CRM Watchlist 2014 Winners: Going Marketing

CRM Watchlist 2014 Winners: Going Marketing

Summary: The reviews never stop do they? This week we take a look at the CRM Watchlist 2014 Marketing companies. Again, they are not "category winners" and they are in alphabetical order. Check out Hubspot, Marketo, and Teradata Applications. Your thoughts?

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Previously on The CRM Watchlist…

And the Winners of the CRM Watchlist 2014 are....

CRM Watchlist 2014: Winner of Lifetime Achievement - Amazon

CRM Watchlist 2014: For the 1st time ever: The Watchlist Elite, Part I

CRM Watchlist 2014: For the 1st time ever: The Watchlist Elite, Part II

CRM Watchlist 2014: For the 1st time ever: The Watchlist Elite Part III 

CRM Watchlist 2014:  Upgraded to a Suite Part I

CRM Watchlist 2014: Upgraded to a Suite Part II

CRM Watchlist 2014: Customer Engagement Hottest Market

There is NO question that for the last 3 years that marketing and marketers have jumped full bore into the 21st century. Gartner forecasts a $4.28 billion market by 2016.  Additionally, TechNavio's analysts forecast the Global Digital Marketing Software market to grow at a CAGR of 14.25 percent over the period that began in 2012 and ends in 2016. That’s a pretty significant rate of growth, except, honestly, I have to question a report that doesn’t seem to mention (according to their description of companies mentioned) any of the three winners here and includes Jive, Lithium and Hybris as Global Marketing companies – though to be fair, I’m not sure how they include them.

But if it were just the growth of marketing technology – well, as good as that may be for several of the companies out there, it would be “meh” for anyone reading anything I write, at least, much less what about a thousand others pen each day, week, month, year. 

What has been the most exciting is that how companies need to market has changed as dramatically as the marketing technology itself has been transformed. The so-called 4Ps –product, placement, price, promotion have been laid to rest once and for all as the foundation for marketing as more and more customers are seeing marketing as a way to gather information they need to make decisions about what to buy from whom.  Additionally, due to the communications revolution, the kind of personalized treatment that customers are expecting has had a dramatic impact on what marketers have to provide to stay in the mix for customer attention. 

Make no mistake about this.  Marketing isn’t just for competitive differentiation. The days where marketing was designed to highlight competitive strengths and competitor weaknesses are no longer the focus. There is a step that comes before that – it is the competition for attention. 

Think of it this way.  There are 3000 messages per day via various channels that assault each one of us.  That, over a year, is more than 1 million per year. One of them might be for bottled water and another for mortgage refinancing.  A third might be for baseball memorabilia and a fourth for ski trips.  If I ask you, which of those appeal to you, you might mention one of them, maybe two, maybe none. Least likely, all.  Each of your choices will probably be different than someone else reading this.  Yet if you’re hit with 3000 of these per DAY there is a reasonable chance you’ll zone out and not even see the ones that might be of interest.  Proof? How many of you reading this, open all your snail mail at home at night and read everything? The answer is, none of you.  I can pretty well be assured of that.

That’s what I mean. Marketers are now in a position where they have to compete for attention in the world of a million messages. How do you distinguish your brand from all the others out there – whether they provide similar products or services is almost irrelevant?  

You do it by targeted, personalized ads or interactions. You do it by getting the customer/prospect/lead/interested party to proactively get interested.  In other words, IF you are good at what you do, you are able to provide someone with what they want to see so that they will make the decision to look and, even better, act/interact.  You are appealing to their self interest.   Personally, I’m amazed at how good Google and even Facebook is getting at this especially in the confines of the use of Chrome where I see highly targeted ads that are of real interest to me – or would be. For example, I see ads frequently for SugarCRM, ZohoCRM, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics CRM et. al.  When I was car hunting, I saw ads for BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Cadillac on a large variety of sites and Facebook. Same for when I was looking for treadmills – Sole and NordicTrack ads were frequent visitors to my screen.  That said, the sheer number of ads was annoying so they haven’t mastered that, but the ads were the results of my activity being monitored in real time or nearly so, analytics being applied, and insights determined with personalized ads the result.

