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| Omnichannelx | Podcast – Decoding the Content Tech Evolution w/ Tony Byrne

An Omnichannelx podcast where the host Noz Urbina sits down with Tony Byrne, Founder of Real Story Group.

By the end of the podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Evolution of Content Management Systems: Understand how DAMs and CMS have evolved over the years, including the rise of headless CMS and the impact of AI
  • Strategic Technology Decisions: Learn the importance of having a clear strategy and vision when choosing content management technologies
  • The Future of DAMs: Explore how DAMs are expanding their capabilities, managing a wider range of assets, and playing a crucial role in the content lifecycle
  • The Role of AI in Content Strategy: Gain insights into how AI is transforming content creation and management, not just at the customer touchpoint but throughout the content lifecycle
  • Challenges with Headless CMS: Understand the limitations and potential pitfalls of headless CMS and the importance of hybrid solutions
  • Emerging Omni-channel Content Platforms: Discover the concept of Omni-channel Content Platforms (OCPs) and how they differ from traditional DAM and CMS solutions
  • Making Informed Technology Choices: Learn practical tips for navigating the complex content technology market and making decisions that align with your organization’s needs.

Listen here ➤



| Content Marketing Institute | Marketing Attribution Technology: Find Your Fit

With the right MAT solution, you can tie your content budget to meaningful business outcomes. Here’s what to consider when shopping in this complex marketplace.

In a tough economy, marketing leaders must account for every dollar of their budget and tie spending to meaningful outcomes. Adding marketing attribution technology (MAT) to your content tech stack can help put those capabilities into your entire team’s hands – if you find the right-fit platform.

MAT employs various measurement and attribution methodologies that can show you where and how your marketing efforts are adding value to your business. For example, it can be used to quantify the revenue generated through your marketing initiatives or help tie your content activities across various channels to critical outcomes and goals.

Overall, marketing attribution technology supports a diverse array of use cases, spanning various business objectives and channel support. However, vendors’ offerings can vary widely in their target use cases and their attribution methodologies.

It makes MAT a challenging market to navigate when considering a purchase. However, tracking key details can help you decide if a MAT solution is worth adding to your martech stack and find the optimal vendor for your content team’s needs. Read More.



| CMS Wire | Marketing Technology: Has WCM Been Commodified?

Woe to any digital leader that treats WCM capabilities as a commodity.

The Gist

  • Marketing technology. Web content management technology (WCM) remains nuanced and essential, not a commodity.
  • Martech stack diversity. The martech stack has evolved, with WCM being just one of many dynamic components.
  • WCM platform options. Content marketing platforms continue to innovate, offering a range of choices for modern businesses.

"Commodity" is a dreaded term in technology. It implies something so simplistic, so standardized, and so cheap, you don’t even need to compare suppliers based on the product itself. The word brings to mind something you trade in bulk, like pork bellies or orange juice.

No tech vendor wants to sell something commoditized, and even technology buyers and consultants will shy away. After all, where’s the challenge and innovation? Read More. I hear with some regularity that web content & experience management (WCM) technology has become commoditized. As someone who’s followed the market for a couple decades now, that term certainly pricks up my ears. But it’s simply not true, and woe to any digital leader that treats WCM capabilities as a commodity. Read More.




| CMS Wire | Real Story Group launches free martech assessment tool | MarTech

Built on the firm's Real Score platform, the tool is a 15 minute survey about operations, content, data, decisioning and technology.

One thing every marketer wants to know is how effective their marketing is. A new, free tool from independent analyst firm Real Story Group is designed to show them just that.

Tony Byrne, president of RSG (and a MarTech contributor), said the tool came about because marketing executives reported getting an increasing number of questions about effectiveness.

Read more.

| CMS Wire | How Effective Are Marketers at Using Martech Tools?

Marketers spend a lot on martech tools, but just how effective are they and their friends at using these martech tools?

The Gist

  • Are we good at martech? Marketers are significantly investing in martech tools to enhance their email, content campaigns and digital experiences, but is it worth it?
  • Measuring martech effectiveness. Real Story Group has introduced an online benchmarking service aimed at helping marketers assess the effectiveness of their martech stacks, particularly beyond just marketing attribution and return on ad spend.
  • Navigating challenges for optimal martech outcomes. The evolving martech landscape brings challenges like achieving internal alignment across tech, data, IT and marketing operations, managing customer data privacy and contending with data and content deficiencies.

Marketers need martech tools to produce their emails, content campaigns and web and digital experiences. They spend a lot of money to do so, too. Martech tool spending in the United States is forecast to increase further over this year and next, reaching $27.11 billion in 2024.

