Where do marketing automation tools end and web content management tools begin?

  • 13-Oct-2016

I recently had a rather lengthy discussion with an RSG subscriber marketing team about use-case scenarios for a campaign & lead management (CLM) tool selection. One of the challenges they faced in authoring their scenarios was determining where & how the landing page for a given campaign would be managed: with their WCM or their CLM tool?

The campaign story, it turned out, touched on the functionality of several different information elements and tools:

  1. Customer data and customer data segments, managed in a CRM
  2. Visual digital assets, originating in a DAM
  3. Email templates and potential segment-specific variants of the campaign, managed in the CLM tool
  4. The web site, managed by a WCM tool, where a person might continue the journey after clicking through on an email
  5. A subscription management tool, managing access to the organization's publication / journal

Across our subscriber base, the use cases we help our customers hone in on are no longer the purview of one technology: rather, marketing use cases inevitably span multiple tools. 

It’s a complicated puzzle

These modern marketing use cases make selecting the right technology that much more challenging. You’re not just looking to select the right functional tool that will solve the greatest proportion of your needs out of the box or via configuration, but you’re also having to select based on everything it will pull from, and push to, and the compatibility of those components. 

Vendors will often over-simplify this during the pitch process: “we can do that with the API” or “we have a connector to that CRM.” That’s like saying, “we have a recipe for that chicken cordon bleu we can give you, no worries, you’ll get it right.” Even if you’ve never cooked chicken in your life. Don’t be fooled. It’s never that easy.

It’s more art than science

In this particular scenario, a simple landing page with a subscription call to action could typically be managed in the CLM tool. But what I see happen when such “straightforward” conclusions are reached is that a debate may ensue as to how much should be available on that page — full web site or personalized navigation, segment-specific content, and e-commerce features to buy right there?

This is where the integrations get really tricky, and there’s not fully fleshed out best practices on much of this yet. As shown in RSG's customer survey research (download for free here), MarTech best practices are still in early stages, or just not yet clearly defined.

What you should do

Realize that technology selections never represent just a single point in time — they're an ongoing process of evaluation and testing to make sure you're making the right choice for a constantly evolving marketing technology ecosystem.

In our CLM, WCM, and DAM research, one of our evaluation criteria is integration capability. We look at a tool’s history of integration, the richness of the API, and usefulness of the connector / added component ecosystem. You need to consider these factors not just if you’re buying these tools for the first time, but on an ongoing basis: is each vendor facilitating your marketing use cases still worthy of its place? Should you take a piece of that puzzle out, and put in a new one?

If you’re considering such questions yourself, please reach out and let us know.

 

Our customers say...

"I was really excited to preview RSG's Digital Marketing Technology evaluations. It's great to have a resource that explains what vendors really do, rather than what they say they do."

Gino Bona, Digital Marketing Consultant

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