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Is that vendor a zombie?



Is that vendor a zombie?

In the wake of the first dot-com bubble bursting twenty years ago, Forbes published an excellent piece called “The Undead.” It profiled some struggling enterprise software vendors sitting on large piles of cash because they IPO’d at pumped-up valuations just before the 2001 crash. Most of them did end up burning through the rest of their cash and getting sold off, though it took a while for some of them to depart the marketplace.

A new generation of zombies

I won’t opine here about whether we’re living through another tech bubble, but as a martech evaluation firm, at Real Story Group, we do see quite a few “zombie” vendors: not quite dead, but not fully alive either. As a tech customer and martech leader, you’ll want to be on the alert for zombies in your portfolio.

Two decades later, the situation has changed a bit. I see a new generation of undead tools and vendors, less because they bulge with IPO cash, but rather because they’ve aged to a point where they subsist off profitable maintenance streams (usually supporting legacy systems in environments where customers cannot easily switch out) while keeping R&D to a minimum. In some cases, cloud-based delivery models help sustain younger zombies because they can more readily marginalize their expenses relative to revenues.

This potentially becomes an important consideration because major industry analyst firms typically lag in their vendor assessments and can stamp an imprimatur of vitality to an otherwise declining player. Consider the case of the Interwoven content management suite—one of Forbes’s “undead” in 2002. Forrester and Gartner lauded the firm for more than a decade, even as licensees labored under mountains of technical debt. Most of the Interwoven portfolio still wheezes away at OpenText, its fourth domicile in ten years.

Senior living options

OpenText itself is a kind of multi-tiered senior community for aging software platforms. It purchases older solutions, sets them up with independent apartments, then transitions them through assisted living, hospice care, and on to what the tech community quaintly calls “sunsetting.”

OpenText is not alone. This business model has also attracted the likes of Verint and Upland in the martech/customer experience space. Typically these roll-up vendors will have one or two home-grown platforms, but mostly they purchase older toolsets on the cheap, cobble them into “solution bundles,” limit future development to bug fixes and centralize back-office functions.

This model is great for investors, and in some cases, you, the licensee as well. Any high-functioning community needs to deal with aging members. Just understand that — despite what a sales rep may tell you — their platform is not going to innovate substantially and will increasingly struggle to integrate with newer parts of your stack. At best, you sustain very good support.

Other models

Some zombies carry on solo. Consider the former IBM martech portfolio now gamely trying to survive at Acoustic and HCL. Or Sitecore’s flagship “Experience Platform” web content management system, which has been given a three-year prognosis. These are platforms you leave, not license afresh.

Meanwhile, some open source projects subsist on an “age-in-place” strategy, where their communities keep them alive, albeit not very active in the world.

And what about younger zombies? They’re out there, sometimes with structural problems hidden behind venture-boosted coffers. Tell-tale signs include declining volumes of new licensees, reduced headcounts, and higher-than-average churn rates. Even in the vibrant customer data platform market, where RSG evaluates nearly three-dozen platforms, some vendors have plateaued. Note Upland recently acquired CDP vendor BlueVenn. You’ll see more in the next few years.

In nearly all cases, though, the vendor tends not to disappear entirely, and this gives you time, typically measured in years, to adapt and respond.

What you should do

Most martech zombies aren’t lethal and are unlikely to eat your stack. Though left unaddressed, they can create an increasing drain on your resources—and staff morale.

When you identify a zombie, you typically need not rush to the exits, but you do need a replacement plan for the long run. One key consideration is where the solution fits in your “Martech Mall.” If it’s a boutique solution, perhaps adequate support (if you can get it) is all you need right now while you focus martech innovation on more vibrant platforms.

On the other hand, for an anchor platform in your martech mall, you’ll want to make active plans to replace any zombie. And under no circumstance should you license a zombie platform for a new implementation. What’s been your experience? Let’s discuss on LinkedIn.

Real Story on MarTech is presented through a partnership between MarTech and Real Story Group, a vendor-agnostic research and advisory organization that helps enterprises make better marketing technology stack and platform selection decisions. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Tony Byrne is founder of Real Story Group, a technology analyst firm. RSG evaluates martech and CX technologies to assist enterprise tech stack owners. To maintain its strict independence, RSG only works with enterprise technology buyers and never advises vendors.

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How is the Blockchain Shaping the Digital Marketing Automation Tools?



How is the Blockchain Shaping the Digital Marketing Automation Tools?

It is no doubt that most of us are aware of what blockchain is and how it has shaped the future of digital marketing automation. If you are reading this article, then you might be wondering what exactly is the difference between blockchain and digital marketing automation?

What Exactly Is Blockchain? The blockchain is a decentralized ledger system that records transactions between two parties. A block stores information about previous transactions, so each block contains a link to its previous transaction’s record to prevent double-spending.

The users will have their copy of the record on their device so they can keep track of all the changes made in that particular chain by any member of the network.

The Blockchain Is Creating a New World

The blockchain is a new technology. It’s based on the idea of decentralization and peer-to-peer networks, which makes it different from traditional centralized systems. Blockchain technology uses a distributed ledger to store information, making it impossible for a hacker to modify the data stored on the network.

The blockchain can get used in many ways, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. But it also has applications in other industries such as digital marketing automation tools where marketers need fast access to information about their customers or prospects without having to go through an intermediary (like Google Analytics).

Some companies have started using this technology as part of their product offerings by providing users with access to their data through APIs that they can use however they wish (for example: visualizing trends over time).

How Digital Marketing Automation Tools Work

Digital marketing automation tools work by task automation like sending emails, creating landing pages, and tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns. These tools can help you save time and money by automating tasks.