So the technology at some level already exists to begin to deal with the problem of attention. But there is much more going on in the marketing world, chief of which has been the alignment of the objectives of sales and marketing departments. Note, I didn’t say the merger of the two – but an alignment of objectives. The practical result of this has been revenue objectives for marketing departments that are attached to purchases or deals closing or whatever it is that the company does to make money.  This alignment was first noticed by the CRM Watchlist’s first Lifetime Achievement winner Peppers and Rogers in their 2009 document “The New Power Couple,” which identified this confluence of goals. 

Obviously, all this going on coupled with the availability of millions of people communicating in social channels made all the difference in the world when it comes to how marketing has to structure its campaigns and target its audiences. If we’ve gone beyond just the targeting of demographic slices (though this is still a perfectly viable way to plan a campaign) and how we communicate has changed and how we create, distribute and consume information has changed, then how we plan and execute campaigns has changed as well; how we manage assets and other resources has become increasingly important; how we engage the target audiences has become a matter for concern – and I could go on forever. 

In a nutshell, what I’m saying is that marketing has been transformed perhaps more so than any other sector in the last several years, and our three winners, caveats and all, have been leaders in that transformation – at least in the area of technology.  They have had impact – and, at least as far as I can tell, will continue to do so in the next few years.   This year, because the competition was so difficult and the criteria for winning so tough, there were just three companies that happened to fit the marketing category that won –and ironically, all three are very different from one another – though clearly marketing technology companies.   They are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Hubspot
  2. Marketo
  3. Teradata Applications

I’m going to delve into these companies now. They’ve distinguished themselves from the noise - so we’re going to make some for them. 

Hubspot

While I’m not a believer in eating your own dog food (for example why would a small company who produces enterprise level software use their own software?) this is a company that eats their own dog food, has their own barks, builds their own dog houses and ID’s their own breed. They get what they do to the nth degree and always have.

They have positioned themselves (until now) as the number one inbound marketing company and have proven that their platform works, their best practices work and their strategies have meat on  its bones.

A story that I’ve told before, but it shows you what I mean: 

About 5 years ago, my BFAM and major league CRM influencer Brent Leary did a webinar for Hubspot on how to think about and use “Social CRM” which was new at the time.   It was done for Hubspot, so they built it, using their own tools and techniques.  The results were mind-blowing. There were 6500 registrants and 2600 attendees. Totally kick ass.  But what made this even more remarkable?  It was only the fourth largest Hubspot webinar of the year!!

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Thing is that Hubspot has developed their inbound marketing platform with sound thought leadership and a clear line of sight to the outcomes that their tools help to provide.  The entire company was founded to handle the technology and platform that would enable the 21st century marketer’s approach to a customer that was more demanding in what they expected from the company.  Hubspot took the practical approach and built the tools that the marketers would need to accomplish the tasks that inbound marketing required done. They didn’t follow a template that said “these are the features and functions that make you look like other marketing technology packages.” So, for example, to enhance the capabilities of their platform, this past year they focused around building content – with a keen understanding that content was a core driver of engagement for the contemporary marketer. They added a COS – a content optimization system for businesses to build as they called it “mobile optimized websites.” But they understood that marketers aren’t necessarily designers so they made sure their COS was replete with templates – and customer support. They also added their Social Inbox – their free sales focused social media monitoring tool that built timelines of the activities of users. 

Most important as a harbinger of where they saw themselves going, they put Signals out there. Signals was a sales tool that was designed to monitor and analyze web and other online behaviors (e.g. email) so that sales reps would have some insight into their prospects. This is important for what it indicates more than for the tool itself.  But we will get into that shortly.

2013 also showed their market reach and historic thought leadership around inbound marketing paid off. They reached the 10,000 customer mark – an unprecedented period of prosperity for them.  Their revenues hit $77.6 million, up 50% from the year before which was up from $29 million from the year before (2011 for those not so good at math). Hubspot has not only seen significant revenue increases, but they are well funded – with VC rounds up to $32 million and investors including salesforce.com – pre-Exact Target acquisition.  

Speaking of acquisitions, they also made an excellent management team “acquisition” in Joe Chernov, formerly of Eloqua fame. They brought him on as VP of Marketing – a very good move. He is not only a very capable marketer but also a thought leadership content producer.  Good move, Hubspot. They may have lost Jacoby Ellsbury, but they got Joe Chernov (Hubspot will know what I mean. J).

