vendor Landscapes (Anbieter-Wettbewerbslandschaften) dargestellt, welche im Rahmen meiner globalen prozessorientierten Umfragen gefunden wurden. Allerdings, habe ich auch ab und zu, den deutschen Markt auch untersucht. Die Anbieter sind nach ihrem jeweiligen Ranking in der Grafik “Vendor Selection Matrix” aufgelistet.  

    Channel Marketing und Enablement (Nov 2019). “Channel” bedeutet in diesem Fall Geschäftspartner, nicht Marketingkanal. Basierend auf dieser Liste habe ich auch Berichte zu den Themen Partner Relationship Management (PRM) und Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) verfasst. Dieses Thema wird häufig auch Local Marketing gennant. Das dramatischste Feedback, welches ich für diesen Bericht erhielt war die Drohung eines Anbieters, mich zu verklagen. Dieser wehrte sich dagegen nicht auf Platz 1 gelistet zu sein und behauptete, dass er mir (oder seinen 124 Kunden) nicht die Erlaubnis gegeben habe, über ihn zu sprechen/schreiben.


    Marketing Lead Management (März 2020). Oft einfach als Marketing-Automation genannt, MLM Prozesse werden in Marketing- und Vertriebsabteilungen angewandt, um die Sammlung von unqualifizierten Kontakten zu unterstützen. Darüber Hinaus beschreiben Sie die Möglichkeiten von diversen Marketing Werkzeugen wie direkter Post oder Email Antwort, Datenbank Marketing Programmen, anderen mehrkanaligen Marketingkampagnen, Offline Interaktionen wie Seminare oder Messen, Kontakte aus Sozialen Medien und Web-Seiten. 

    MARKETO (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ACT-ON (#1 Price/Value), HUBSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CREATIO (#1 Price/Value), ORACLE, SAP, ADOBE, SALESFORCE, RIGHT-ON INTERACTIVE, PEGASYSTEMS, EVERGAGE, SALESFUSION, SUGARCRM, ZOHO, CRM NEXT  

    Sales Engagement Management (Mai 2020). Marketing spielt eine zunehmend aktive Rolle in der Befähigung des Vertriebspersonals, welche durch die robusten Werkzeugen einer All-in-one Plattform möglichst produktiv mit kompetenten Käufern und Kunden interagieren können.


    Digitale Marketing-Service-Provider (Aug 2020). Wir wollten befragen Marketing-Fachleute nach den Dienstleistern, mit denen sie bei ihren digitalen Marketing-Projekten zusammenarbeiten. 

    …aber wie nennen wir dieses Ungetüm? Marketing-Agentur … Marketing-Berater … Marketing-Systemintegrator (SI) … Media-Agentur … Full-Service-Agentur … Digital-Agentur … Digital Experience Agency …

    Dann erinnerte ich mich an einen Forschungsbericht, den ich im Jahr 2011 veröffentlichte mit dem Titel “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP) – Der Aufstieg der Digitalen Marketing Service Provider“. Dieser basiert auf einem Beratungsprojekt, welches ich gerade durchgeführt hatte. Meinen Forrester Kollegen gefiel diese Terminologie zum Teil nicht, jedoch erhielt ich daraufhin viele Anfragen und Aufträge von Marketing-Agenturen, welche mehr IT-Fertigkeiten in ihrem Angebot anstrebten und traditionellen Systemintegratoren, welche ihr kreatives Angebot erweitern wollten. Die Bezeichnung DMSP reichte für diese Befragung aus und lieferte zufriedenstellende Ergebnisse – wir lernten jedoch auch, dass diese DMSP’s wenig oder gar kein eigenes Marketing betrieben, so dass der Bericht vergleichsweise wenig Resonanz erhielt. Außerdem ist zu erwähnen, dass ich besonders erfreut war zu sehen, dass der Anbieter VALTECH, auf welchen ich den Forrester-Bericht von 2011 stützte, die Umfrageergebnisse anführt (VALTECH kenne ichseit sie in den 1990er Jahren ein HP-Hardware-Reseller waren).


    Übrigens – Die obige Recherche ergab: Das Selbstmarketing von DMSP’s ist noch sehr dürftig und ausbaubar.

    Digitale Marketing-Service-Provider – Deutschland (Sep 2020). Hier ist die Liste aus den deutsche Erhebung


    Marketing Resource Management (Okt. 2020). Marketing-Führungskräfte sollten, wie alle Führungskräfte, stets den vollen Überblick über die Planung und Effektivität aller von ihnen eingesetzten Unternehmensressourcen haben. Der Marketing Ressourcen Management (MRM) Prozess verwaltet alle Marketing-Assets (Vermögenswerte) und hilft bei der Entwicklung von Plänen und Budgets für Marketinginitiativen. Da dieses Thema noch nicht vollständig ausgereift und implementiert ist, entdeckten wir eine Wettbewerbslandschaft mit einer Mischung aus verschiedensten Anbietern. Manche Anbieter verwalten einige Typen von Vermögenswerten, andere verwalten Ressourcen für bestimmte Projekte und eine dritte Gruppe von Anbietern verwaltet das gesamte Spektrum an digitalen Vermögenswerten, Talenten, Budgets und Projekten.


