Web Content Management (WCM) was the darling technology of the late 1990s. It was positioned as a tool to help IT overcome the complexities of hand-coding web pages and publishing them to the web. The use case for WCM has changed. It is now a marketing tool.

WCM enables marketers to effectively create content and push it to the web. More importantly, WCM solutions allows marketers to create and test content and to monitor how users interact with a web presence. This interaction is key for enabling things like prospect conversion and upsell. In some cases, the website can be customized on-the-fly to appeal to particular customer/prospect desires or expectations.

Of course, with increased complexity comes increased maintenance. IT and marketing professionals must work closely to ensure that the WCM solution is delivering to expectations. The key challenges with WCM typically aren’t related to traditional IT issues. Info-Tech data indicates that enterprises have a good handle on concerns like the usability or the adequacy of various tools. The real concerns include working with marketing to actually discovery up-sell opportunities and convert prospects. These are traditionally marketing issues but they go right to the heart of WCM success.

Recent changes in web user behavior is also forcing people to rethink their WCM and web marketing strategies. Social and mobile are particularly thorny issues. Social content, for example, can give marketers unique tells about a user’s preferences and interests. Mobile, meanwhile, presents challenges for both content delivery and user profiling since a mobile device can provide insights on user location and preferences.

These emerging issues speak to the need for integration. WCM is no longer a completely stand-alone system. IT professionals must consider integration with different tools for customer management, lead management, and social media management.

For more information on WCM, see Info-Tech’s recently published Develop a Web Content Management Strategy. Info-Tech also offers two Vendor Landscapes on the topic: VL: Web Content Management and VL: Web Experience Management.

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Everyone is engaged in online activities that are leaving behind more and more nuggets of information that are critical in order to build a comprehensive profile of people as prospective buyers. Web 1.0 data from website visits and search engines continues to grow and Web 2.0 data from social and mobile is growing at a faster pace than Web 1.0 data originally did. The activities taking place that lead to buy decisions are happening beyond the sphere of normal prospecting for both B2C and B2B leads and are even requiring marketers to identify and nurture influencers along with pure prospects. Welcome to the social world of marketing.LMA

LMA platforms have become an essential component of any sales capability, constantly collecting, updating and analyzing prospect profile to ensure the Sales organization is not wasting their time on poor leads.

Most of the LMA vendors in the market provide all the basics and necessities you will need to increase your lead base and generate revenues almost immediately. However, since it is 2012, social media and mobile marketing are “game changers” and will become table stakes within the next two years. The problem is that many vendors today are not providing the best social and mobile tools for your marketing department.

For both B2B and B2C prospecting, you need a LMA platform that can pull in social profile and activity data, engage with the social customer, by writing to Facebook pages, tweeting to improve brand awareness, and reloading your lead database with the best leads from all social channels. Mining social data for lead management also requires identifying influencers who convince others to buy. In the social cloud, marketing to influencers can be as important as marketing directly to prospective buyers. And every buyer becomes an influencer in the social cloud.

In terms of mobile, requirements come from two different needs: the need to market to prospects via mobile channels and the need for marketing professionals to monitor and engage in prospect campaigns from mobile devices. Mobile email is not good enough. Taking advantage of geo-location data as an input to prospect scores and sending real-time offers to prospects via mobile channels is an important emerging opportunity for marketers. However we found support for mobile channels – beyond mobile email – was a serious gap in the capabilities of LMA market layers. Tablets as marketing application UIs, are becoming increasingly important for marketing managers who want to delve into campaign progress or check out reports on dashboards at anytime and from anywhere. Tablets are especially good at displaying interactive campaign dashboards. However again we found the LMA market to lagging in this mobile sue case as well, with few tablet apps optimized for touch devices, instead vendors frequently claimed that their existing apps would work on any browser.

In conducting this research, we also found a strong incentive for IT to support LMA adoption. Our clients reported that IT spends a large of amount of time on data input, data scrubbing, data queries/segmentation and campaign execution, on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Organizations that had implemented an LMA system reported a significant reduction in reliance on IT resources.

During the research project, we also found that LMA vendors are overlapping with pure email marketing vendors and are also supporting more channels and features that are warranting the attention of larger, comprehensive Marketing Automation (MA) suite vendors. MA vendors of course also provide full LMA capabilities and much more. For this reason, we have built an assessment tool for organizations to use to ensure they are buying the right things from the right market.

Overall, we expect LMA to continue to add value to organizations, especially those targeting products and services to other businesses, as the size and complexity of available prospect data continues to rise, impacting lead scoring and nurturing. But expect to see more convergence among LMA, MA and Email Marketing vendors.

For more information about LMA strategy and vendors, see Vendor Landscape Plus: Lead Management Automation Platforms.

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Lead Management Automation provides IT managers with an opportunity to increase company revenue by over 15%.

Supporting the Marketing department can seem like a never ending list of constantly changing requirements. Keeping up to date with every new technology is tough. Utilize this solution set to get up-to-speed on the emerging space of Lead Management Automation (LMA).

This research helps you understand how LMA can:

  • Reduce low value repetitive IT tasks;
  • Provide Marketing with new capabilities;
  • Improve the  IT departments reputation as a business enabler and innovator; and
  • Increase company revenue.

Our Advice

Organizations that do NOT leverage LMA are simply at a competitive disadvantage.

LMA provides one of the few technology projects with the capability and opportunity to increase company-wide revenue. Provide your marketing department with a toolset that enables new capabilities and increases Marketing self-sufficiency while reducing IT time spent on low value, repetitive tasks.

For CIO’s, who are hungry to get invited to the boardroom table to help drive business innovation, LMA provides an unparalleled opportunity. Provide the required information to evaluate the costs, benefits and risks of LMA for your organization.

Help IT build a strong relationship with Marketing and Sales, and provide these groups with the technology tools needed to grow the business.

Associated Research

1. Learn about Lead Management Automation.

Understand how LMA can benefit the enterprise.

2. Understand the costs, benefits, and risks of LMA.

Build the case for lead management automation.

3. Develop an LMA strategy.

Help the marketing team assess how LMA can help your organization.

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