When it comes to inbound marketing, their technology package is complete, but that goes to a very interesting transformation that’s going on at the company – and their vision and mission.

For a long time, Hubspot’s premise has been that “humans have fundamentally changed the way they live, work, shop and buy.” When they were founded in 2006, this drove them and inbound marketing was their response to a broken outbound marketing model and the death of the 4Ps (see above). They have begun more recently to think more about “inbound” than “marketing.”  Their premise is “inbound isn’t just a method of marketing but a mindset that could help businesses build relationships with their audience through their sales process, their support system, and their service offerings” – a definition of CRM if I ever heard one – and I have heard one or two.  With that concept in mind, at their 5000-strong INBOUND 2013 annual conference in August last year (bad timing for me since they managed to do it at the same time as CRM Evolution) they introduced a pretty dangerous idea – “inbound experience.”  At that conference they announced Signals (see above), which was their first foray into something beyond inbound marketing, though, truthfully, not necessarily a tool that supports the idea of inbound experience all that well, though it does support CRM.  But I’ll address this more below.  However, not to quibble here, Hubspot is taking a rather bold new step to expand their reach and scope to other markets. 

The good thing is that they have a substantial partner network, which, if they can get buy-in, can support this bold expansive effort, though it will have to take a new direction to optimize its possibilities. As of now they have more than 1400 VAR-like partners who account for more than 30% of Hubspot’s revenues. So there is a network there that is pretty damned solid and, if they are anything like the Hubspot partners I have managed to meet, they are an enthusiastic lot.  

This is no surprise, because Hubspot has a fabulous company culture that is both a joy to just be around (minus the constant Boston sports fandom that they so ardently display. Guys, if you want to grow your business, remember, New York is a much bigger city than Boston.  Catch my drift? J) and a conscious part of how they operate. In fact, its conscious to the point that Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah published a tome called “The Culture Code” that is a deck that operates as the company’s cultural handbook and guidelines. The perks are an indicator of what a unique culture they do have – free beer, unlimited vacation and free Amazon Kindle books. Given my book bill on Amazon, I’m considering going fulltime with Hubspot, just to save money!  They have a genuinely transparent culture that does actually honor the ideas of the staff as opposed to many who claim they do and don’t.  Each quarter they actually measure employee NPS to which to them is a happiness scale. But, grasshopper, with great freedom comes great responsibility. Every staff member is held accountable for his or her work and the standards are high.  Hubspot has one of the most substantial cultures of any of the Watchlist submissions with one notable lack (see below). 

To succeed at inbound experience there are a significant number of pieces that have to either be put in place or enhanced a fair amount.  Of course, with my big New York mouth, I’m going to tell this Bostonian DNAed company what I think they should do. 