    Kundendaten-Management (Dez. 2020). Die Wettbewerbslandschaft für Kundendaten (Customer-Data) Management (CDM) besteht aus einer bunten Mischung von Anbietern mit den unterschiedlichsten Behauptungen zum Nutzen ihrer Dienstleistungen: Datenkonsolidierung, Sammeln ganzer Clickstreams, Erstellen eines “Golden Record” durch Identitätsauflösung, Ermöglichen von intelligentem Engagement und Identitäts-Tagging. Zudem unterscheiden sich die Herausforderungen eines effektiven Kundendaten-Managements vom B2C- zum B2B-Spektrum, was in dem Bericht ausführlich analysiert und beschrieben wird. 


    Zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren, Feedback und Kommentare gerne an poneill@marchnata.eu

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • ABM,  DAM,  Marketing Lead Management,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Data (ABM) now drives B2B Marketing

    My work on several projects in the last months has led me to this one clear conclusion. I recently issued a report on Customer Data Management profiling the Top 15 vendors automating this process for marketers in many different types of companies, including B2B organizations. I have also done extensive surveys and practitioner interviews for B2B marketing for their Propolis community on martech, marketing operations and customer experience. And next month, I’ll publish my report on Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Heh! I’ve been so active that Onalytica now list me as a data analyst

    It is clear that technology can now “read” a marketplace and name exactly those companies that are “in market” for a certain topic (ie. have a budget and firm intent to invest). And it can produce a profile of all decision makers in each company (account), documenting exactly that person’s decision criteria and/or preferences plus, perhaps, their recent research history (what other offers are they considering, how much information do they have). 

    That does make me shudder a little – that was exactly what I did as a field marketer personality, always in contact with vendors and users alike, working for HP Germany during the 1990s.

    It now looks like data now rules the roost in B2B marketing. Success no longer depends on creative events or content, or persuasion by charismatic sales people, marketing success is now data-driven. 

    Here is what my ABM report will say……

    ABM has spread across all B2B sectors

    ABM technologies were first adopted in the software industry but are now being deployed in financial services, healthcare and now, increasingly, in the health care and manufacturing sectors. The trend towards digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and general data analytics, and now accelerated by the COVID-19 business environment, has motivated all these B2B businesses to collect as much behavioral and profile data about individual buying decision makers as possible, and then to:

    • Post localized contextual content marketing programs to profiled visitors
    • Send personalized/specific digital marketing content to individual prospects
    • Capture prospects who may have left the website unsatisfied by re-targeting 
    • Gather and calculate “propensity to buy” data and provide this data to sellers 
    • Aggregate digital behavior across a buying team to provide guidance to marketing and sales.

    ABM platforms help marketing to play its role in revenue success. Leading-edge CMOs now favor an ecommerce model and focus on customer experience, all of which requires an ABM approach. Even digital advertising has become fundamental for B2B marketers, and ABM software supports ad-targeting by either providing native advertising capabilities or at least enabling integrations with partner solutions.

    ABM is how B2B marketing should be

    B2B sellers work at an account level and most B2B projects involve large and complex buying centers and decision processes. So mature B2B CMOs now focus on account-based work, developing and maintaining engagement with important contacts in target accounts. Account-based marketing and selling is how B2B marketing should work, mixing digital and human communication. 

    ABM platforms could become the new marketing backbone system

    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 it is a highly-active playing field for venture capital investors. The leading ABM platform vendors have product roadmaps to expand into a wide range of engagement channels, including direct mail and campaign personalization. Currently, most users connect ABM systems to the (older) incumbent marketing lead management (MLM) platform to cover that. But most MLMs have been slow to embrace ABM so, as martech budgets tighten, ABM urgency could drive MLM vendors out of their market. 

    The ABM nomenclature will fade out in the near-term. 

    B2B marketing will end up being 100% account-based in its digital marketing, informed and optimized by data collected about those accounts. This will remove the need for the ABM label – the new system of engagement is, essentially, the (ABM-based) B2B marketing cloud with data as the hub: an account-based go-to-market platform. 

    We plan to publish the report on April 12th. I can reveal now that the global survey of 1,500 practitioners scored these vendors as Market Leaders (a score of over 4/5 on both the Strategy and Execution axis): 6SENSE, DEMANDBASE, KWANZOO, JABMO, MADISON LOGIC, MRP, TECHTARGET, and TERMINUS.

    Contact me if you’d like to hear more about this ABM research, including the other ABM vendors selected and scored in our global survey of 1,500 practitioners.  

