• ABM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Martechopia exhibits event vendors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • Uncategorized

    2020 Vendor Landscapes

    Here are the 2020 vendor landscapes discovered in my global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.  

    Channel Marketing and Enablement (Nov 2019). ”Channel” being business partners not marketing channel. I also wrote reports focused on Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) based on this list. This topic is often also called Local Marketing or Distributed Marketing. 


    Marketing Lead Management (Mar 2020). MLM processes are deployed in marketing and/or sales operations departments to support the collection of unqualified contacts and opportunities from various sources such as: Direct mail or email responses; Database marketing programs; Other multichannel marketing campaigns; Offline interactions such as seminars and tradeshows; Social media contacts; and web pages.

    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 (May 2020). Marketing plays an increasingly active role in enabling the sales team, collaborating with their colleagues in Sales Operations with a robust set of sophisticated tools in an all-in-one platform in order to engage productively with knowledgeable buyers and customers.


    Digital Marketing Service Providers (Aug 2020). We wanted to ask marketing practitioners about the service providers they work with on their digital marketing projects. But what do we call this beast?

    Marketing Agency … Marketing Consultant … Marketing Systems Integrator (SI) … Media Agency … Full Service Agency … Digital Agency … Digital Experience Agency …

    Then I remembered posting a research report back in 2011 called “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP)” based on a consulting project I had just done. My Forrester colleagues didn’t like the term, but it led to many new engagements with both creative marketing agencies, who wanted to add more IT skills to their offering, and traditional IT-centric SIs wanting to expand their creative offerings. It worked for the survey and produced great results – but we also learned that these companies do little or no marketing about themselves, so the report had little traction. I was particularly pleased to see the provider that I based that 2011 Forrester report upon (I’ve known Valtech since they were a HP hardware reseller back in the 1990s) topping the survey results. 


    BTW – the above research revealed this: DMSP are absolutely awful at marketing themselves (“cobblers children”).

    Marketing Resource Management (Oct 2020). Marketing executives, as with any business executive, should have full visibility for the planning and effectiveness of all the business resources they deploy. The Marketing Resource Management (MRM) process manages all marketing assets and supports plans and budgets for marketing initiatives. As the topic is not fully deployed, we found a vendor landscape with a mix of vendors managing some asset types, those that manage projects resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.


    Customer Data Management (Dec 2020). The vendor landscape for Customer Data Management (CDM) is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data consolidation, collecting entire clickstreams, creating a “golden record” through identity resolution, enabling intelligent engagement, and identity tagging. The CDM challenge is different across the B2C and B2B spectrum, which we analyzed in the report at length. 


    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    Vendor Landscapes in 2021

    Through 2021 in my work with Research in Action, I discovered many separate vendor landscapes – ALL LISTED BELOW FOR EVERYBODY TO READ. I interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and talked to well over 200 marketing software vendors – as discussed in this blog

    The vendor-marketers often respond with something like: “strange, there are vendors on your list that I do not see in deals or think I compete with”. Well, that’s because I first describe a marketing process in my interviews and ask respondents which vendors they work with on that process. I try to avoid category terms invented by other analysts or product managers because the chances are marketing people don’t think in categories (that’s more of an IT-centric trait). Also, many vendors are very specific about their target market segment and we survey companies from mid-market to enterprise and across the globe and across all industries.  

    Here are the vendor landscapes discovered in those global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.  

    Marketing Event Management (Dec 2021). Selecting a Marketing Event Management (MEM) platform will probably be one of the more strategic decisions for CMOs in 2022. When many companies ran virtual events during the COVID-19 crisis, their immediate goal was to cover an already-planned live event with an online alternative as a work-around. Many executives made short-term decisions about the platform — optimization wasn’t yet part of their strategy, just getting it done. 

    ON24 (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZOOM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), MEETYOO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), 6CONNEX (#1 Price/Value), VFAIRS, NOTIFIED, CERTAIN, BIZZABO, ACCELEVENTS, KALTURA, AIRMEET, RAINFOCUS, CVENT, SPOTME, CADMIUMCD, SPLASH, HOPIN, CIRCA, MICROSOFT  

    Partner Management Automation (Oct 2021). This is my new label for what I (and many vendors) have traditionally called Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA). The digital world has now dramatically changed these processes and made the need for a broader technology platform (PMA) inevitable as companies deal with increasing volumes and types of partners. 

    IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), IMPACT.COM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS, MAGENTRIX (#1 Price/Value), WEBINFINITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CHANNEL MECHANICS, SALESFORCE, CHANNELEXPERTS (#1 Price/Value), CHANNELTIVITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER, COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, SPROUTLOUD, ORACLE

    Brand Content Management (August 2021). This vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: brand governance, brand portal, digital asset management, content management hubs, even marketing resource management. Hardly any vendor can cover all process within BCM, so companies are deploying software from more than one of the vendors appearing in this landscape – 76% of the respondents have more than one vendor and 24% have six or more systems installed.

    CENSHARE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), WEDIA (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMUSCLE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BYNDER (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMASTER, CELUM, OPTIMIZELY, SITECORE, ANSIRA, ADOBE, OPENTEXT, CAPITAL ID, ACOUSTIC, MARCOMCENTRAL  

    Product Information Management (May 2021). The recent acceleration of digital marketing and eCommerce investments has increased the need for marketers to be involved with this. So many companies must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and their 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, previously scoped only by IT and product management. 

    CONTENTSERV (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), RIVERSAND, INFORMATICA, STIBO SYSTEMS, SEMARCHY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), VIAMEDICI (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), PROFISEE (#1 Price/Value), TIBCO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), AKENEO, ATACCAMA, SAP, RELTIO, IBM, WINSHUTTLE, INRIVER

    Account-Based Marketing (Apr 2021). ABM is a purely B2B imperative – many people would even say B2B marketing is ABM. But others would promote Account-Based Marketing and Selling. The resulting vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data collection and analytics, targeted advertising, marketing campaign orchestration, enabling intelligent engagement, and even sales enablement. 


    Digital Experience Management (Feb 2021). This vendor landscape contains vendors with a wide variety of claims: web content management, content management systems, digital experience, through to digital commerce. The major enterprise application software vendors also offer their own DXM platform – the market feedback in report shows that their solutions are not appreciated though. The suitability of a DXM platform varies according to whether you are a medium-sized company or a large international enterprise. 

    ACQUIA (#1 Overall), E-SPIRIT, CROWNPEAK (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BLOOMREACH (#1 Customer Satisfaction), OPTIMIZELY (#1 Price/Value), COREMEDIA (#1 Price/Value), SITECORE, SQUIZ, ADOBE, IBEXA, CONTENTFUL, OPENTEXT, MAGNOLIA, SALESFORCE, ORACLE, SAP 

    Digital Asset Management (Jan 2021). Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology) – DAM projects mostly occur early in the maturity progression, but many companies then replace and/or consolidate their DAM projects at a later stage. The vendors listed here include some on the asset management function while others are more about the business processes around that. 

    SITECORE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), CENSHARE (#1 Price/Value), CLOUDINARY (#1 Price/Value), ADOBE, BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, CELUM, NUXEO, WIDEN, PICTUREPARK, CANTO, BYNDER, OPENTEXT, IMAGE RELAY, BRANDMASTER

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • ABM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    I asked about Marketing Automation Platforms and Got These Answers

    My research production cycle has me working on many projects at once, so, even though I’m still 

    … I am already looking at the data from a new survey on Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP). Plus, I am now approaching the vendors to arrange briefing so that I can publish in February 2022.  

    The MAP report is planned as an update to my previous reports on Marketing Lead Management. I’m seeing so many marketing organizations maturing from being a mere supplier of leads to Sales to a more strategic orchestrator of full lifecycle customer engagement, that I thought MLM was no longer suitable as the process title for this research. “MAP” was always the alternative term for MLM, though traditionally used only in N America and in the tech industry (I remember at Forrester we used the term “Lead-to-Revenue-Management”).  

    But … what is a Marketing Automation Platform nowadays?

    You may be perhaps surprised to hear I used “MAP” in the survey because I always stress that my research is about how businesses automate a marketing process or family of processes – as opposed to a product category. Well, in my many interviews, marketing people always talk about their “marketing platforms”, but I have noted they often mean different things in terms of which technology and processes. So, I was curious to see what marketers mean by MAP and which vendors turn up in the vendor landscape from our global survey of 1,500 business buyers. Well, here is that list of vendors (unprompted) that were associated with MAP by the survey respondents:

    • For completeness, also named in the survey, but not included in the report are ACTITO, ACTIVECAMPAIGN, ADESTRA, KEA, MAILCHIMP, UPLAND SOFTWARE, and ZOHO         

    So, the usual suspects but also a variety of product categories, as the classical industry analyst would say: Traditional MAP plus MRM, ABM, Low-Code Generation, and even some “Marketing Cloud” (whatever that is) providers. 