What they have to do

  1. Understand all the moving parts  – Inbound experience is a big vision and a significant expansion of the company’s efforts. Given the definition that they introduced at INBOUND 2013, I’m not 100% sold on their knowledge of what it entails – because they defined it as CRM from an operational standpoint.  There are multiple things to consider if they are going to use “experience” as their new mantra.  First, there is no “customer experience” market that they can participate in.  There is a customer engagement market in its incipient stages that has huge possibilities, but “customer experience” as a market is a non-starter. Second, they have to build out the thought leadership around inbound experience.  Right now, they have done a great job with inbound marketing – they own the thought leadership in that universe. They have little to none of it in “inbound experience” and their current definition isn’t even a definition of it – it is, as I said, CRM. Third, they are missing a MAJOR technology piece if they are going into that area which is for the want of a better term (and it needs a way better term), and that is customer journey  management a la Thunderhead.  Hubspot might want to consider an alliance there. Fourth, they need to rethink how they are building their channel which I will address right below.  There are other parts which I will also address below. But they need to be clear on the moving parts and the definition of inbound experience Hubspot has to date suggests to me that it needs some serious clarification and refinement.
  2. Partner ecosystem, not just VAR channel – Right now, Hubspot has an excellent channel – 1400 partners as I pointed out. But inbound experience requires very different thinking. It requires thinking in terms of an ecosystem. What are all the components of inbound experience? What can Hubspot natively provide?  What do they need partners to provide. Once you think in those terms, very different approaches to partnering show up. For example, their integrations (according to them) are salesforce.com, Wistia, and GotoWebinar.  Nowhere NEAR what it should be if you are thinking “inbound experience.”  Or even “CRM.”  Their name is Hubspot. Their ecosystem is a hub.  Easy peasy.
  3. Growing up is hard to do – Hubspot’s analyst relations program is about 18 months old. They have done a lot right with it, making sure that the analysts show up at their conference. Keeping them up with the press releases etc.  But, if they are expanding their vision, mission, messaging, and all other efforts, they need a significant step up to what they currently have. A formal outreach program that involves considerably more than they currently have is going to be necessary, including an expansion of scope when it comes to who they are talking to.  Among other things.
  4. A leap to CRM ain’t easy – Even if we narrow the scope to their definition – which is CRM in a box, the leap from a marketing-centric company to a CRM suite is not easy and involves a lot. For example, they have to be up on the sales trends which for CRM are actually of market and revenue significant – e.g. sales and marketing alignment; sales optimization; the commoditization of sales force automation. They are less than likely to build the customer service applications or the field service applications that are more than implied in their definition, so they need to think about the technology partners they will need which of course goes back to the ecosystem of partners.  And more.
  5. Corporate social responsibility – Given their submission, they either don’t get involved in social and charitable efforts or it wasn’t top of mind enough to mention it in the culture. So, I’ll say it this way.  If they aren’t involved in it much, a company of this quality, size and depth needs to be. If they are but neglected to mention it in the submission, I would think about why this wasn’t top of mind when it comes to a discussion of an otherwise fantastic culture. ‘Nuff said.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hubspot is on a rocket up – a company that will have impact this year and for years to come. They are making a big bold effort with the expansion of the scope of their vision, but with them, it’s a matter of figuring out the execution because once they do, watch out, world.  That’s why they won the Watchlist. Simple. They are truly worth watching.

Marketo

Marketo is almost an anomaly.  They are an independent company that is providing highly regarded marketing technology that seems to be thriving on its own – and remains on its own.  In the last year plus we’ve seen the acquisitions of Eloqua, Marketing Pilot, Exact Target and Neolane, leaving Marketo as the last man standing.  I’m aware that there have been several attempts to acquire this rather remarkable company, yet, here they are, on their own and public besides.  Doing well, thank you.

When Marketo went public, there was some concern over their revenue, which was publicly revealed to be a tad over $52 million, less than most thought.  That caused some concerns and a little nervousness over their financial state. Well, everyone, rest easy, Marketo is on a 2014 run rate of over $100 million.  So you can relax now.

What makes Marketo a Watchlist winner is what’s made them a 2012 and 2013 Watchlist winner too – they are one of the dominant players in the marketing technology world.  They have been able to stay on top of the trends that would impact how companies do what they do and develop the applications and services that meet the needs of those companies.  For example, when the alignment of the sales and marketing departments’ revenue objectives became something that we were seeing happen regularly, Marketo build the product and services set and renamed what they did Revenue Performance Management (RPM). In other words, aligned their products, platform, messaging and intellectual output with the marketing transformation that was going on.  The problem is that RPM wasn’t a very good name – made Marketo sound like an accounting efficiency firm.   Watchlist 2014 Consulting/SI Winner The Pedowitz Group, renamed the market Revenue Marketing”, which, while not great by any means, is at least a better representation.

But what’s important here is that Marketo moved quickly to establish themselves as a market leader even as the market itself was roiling and getting redefined.  This is typical of their approach – and except for an occasional misnomer – they do this really well.

I’m not surprised. Their management of this 3000 customer strong company is long term CRM, marketing and social veterans.  Led by former Epiphany President and COO Phil Fernandez, their team has impressive credentials.  For example, recently they hired Tony Nemelka as their SVP of Strategy and Business Development.  Tony’s history is strong in contemporary and traditional corporate leadership positions ranging from the President of PeopleSoft Japan to COO of Socialtext to most recently, VP of Business Development at Badgeville.  This rich history is similar to the years of experience the rest of their management team has in its respective positions.  Tony is also a standup guy who actually cares about people.  