That spending has to make sense, though, and one martech advisory and analyst firm wants to show marketers how they're doing with their martech tools and stacks against their peers. Real Story Group today released an online benchmarking service. It's a freemium service with a paid upgrade for special access and services.

Martech Tools Effectiveness: What's Your Score? Read to find out.



| MarTech | 3 prevailing themes pointing to a martech reset

I recently taught some martech workshops (in person!) and received numerous fascinating questions from stack leaders. Clearly, 2023 represents another year of great change as omnichannel aspirations take on higher priority and leaders continue to revisit their platform choices amid growing hype around artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Here’s my take on three clusters of questions and topics that arose:

  • CDP programs as stalking horses for customer data modernization.
  • Rethinking your engagement tier.
  • Adtech-martech integration.

Each topic has its own value and some cases, urgency. But together, the answers reflect a broader reset occurring across enterprise martech stacks. Read more.

| MarTech | The future of outbound marketing in an omnichannel stack

Enterprises want key services to operate omnichannel, yet outbound marketing platforms are becoming outdated. Here's how it might change.

The growing importance of omnichannel consumer engagement impacts all levels of the enterprise martech stack. Greater composability clarifies useful service boundaries, enabling enterprises to right-size their martech investments in nearly every domain. Outbound marketing has probably evolved the least in these respects.

Understood today as campaign and messaging management tech, outbound marketing represents a holdout against the broader evolutionary trend. Yet, vendors are not immune to structural changes taking place in martech — and this part of your stack may well become the least recognizable by the end of this decade.

Read More.

| MarTech | Should you use your data warehouse as your CDP?

There's a case for and against using your data warehouse as a customer data platform. Here are three ways to make it work.

The advent of cloud-based data warehouses (DWHs) has brought simpler deployment, greater scale and better performance to a growing set of data-driven use cases. DWHs have become more prevalent in enterprise tech stacks, including martech stacks.

Inevitably, this begs the question: should you employ your existing DWH as a customer data platform (CDP)? After all, when you re-use an existing component in your stack, you can save resources and avoid new risks.

But the story isn’t so simple, and multiple potential design patterns await. Ultimately, there’s a case for and against using your DWH as a CDP. Let’s dig deeper. Read More.


| Resume | The best and most useful overview of Martech I have ever seen

One of those who have come the furthest in their work to actually create clear, practically applicable tips and support regarding work with martech is American Tony Byrne and the company Real Story Group. The name of his own consulting firm came when, for many years, Tony challenged Gartner and Forrester's more sponsor-supported and commercially produced ways of designating the digitization industry's best actors in various product and service areas in graphs (Quadrants). The underlying model was not end-customer friendly enough, from which he developed his own, straighter and more honest evaluation methods. Even his latest overview of martech is straightforward, realistic and very good. Read More.

| MarTech | Why marketers are replacing foundational martech

With engagement technologies in place, marketers are now turning to the foundational layer for replacements.

Enterprises have been in kind of a replacement mood,” said Tony Byrne, founder of Real Story Group,  at The MarTech Conference.

The changes in customer behavior during the pandemic forced organizations to improve and update their engagement technology. That’s what our latest MarTech Replacement Survey showed.

Now, marketers are looking below the engagement layer in their stack, evaluating and replacing the foundational technology that powers the other layers.

The foundational layer 
More and more enterprises are investing in what we call ‘enterprise foundation’ services,” said Byrne. “These are systems that are not channel-specific. They live below your engagement platforms, and they help deliver a more omnichannel experience.”

Read More.


| CMS Wire | Apporv Durga on how to filter the right CDP short list
Exploring the lenses with which to filter Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and eliminate vendors that don't meet business needs.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are rapidly becoming a foundational technology piece in omnichannel martech stacks. They can also serve as a key component in broader digital transformation and customer experience (CX) initiatives.

Unfortunately for you the technology buyer, scores of products call themselves a “CDP,” and perhaps as many platforms in other categories have CDP-like capabilities. Naturally, almost every vendor claims to be a leader, challenger, largest, first, leading, global or some combination of these.