For example, let’s say you want to reach out to more leads on LinkedIn but you don’t have time to send them an email every day. With a digital marketing automation tool like HubSpot or Marketo, you can set up an autoresponder sequence that will send out emails automatically so all you have to do is check-in once in a while and make sure everything’s running smoothly.

Prepare for the Future of the Blockchain Marketing

As technology continues to evolve, the blockchain will play a pivotal role in digital marketing. This is because it offers a secure and reliable platform that marketers can use to communicate with their audience. In addition, it also provides better transparency than traditional marketing methods because of its decentralized nature.

Below are some of the ways that marketers can benefit from using blockchain:

  • Security: The blockchain offers greater security than traditional methods of digital marketing since it doesn’t rely on central servers or third parties.
  • Efficiency: Using blockchain technology means there’s no need for middlemen or intermediaries when conducting transactions online. This improves efficiency by cutting out unnecessary steps between two parties looking to transact business with one another; this saves both time and money for both parties involved!

Secure Digital Marketing Tool Designed on Blockchain

A digital marketing tool designed on blockchain will be more robust and secure. Blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed ledger technology that helps in recording transactions between two parties efficiently.

It also ensures that the records cannot be tampered with once they get recorded. This means that if you buy a product from an e-commerce website and pay for it using cryptocurrency (a form of digital currency), then no one can hack into the system and change your transaction record to avoid paying you the money.

In general, blockchain offers marketers several benefits:

  • It allows for better data sharing and storage than traditional databases
  • It offers enhanced security features because there is no single point of failure
  • It can help companies boost productivity by integrating both humans and machines

Blockchain Protocol That Ensures Safety, Security

Don’t worry, you can still use digital advertising. You just need to trust the blockchain protocol that runs it.

Ad-blocking software has made digital advertising ineffective already and will soon make all digital advertising completely ineffective. You see, if you are using ad-blocking software on your computer or mobile device, then you’re not seeing any of the ads being served to people who aren’t using ad blockers.

This means that advertisers must pay for each impression (or view) of their ads, even when those impressions do not get seen by anyone at all!

By adopting a blockchain protocol for their digital advertising campaigns, marketers and publishers can verify which impressions are being seen by humans and prove whether or not they were delivered effectively before paying for them.

It is worth mentioning that the benefits can be multifold as is already visible from the other spaces like the cryptocurrency markets. Numerous traders are gaining from the rising cryptocurrency prices. So, digital markets too must watch out for this technology.

The entire industry benefits because everyone is working together instead of trying to scam each other through fake views on fake websites with fake content created solely for financial gain without any real value-added back into society whatsoever!

Digital Technology Is Changing Everything

You probably already know that digital technology is changing everything. But what you may not realize is that blockchain is one of the biggest and most important digital technologies to come out in years.

Blockchain can be a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s worth learning about because it’s changing the way we do business, marketing, and advertising—even as we speak! The best place to start learning is by understanding what blockchain means. It’s essentially a decentralized database that allows information (such as financial transactions) to be stored on multiple computers rather than in one location. This makes it more secure than traditional databases which are usually stored on just one server or computer system.


As you can see, the blockchain is changing the way we interact with technology. It’s also changing how we experience marketing automation tools, and how they work. The future of digital marketing will be shaped by this new technology, which means marketers need to start exploring how it can be applied to their jobs now.

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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover



Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover

“It’s hard to hire; it’s hard to train; it’s hard to keep people from burning out. To make matters worse, these challenges have intensified so swiftly that leaders have hardly had time to digest them, let alone mount a defense.”

That’s the main takeaway from “The State of Marketing Operations: 2022,” a new report from junior marketing ops training platform Highway Education and ABM leader Demandbase. The findings were based primarily on a survey of 800 marketing operations professionals from organizations of all sizes, more than half from mid-sized companies.

The demand for talent. The vastly accelerated shift to digital marketing — not to mention sales and service — has led inflated demand for MOps talent, a demand the market can’t keep up with. Two results: burnout as too much is demanded of MOps professionals; and turnover, as it’s easy to find alternative opportunities. The outcome for companies is the growing burden of hiring and training replacements.

Use of marketing software has grown two and a half times in less than ten years, according to the report, and the number of marketing operations professionals, across organizations of all sizes, has increased by two-thirds. Use of marketing automation alone has grown 228% since 2016, and there has been a 66% growth in the size of MOps teams just since 2020.

Perhaps most remarkable, 93% of MOps professionals learned on the job.

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Why we care. Providing beginner MOps training services, Highway Education clearly has an interest in this data. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the demand for MOps talent is real and growing. If there’s a surprising figure here, it’s that use of marketing software has grown only two and a half times in the last decade.

AWS MOps leader Darrell Alfonso, quoted in the report, says: “There’s a disconnect between marketing strategy and the actual execution — what it takes to actually operationalize and bring a strategy to life. Leadership, especially the ‘old guard,’ will be more familiar with traditional methods like field marketing and commercials. But now, during the pandemic and post, there’s an entire digital world that needs to be
managed by people who know what they’re doing.”

Read next: More on marketing ops from Darrell Alfonso

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]



Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]

Scott Cunningham, CEO of Social Lite and Co-Founder of Merchant Mastery, has worked with thousands of ecommerce stores. The one thing he hears ALL. The. Time? 

“Facebook doesn’t work for my business.”

If you’ve said that about your ecommerce store, listen in as Scott shares what’s missing and how you can overcome that hurdle and start selling.

In this video:

  • Start Here to Sell More: 00:22-00:30 
  • What If I’m Selling a Brand New Product? 00:51-1:02
  • The Formula for Winning in Ecommerce: 1:21-1:34

Learn more about ecommerce:

The Future of Ecommer Marketing Is Now ➡️

Use This Framework to Build Ads That Move Product ➡️

NEW for 2022! Become an Ecommerce Marketing Master ➡️

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