As a result, you have a corporate mission that puts Marketo at the top of its game.   Their product is world class, though like any other product of its ilk, is required to stay up with the needs of the potential customers.  It could use some work in areas like Marketing Resource Management (MRM) but for the most part represents all marketing capabilities from email to social to content pretty well. In fact, their demand generation capabilities (e.g. lead scoring, lead nurturing) are powerful andf worthy of consideration in any short list in the technology selection phase.  Marketo’s integrations with CRM systems particularly their native integrations with salesforce.com and Microsoft are among the tightest in the industry. They have partner integrations with NetSuite, SugarCRM and Oracle CRM also. Their integration strategy has always been among the smartest in the industry.  

They also have a strong, highly noticeable industry presence.  They have more than 2700 customers in 35 countries. Check. They win industry awards like this one, the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leadership upper right, CODIE awards, best blogs, etc.  Check. They are lauded in the business press, not just the industry press. Check.  In other words, they make their presence known and the business world acknowledges that.  Good story, good move.

They have been acknowledged thought leaders in the “how to” universe of marketing for a LONG time. LONG time. Their Definitive Guides on how to do things like marketing automation, lead nurturing, email marketing, Social CRM etc.  They have cheat sheets on even more granular subjects like “How to make your website as personalized as your email. They have on demand webinars to visually explain this. They even have a book club.  In other words a well-defined corpus of work that would be the envy of pretty much all of the vendors in their space. They are acknowledged thought leaders.

However, with great success come some things that have to be done.  One tweak and two important ones.  (Hint: Tweak is #2).

What they have to do

  1. Think ecosystem – and all the implications – Marketo speaks of ecosystems and arguably has a some of that embedded in their DNA. But they are a standalone company in a world of enterprise suite players which means when it comes to businesses, they operate at a disadvantage. To their credit they have done significant excellent technology integrations which tie them to the ecosystems of the companies that are out there which makes them a bit better off than most standalone competitors. However, to succeed at what they do, they need their own ecosystem – one that while focused around marketing more than a broad enterprise suite, at the same time, provides the complementary products, services and tools that customers need to come to Marketo and stay with Marketo as their needs grow. That means several things for the company.  They need to build out a true platform along the lines of salesforce1 for example. An API for that would help too. Let other company build on the Marketo platform, a strategy that salesforce is finding to be valuable and that SugarCRM built their reputation on originally. This doesn’t mean don’t provide apps – it means realize that you aren’t going to build everything that a customer needs but someone could build a piece of that. Second, the partner ecosystem has to change to a partner ecosystem. Who complements the Marketo “hub” so to speak? There are other pieces but this isn’t designed to provide a complete solution, merely a suggestion that Marketo needs to do this now because the impact it can provide for the future is substantial.
  2. Round out thought leadership – In case you’ve forgotten what I said about two paragraphs ago, if there is one thing that Marketo has been a master at – and possibly the industry leader too – it’s thought leadership. What are the best practices for lead generation – see Marketo.  What are the best approaches to large-scale marketing campaigns –Marketo has something for you.  What is social marketing? Marketo can help you define that.  You need a step-by-step guide on anything at all. Marketo. Their Definitive Guides are some of the industry’s best how-to ebooks and while certainly Marketo driven, have that lovely agnostic taste to them which makes them valuable under any and all circumstances.  More recently, so I can tell you something new in this section, is their creation of The Marketing Nation, their what seems to be between 21,000 and 30,000-strong community for customers, prospects and advocates tying in experts. It is, according to Marketo, designed to share “ideas and best practices with each other.”  All good. But Marketo is at the point that if they want to sustain their industry thought leadership with all the major players who are getting into the game and if they want to keep mindshare, they will have to tweak their whole thought leadership a bit without giving up the excellent work they’ve already done. That means they will have to think a bit more strategically and provide content such as concepts, frameworks etc. – the intellectual content that drives the market as a whole. For a company in their position, if they chose to, they could literally define the market.  They may not want to – certainly their prerogative.  But companies that define the market tend to do exceptionally well in that market. Look at Microsoft and operating systems; Oracle and databases; salesforce.com and cloud based business applications.  I suspect this is something Marketo would be willing to undertake, given that they did try to define the market around sales and marketing alignment ergo, Revenue Performance Management.  My suggestion, jump in there and start putting some core thinking out there. Ally with a university or two, put forth your definitions and support it with the content and frameworks that it needs to be yours.  Strategic content, not how-to.  Though don’t give that up either.
  3. Dial it back: Darwinian culture meets modern man  –If you read Marketo’s core values – customer passion, one team, speak the truth, results first and aspire to be great – they are hard to argue with.  But, unfortunately, there are indications in the market and in the discussion of the culture, while they are firm believers in the core values, the actual culture and the perception of the company doesn’t quite align. There are a couple of indicators. In the market, Marketo is starting to be perceived as somewhat arrogant.  Whether or not this is justified, it is what it is and the perception is there and needs to be addressed.  Additionally, when I read that “execution is the name of the game at Marketo” and then I read that the idea of “One Team” translates to telling the same story regardless of who you are talking to (a Dreamforce example): “Ensuring all Marketo employees are telling the same Marketo story in the right place at the right time…” and then I see no evidence of corporate social giving mentioned, I have to presume that there are things that could be done a bit better.  I would suggest, given how delicate a concern that this can be, that Marketo at least examine what I'm saying, given that this is the only significant need for improvement in an otherwise very good company that has had a major impact on the market and continues to have one.