    Always keeping you informed !  Peter

  • ABM,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection,  Web Experience Management

    Propensity to Switch DAM, DX and ABM Vendors

    I have collected several new Recommendation Index (RI) values from my recent Vendor Selection MatrixTMreports on Digital Asset Management, Digital Experience Management and ABM. Remember, a few months ago I suggested that this is a significant leading-indicator of long-term customer satisfaction but also, more importantly, of the propensity to switch vendors.

    (picture source: iStock.com/PrettyVectors

    The RI (the simple percentage of respondents who answer “yes, I would recommend this vendor to my peers in this market”) encapsulates a longer- term, more strategic element of customer satisfaction – essentially it is a measurement of customer loyalty. It is for that reason that we have included the points earned through the RI score in our Strategy axis on the matrix and give it a significant 25% weighting.

    The data below shows that the vendors listed in our Digital Asset Management (DAM) landscape include several that should feel threatened by a propensity to switch. Our survey also showed that 51% of the respondents were planning to consolidate their many and disparate DAM vendors – always a moment of truth for a supplier if your client is not really satisfied with their overall experience. 

    Next week we will publish our report on the top Digital Experience Management (DXM) vendors as rated by our global survey of 1,500 practitioners. There is, indeed, already a lot of churn in this market as businesses race to replace their older web content management platforms with a more capable and holistic DXM solution. The large enterprise application software vendors may have provided “good-enough” platforms till now, but most businesses driving and accelerating their digital transformation are more likely to turn to specialist providers in the future. 

    Here is a sneak preview of my next report, on Account-Based Marketing which is coming out later this quarter. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the 90s but four are below the 95% number that I would set as an alert.  

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory but an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is already a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    If you want to see further tables, The first blog last year had data for Marketing Lead Management, Sales Engagement Management, and Marketing Resource Management vendors. The second post shows data on Customer Data Management vendors.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    I am an Influencer

    One of the challenges working as an independent analyst is explaining what I do now – especially in a private environment. When you work for a company, people associate your work easily with whatever that firm is famous for. Now I need to much more explaining about the potential outcome of my work. 

    I actually considered adopting the persona of a “B2B Marketing Influencer” when I started out … but got nervous of people seeing me as some sort of blogger testing perfumes, clothes or something else.  

    But that role is, slowly but surely, becoming important in our business world. When I hear myself describe the “market impact” of our Vendor Selection MatrixTM reports to software vendors (“We work with a panel of 100,000 marketing decision-makers”; “Our reports get 15,000 clicks on average”), perhaps that is the role that I fulfilling now. These reports are “influential” because we combine real feedback from 1,500 practitioners and with a seasoned Analyst’s point of view and experience. 

    The software vendor Onalytica offers an influencer marketing software platform that connects brands with topical influencer communities and helps them to scale and structure influencer programs globally. Many of the brands working with this software are B2B vendors and providers. This is what they have to say in their 2019 The Complete Guide to Industry and B2B Influencer Marketing :

    Influencer Marketing is now at a point where we no longer feel the need to explain why it is important, it  has become an integral strategy for Industry and B2B Marketing. Influencer Marketing was voted the 2nd

    most important trend for B2B Marketing according to research released by Raconteur in July 2019 interviewing 214 senior B2B Marketers across North America and Europe.

    Add to this that WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing) has been around for as long as humans have. When we have a positive or negative experience with a brand, we are inclined to share that with our peers.

    WOMM results in 5x more sales than paid media and people are 90% more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s recommendation. Influencer Marketing is no longer the “nice to have”, but rather the “must have” strategy.  

    Onalytica cleverly beats their own drum by periodically publishing a Who is Who report for a certain topic where they discover the most influential experts using Onalytica’s 4 Rs methodology (Reach, Resonance, Relevance and Reference) based upon quantitative data pulled through LinkedIn, Twitter, Personal Blogs, YouTube, Podcast, and Forbes channels, plus qualitative data pulled by their insights and analytics team to  capture offline influence. All these influential experts are categorised by influencer persona, the sector they work in, their role within that sector, and more from a curated database of 1m+ influencers.

    That sounds like powerful stuff. Which is why I was so pleased to be included in their latest report on Data Management. My Vendor Selection MatrixTM on Customer Data Management came out in December and I seem to have hit on a hot topic at exactly the right time. As well as the more harmless self-publicity thrusts I make via Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Research in Action and marchnata websites, there is a hive of dialogue going on with both vendors and buyers, which their tools picked up. I also published a report on Digital Asset Management in January which is having a similar impact. Somehow, that got me into the Analysts category of the top Influencers for the topic. I am listed there among illustrious full-time experts (remember, I cover various topics within marketing process automation during the year) working for the giants of my industry. 

    I have never briefed Onalytica, not even talked to them. When they published the report, they could not even email me but had to send out a Twitter post. 

    Here below is the page where I feature. The full report (free but gated) is available here

    The Who’s Who in Data Management page which includes me

    Always Keeping You Informed !  Peter