Polycom announced today (March 23, 2011) that it is acquiring Accordent Technologies. The acquisition extends Polycom’s portfolio of video technologies and products and enables Accordent to leverage Polycom’s global distribution capabilities. Accordent is a privately held, 11-year old company based in El Segundo, California and has 52 employees. Accordent’s aim of delivering future-focused video collaboration has earned the trust of 1,200 customers who use their video archiving and streaming solutions. Polycom and Accordent share:
A common focus on unified communications and collaboration (UC&C). They both work with a stable of technology and services partners to deliver these rich experiences to market. Common partners like HP, IBM, Microsoft and Riverbed will smooth the companies’ continuing sales to Fortune 500 companies that are already using or considering their solutions for video.
A tight relationship with Microsoft. Both companies have deep technical and go-to-market relationships with various business units in Redmond driving collaborative work with server platforms including the Microsoft Windows Media Server, Microsoft Lync Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and others.
A deep understanding of the adoption of video in the market. Both companies have focused efforts to understand both the horizontal use cases for video (creative collaboration sessions, large-scale status reporting meetings, and ad hoc video communications) as well as industry-specific uses in verticals like healthcare, education, and government.
Before I left for Enterprise Connect this week, I had completed nearly a dozen pre-briefings and tweeted that I expected to see themes including cloud, collaboration, interoperability, mobility, SMB, social, and video. All those topics have been covered and re-covered — and they have often overlapped. As I attended sessions, visited vendors on the floor, and met on-on-one with unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) vendors and service providers, I heard echoes of my late 2008 report, “The Broad Opportunities In Managed Services,” where I highlighted tight credit, rapid technology change, and uncertain business volumes with creating unique opportunities for managed services from onsite management through the then new concept of software-as-a-service (SaaS). This brought cloud and as-a-Service topics to the front of almost every conversation and announcement. Vendors are pursuing this opportunity that we continue to see growing in our surveys, with only 3% of IT buyers in North America and Europe reporting that they currently deploy or manage their unified communications in an as-a-service model; but 23% are interested in doing so in the future.* Vendors from CallTower to AT&T (although neither was at the show) are offering services, and several new cloud announcements were made at the show.
You can change the offer, alter the creative, or adjust the price, but the reality of the new world is that, to make these facets of the four P’s (product, price, place, promotion) work, you also need an effective marketing mix.
There was a time when we had the luxury of ongoing and simple experimentation with mix; that’s no longer available for us as technology marketers. Our audiences are increasingly orchestrating their own incredibly complex behaviors — ones that we don’t control. They’re using, on average, seven content sources (for example, direct email, search, online forums, white papers, direct sales conversations, and sponsored seminars) and contemplating five or more types of content types (ROI engines, customer examples, cloud integration, options/benefits, and industry examples) across the buying process. If you think that’s challenging enough for marketers, we are now seeing increased blending between formats (online to search, print to direct) in a more mature, mixed manner than ever before. Add to this the selective integration of different content needs in specific online destinations, and we see a marketing mix ecosystem that is neither linear nor homogeneous. It feels progressively like a DNA strand, twisted in a helix and connected at varying points and components.
To succeed in your other P’s, you need to know how to handle the key dynamics of the marketing mix before you can adjust the other levers, like marketing a price or product change. For example, if you adjust price but don’t get your marketing mix right (from targeting to content to messaging or integrated media), you will never know if price adjustments really worked. In truth, you cannot avoid the marketing mix dilemma if you want to deliver outcomes from the other big P’s.