There is no reason to think that they can’t. Marketo is the last of the major marketing technology companies to standalone in a time where marketing technology companies (including niche players) have more than tripled to over a thousand in the space of three years.  Yet, Marketo’s voice remains clear and their impact strong and their visibility obvious.  They are Watchlist winners because I think they have enough to be that for now and years to come. I don’t think they will prove me wrong.

Teradata Applications

Teradata Applications – the combination of what was the 2011 Teradata acquisition of Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) leader Aprimo and the 2012 acquisition of digital marketing agency eCircle – is a vastly different breed than then the other marketing winners.  They are highly focused on, well, what Teradata does best, analytics, resource management, marketing operations and ultimately, the left-brained parts of execution. In fact, year over year, they get awards that highly value execution.   The thing is that Teradata Applications know their strengths and build on them rather than stray too far outside them – which in itself is a strength. They are constantly improving their IMM capabilities and Aprimo, for scale and functionality technologically has no peers.

Teradata Applications sees themselves as a play in big data and analytics as their core strength in the customer facing universe.  They are that, no doubt, but that doesn’t necessarily resonate the strongest among customers.  At least, it’s a harder sell than campaign management or demand generation – things of that ilk.  So they make an effort to overcome that deficiency by building a wide partner network of strategic partners, VARs, ISVs and others, attracting the biggest names in the business.  Look at this consulting partner list – and this is partial – Watchlist winners Accenture and The Pedowitz Group – and Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte, Tata Consulting Services, Hitachi Consulting, Infosys, TopRight, WIPRO, Harte Hanks and Acxiom – maybe 40% of the total list. Maybe less.  They have a smaller list of Technology partners like Adobe, Boomi, Microsoft, Oracle and salesforce.com.  All of whom (except maybe Microsoft with their acquisition of Marketing Pilot) are complementary technology companies.  Teradata Applications  and their partners also have a strong focus on vertical industries where their IMM capabilities play well – among them retail, financial services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, life sciences etc.).   This gives them highly focused market slices that can be significant revenue sources for the company in addition to a possible leadership position in the space. In fact, because of this targeted focus, they expect double-digit growth in the upcoming year or two while the rest of the company is expected to be growing at a single digit rate.

The interesting thing about these guys, unlike many other winners or contenders or submitters is that they have a clear-cut vision, mission and moral standard as a company. For example, they are a signatory to the U.N. Global Compact. As they put it, “we are committed to universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.”

This isn’t a marketing ploy or messaging. This is the driver behind the company and how it works at the global level.  They have established programs throughout the company that reflect how seriously they take being a Global Compact signatory. For example, they have Teradata Cares which has done significant work in the community – in fact significant enough to be honored by the White House for Teradata’s ongoing contributions to DataKind.  I’m not going to go into all their achievements in social and environmental sustainability, but trust me, they are extensive.

This deep citizen corporate commitment goes to the heart of their 10,000 employee strong culture too. They have their customers engaged with them as partners to the company and the employees. For example, their customers actually produce the annual Teradata PARTNERS conference and other events like that for them.  They have an active Customer Advisory Council too.  They have customer “loyalty” programs where the customers can earn “frequent flier”ish points for varying activities that they participate in with Teradata.