    Expectations of a MAP have changed in the last 18 months. Look at these highlights from the survey questions:

    • 87% of the respondents said they were re-assessing their current MAP
    • One of the top drivers for MAP investment was “Measuring marketing ROI and performance”
    • 46% said “not getting the promised return from our MAP” as a BIG challenge (not just a challenge)

    There is much more data like that for me to chew over in the next weeks. The respondents also scored the vendors they know about based on criteria around product, satisfaction, innovation, vision, etc.  After the briefings, I get to add my POV for some criteria and then profile them in the context of meeting the needs of a MAP project. 

    I am looking forward to my briefing meetings with all the vendors over the next months. As usual, feel free to contact me if you’d like to hear more about this research. It will come out in February 2002. 

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • ABM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    ABM is now Fundamental

    This week, the B2B Marketing team published my sixth Premium Report. Through the year, I research and write a report for each of the eight hives within Propolis, their community platform, which launched in January this year and has well over 1,000 members.

    Propolis is a digital community for B2B marketers, and one which we all believe will become the new home for the B2B marketing industry. By design, Propolis has a diverse membership; not just executives but often entire teams of marketers from leading global organisations based across the globe because it deals with so many aspects and facets of B2B marketing.  

    The naming is also quite elegant. Propolis is a resin that bees use to both build and protect their hives –  a perfect metaphor for a buzzing, vibrant and productive community. 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. 

    Here is the opening page of the report. If you would like to see more, you need to join the B2B Marketing community, where you will see an abridged version of the report, subscribe to Propolis for the full version. …. Or talk to me (see below). (The British English spelling is deliberately so.)

    ABM is now fundamental

    The last two years have seen a series of shifts in B2B marketing: a shift to more digital marketing channels; a shift to more customer-centric or even personalised content marketing; and a definite shift to more marketing programmes based upon the needs of accounts, as opposed to individual contacts. In parallel, because of the growing popularity of ecommerce in B2B buying, some elements of the selling process have undergone a tectonic shift in B2B businesses, away from the sales organisation and towards digital programmes.

    During the disruption caused by Covid-19, business buyer profiles were changing within organisations, with new members increasing the size and composition of buyer teams.

    Marketers were having to target different persona configurations, and adjust to the increasing importance of digital channels. Those companies who did not have an established ABM strategy found that they were not quick enough to pick up changes in the behaviour and preferences of their target customers.

    So, there is a clear reaction across many B2B sectors to planning new investments in ABM technologies, such as predictive analytics, advertising retargeting and account-profiling. The most-early adopters of ABM, and therefore the most experienced practitioners, are to be found in the services and software industries. But now these technologies can also be found in the B2B financial services and healthcare companies and, increasingly, across the manufacturing sectors.

    Most B2B businesses will continue to reform to a post-Covid world driven by societal change, resulting in new working practices and economic and market shifts – all of which have dramatically altered both customer behaviour and their expectations. The overall importance of customer relationships based upon deep insights into the specific needs of each target account has become an overriding critical success factor for marketing and sales. This will continue to accelerate additional ABM investments in new processes, education and technology.

    The focus for this Growth Hive report is to complement the ABM Census and document a series of best practices and lessons-learned from more experienced ABM practitioners. It will also provide actionable advice on improving ABM programmes, using the B2B Marketing Maturity Assessment for ABM as a basis. This year’s Growth Hive report has a clear focus on ABM for the reasons described above.

    In order to build this report, we held long interviews with several senior B2B marketers for deep insight into the topic. All are highly experienced ABM practitioners, so we have taken the liberty of setting the report title accordingly: “Mastering ABM – Lessons Learned from Several Masters of ABM”. As you will see, these executives delivered a wealth of advice, so they will take the main stage throughout the report. ………

    B2B Marketing also held its ABM Forum in London; a hybrid event with a mix of conference center presence and online experience. I presented an overview of the vendor landscape and sourced both my own Vendor Selection Matrixtm report from April and other analyst reports. I must say, I have been kept busy since April talking about ABM. The pandemic has done two things to accelerate interest in the method:

    1. Expose to those marketing organisations without ABM, that they do not know enough about their customers to be relevant and helpful
    2. Helped sellers and sales executives how useful their colleagues in Marketing can be with good customer research and insights

    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 

  • Uncategorized

    ABM: From Cacophony To Euphony

    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

  • ABM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Uncategorized,  Vendor Selection

    Report on ABM Coming

    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