Can MediaBeacon keep up?

MediaBeacon is one of the bright and blinking stars of the Digital Asset Management world. Led by the ebullient and opinionated Jason Bright, the Minneapolis-based company has a much larger footprint on the market than the small size of the company would suggest.

MediaBeacon's DAM tool is among the industry's more flexible and standards-based, and though largely focused on brand management scenarios, the company made extensive efforts  to add video management features over the last 18 months.

In 2011, MediaBeacon was without question the DAM vendor I received the most inquires about, but those questions changed markedly over the course of the year. Earlier in the year, it was about features of their software; later in the year and in the first few weeks of 2012, the tone shifted: "Can MediaBeacon keep up with the growth?"

The company gained many new banner-name clients in 2011. However with the exception of Cognizant, their partner channel remains thin given the size of the companies with whom they're closing business. Historically, as we discuss extensively in our Digital & Media Asset Management Report, MediaBeacon's happiest customers were those who worked with Jason Bright directly. As anyone who's taken a basic business course knows, such a model is not sustainable. 

Some Real Story Group advisory customers came to me utterly passionate about adopting MediaBeacon's software, but were unhappy with the level of responsiveness from the vendor. The same was true of potential SI partners, who wondered how much MediaBeacon really wanted to expand their partner channels. Meanwhile, MediaBeacon slowly grew their services team, but not at the same pace as competitors like North Plains or VYRE.

So, is MediaBeacon keeping up with its growth? At the moment, not adquately. Recently, two of my customers who knew MediaBeacon's technology was a good fit signed with other vendors because they were disappointed in how the pre-sales process went. They figured that that as an actual customer, it wouldn't get any better. Another customer who wants to work with MediaBeacon wonders about finding a team of implementers who really know the tool -- and haven't been happy with the answers from the vendor.

As someone behind the scenes on such product selections, it's been interesting to witness the shift. Still, MediaBeacon sits at a cozy spot in the DAM market spectrum: it can reasonably address small business or agency brand management scenarios, but by the same token, it has the chops to support large enterprise DAM implementations. Yet, impressive technology alone does not turn small industry darlings into software powerhouses. Service and the ability to scale a company, along with that technology, is what opens up that possibility. It remains to be seen how well MediaBeacon will deliver on such big expectations in 2012.   

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