In addition to their unique product footprint, their social and environmentally responsible activity and a strong partner network, they are clear on their vision – and its one that suits who they are in a sort of ISO 9000 way. It is “a more informed world, better able to meet the needs of its people.” Please read everything I just wrote and think about this vision. Perfect in that light. I say an ISO 9000 way, because I’m not judging their direction, just looking at their vision as a statement that drives that direction and stays coherent with the direction and the results. They, and Watchlist Elite winner EY have the two clearest vision statements of any company that I’ve seen in a long time.  Kudos to them for this, since as I’ve discussed in earlier posts, vision and mission are what frame and drive how a company lives, breathes, and acts.  If you’re not clear on it, you breathe badly.

That said, there are things that Teradata Applications needs to do to make this year and the next several years where they can increase their impact and their footprint across the industry.

What they have to do

  1. Corporate Reimagination – The perception of Teradata Applications as company in the market is that they provide solid, complex, marketing operations applications and that the company itself is a left brained entity that is not exactly at the cutting edge of innovation. So, stable and good, but very unimaginative, and not particularly creative.  For example, renaming the combination of Aprimo and eCircle, Teradata Applications?  Borrrrrring.  The name neither explains or metaphorically implies anything at all. This solidity isn’t a bad thing unto itself. Most companies – i.e. potential customers – aren’t looking for disruptive cool hipness. They are looking for applications that will help them to do their work.  However, to get attention, one has to have some color or corporate “voice” that resonates with real people rather.  Teradata Applications doesn’t fire the imagination or even the interest in participation with them.  TA needs to take their brilliant, lovely vision and commitment to the UN Global Charter and use that to “color” the company.  Or not.
  2. Infor model – Beauty as competency – They have the best core marketing operations applications as far as what they do. How they look is another thing entirely. Time to do what Infor did and refresh the UI/UX of the applications – or at least the versions I saw.  Beauty as a competency, Infor’s slogan, is a good one for this company to adopt.
  3. Increase social presence – To be outright blunt,  their social presence, necessary for companies in the customer facing world, is just plain poor. I have the stats for November 2013 and it is nowhere near what it should be for a company of this size and this quality. A serious escalation of social channel participation is required here.  Required.
  4. Value based, outcome based marketing -  The marketing thrust they are using while valuable for data hounds doesn’t go to the heart of the 21st century customer – which is an outcome.   The marketing that has been resonating for customers everywhere is pretty much what you might expect, given the 21st century communication transformation.  It is shaped around the idea of “what is it that you, technology company, can provide to me – not just my company, but my company and me personally – that gives me the kind of outcome I am looking for when I do my work?” This is NOT Teradata Applications general thrust. But, thing is, they have one of the best and most skilled and experienced CMOs in the market, Lisa Arthur, so I expect that they will take care of this one posthaste and start designing things around this value driven outcome focused marketing and messaging.

There is no question of either the quality of or the power of or the deep social commitments of Teradata and Teradata Applications. Do a few tweaks, become a bit less data driven in the public mind and they will be killer for a long time to come. Don’t do that and I will be actually disappointed. But I have faith.

Well that’s it for this one.  We will be moving on to pretty much alphabetical order from here because I have no more apparent groupings I can do – a little of singular companies remain.  So I won’t list who’s up next expect on Twitter with the hashtag #crmwatchlist and the ID @crmwatchlist and @pgreenbe.

HOWEVER, I have a BIG announcement here which I will be repeating.

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2015 CRM WATCHLIST IS NOW OPEN!!! Rules will be following but if you are interested please request the registration form from me at paul-greenberg3@the56group.com.  It will be sent to you and when you have returned it, I will send you the new questionnaire (reworked somewhat from this year), the 2013 CRM Watchlist Yearbook (and the 2014 one when it is done) and put you on Google Plus Group that will go active as soon as I’m done writing these reviews. Again, REGISTRATION FOR THE 2015 CRM WATCHLIST IS NOW OPEN!!

Good luck!!

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Marketing Automation Watchlist

    Paul -

    As always, very thoughtful. we are big fans of Marketo and use them to the nth degree. In addition, I personally love the way both Marketo and Hubspot consistently pepper me with very relevant materials that we can use her at Xactly.

    Looking forward to your BIG announcement.

    All the Best,
    Scott Broomfield
    CMO of Xactly
    xactlybusdev