Some Busy Weeks Researching Content Management

Peter O'Neill here. As well as working the end of our fiscal quarter (yes, we analysts must also meet targets), I’ve been busy in the past few weeks getting ready for our upcoming Marketing Forum, where I am co-presenting a session on the rising importance of the customer retention and expansion phase with my colleague Tim Harmon. A Forrester Forum always presents me with a dilemma: I’d like to have as many client one-on-one sessions as possible — it’s always great to meet people that I often only know from the telephone — but then again, I’d also like to enjoy and learn from the other presentations at the conference.

The day before the Forum, I will lead an interactive session on content management at the Forrester Technology Marketing Council (TMC) meeting. I’ll review the outcome of a short survey fielded among the TMC members a few weeks ago, discuss content management strategy, and introduce TMC members Linda Roach of Planview and Bob Eve of Composite Software to present their best practices. I’ve talked to many tech marketers about content management projects in the past few months, including David Hurwitz of Serena Software. Check out David’s latest content project, entitled “Doug Serena, CIO.” I had told him that I didn’t want to write about his project until all of the episodes had been broadcast — after all, I want to document history, not make it happen — so I waited. Don’t be unimpressed by the YouTube statistics: Total series views are now at 1,300, and Serena has also collected more than 80 new Twitter followers of the main character plus more than a hundred new followers of its main Twitter handle. The company’s ambitious objective for the campaign is to position its offering as a subject for the CIO.

Another content management story that has aroused my curiosity is the launch of the new SAP blog site, called “Business Innovation from SAP,” last week (although it should not be confused with SAP’s other blog, called “The Innovation Business”). While SAP clearly stated its intentions with the launch: “To meet the needs of today’s buyers, SAP must deliver information in a way that matches how people buy, and not necessarily the way we want to sell. . . . To support the development of pull marketing, the site is focused on meeting the information and educational needs of our audience from the earliest buying stages onward — even before someone would typically visit a software provider’s website or look for information about a specific solution,” I suspect SAP has missed it somehow. The site is obsessively branded as an SAP corporate site: It has the same layout as every other page on, and even features the pop-up window that asks if you want to talk to an SAP representative and which you have to close before you can proceed further (which you don’t, of course). And why talk to customers or prospects about “pull marketing"? That is irrelevant to a customer — it’s a bit like HP calling the business unit that sells to enterprise customers “Enterprise Business.” SAP actually wants external contributions on this blog site, but you have to be interviewed by its editor first. I’ll be watching this site further to see if they really create any interest outside of SAP specifics.

Agree? Disagree? Need more details? As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter 


RE: Your client meetings

Hi Peter,

About 5 years ago you presented on a Service Portfolio Management webinar with myself when I was with Planview. It's true that "Customer retention is the new demand generation" and content strategy and management plays into both acquisition and retention efforts. I noticed you mentioned in your post "it’s always great to meet people that I often only know from the telephone" I couldn't agree more. However, why not change the way you communicate for the better? (Full disclosure, I work for a High Definition Video Conferencing provider, LifeSize Communications, a division of Logitech.) I am confident that you would see a great improvement with communication and productivity from your client meetings if you held them on HD Video Conferencing rather than just a phone call or a screen sharing application. Marketers aren't the only ones who should adopt technology to do their jobs better - analysts too. Hope the conference goes well!

Best regards,

Great post, Peter. As someone

Great post, Peter.

As someone who works with tech clients to harness the power of content marketing, I can see why it was hard for SAP to take the next step and loosen the connections to the marketing mother ship.

It's still a really good move for them -- and I hope the success of it will encourage them to be even bolder.

We worked closely with Salesforce on the Social Success content site and I expected to run into this issue. But I think Salesforce has started to weave the social ethos into their culture, so it ended up being a lot easier to keep the hard-sell away from the site.

Always a challenge though.

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