With this much noise in the marketplace, several issues arise, including:

  • Many prospective customers have the impression that most of these products are similar and there is not much to differentiate between them.
  • When evaluating CDPs for your requirements, it becomes difficult to create an initial shortlist of tools relevant for your requirements. Read More.





| MarTech | The future of headless web content management

A modern enterprise, particularly a large one, needs headless and coupled publishing capabilities.
Tony Byrne

Old-timers (like me!) in web content & experience management (WCM) will remember an early entrant called RedDot. Founded in Germany during the mid-1990’s, the platform originally had the somewhat prosaic label of “InfoOffice CMS.” Yet the plucky upstart boasted an important innovation: an in-context editorial interface showing the published page with the editable blocks marked off by a red dot 🔴that you would click to get a pop-up editorial window. Read More.



| | Real Story on MarTech: Beware of vendor bullying

Let’s say you work in martech for a large, well-known enterprise. It’s a global firm, a recognized brand. Ideally, you’d want to follow a structured, test-based approach for how you bring new technology into the enterprise, and you’d expect participating vendors to follow your lead in the vetting process — out of respect, if nothing else.

Well, reality can prove itself quite different. In Real Story Group’s role as a buyer’s advocate for martech stack leaders, we’ve noticed a recurring trend where larger software companies often disrupt well-reasoned martech selection strategies through aggressive and frequently questionable tactics.

Of course, none of this is new, and perhaps vendor bullying today is more subtle than in years past — but it remains just as persistent. Read More.


| | Real Story on MarTech: Why are vendor marketplaces so fragmented?

When I started as an industry analyst 20 years ago covering the web content and experience management (WCM) market, I marveled at the plethora and diversity of vendor start-ups. Well, some elder analysts clapped my shoulders and intoned, “Yeah, but how many will be around in five years? The market will consolidate, so you need to pick winners.” No doubt they were extrapolating from their experience with other industries — notably ERP, but maybe CRM too — where vendor oligopolies did emerge.

Yet, the story of the WCM market, and the marketing tech space more generally, is that consolidation by and large has not happened. If you follow the progression of Scott Brinker’s famous logo chart you’ll note not just the expansion of categories, but also the almost vertigo-inducing number of logos within each particular box. What’s going on? And how should you the enterprise marketing tech leader respond to a world of highly fragmented marketplaces?

I can think of at least six reasons why “industry consolidation” has been less the norm in the martech world. Read more.



| | The Real Story on MarTech: Where should personalization reside in your new stack?

This first of three articles on personalization at scale explores the right place for personalization services in your marketing technology stack

Online personalization as a concept has been with us for more than two decades, but recent developments have elevated its importance for martech leaders:

  • Greater attention to test and optimization leading to demands for more “always-on” personalization programs;
  • Better access to customer data and segments, opening up possibilities for more targeted experiences in any digital setting;
  • Emergence of AI and ML-based approaches for automating personalization logic; and
  • Heightened customer expectations for relevancy, leavened by experience with major consumer platforms like Netflix.

| CMS Wire | CDP Trends: The Market Bounces Back After a Slow 2020

Customer Data Platform (CDP) providers saw a growth resurgence of sorts in the past six months. The CDP industry continued to expand in the first half of 2021, adding 20 vendors for a total of 151, more than 1,200 employees and $550 million in funding, according to the released last month by the CDP Institute.

The growth represents a jump-start to an industry that saw a “brief slowdown” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than year ago, according to David Raab, founder of the CDP Institute.  “Everybody kind of froze last year when things first came down,” Raab told CMSWire. “...The world did not end, and it turned out there's a lot of demand for this stuff because everybody's doing digital transformation, and digital transformation requires good customer data.”



| | The Real Story on MarTech: Ask the Right Reference Questions

Before evaluating a martech solution, be ready with a methodical approach and a set of key questions.

When selecting vendors or services firms, martech buyers ask for references often, but check them rarely. Perhaps you believe you already learned enough from your peers, or perhaps you trust your gut instincts on a platform or vendor. However, when you skip this step, you miss an opportunity to enrich your understanding of a solution and supplier, which can hinder your evaluation, but also potentially slow down the actual implementation.

Based on two decades of helping large enterprises select the right martech platforms, I believe martech customers should overcome any reticence and arm themselves with a methodical approach. A savvy reference checker will employ a variety of different approaches and questions to obtain a richer and more transparent view of potential suppliers. Moreover, reference checking is invaluable when it transcends simple lists of strengths and weaknesses to uncover broader issues of supplier “fit” for you. And it’s all about fit!

So I’m happy to share twenty-five specific questions for which my Real Story Group colleagues and I have experienced good results. But first, like any good campaign, you need to set it up right…



| | The Real Story on MarTech: 10 steps to making better vendor selection choices

Industry surveys over multiple decades have repeatedly shown that more than half of technology projects fail to meet their objectives — or just fail outright. My discussions with martech customers suggest their success rates are no better.

There are many reasons for this, but in my experience, most technology problems originate in the critical early stages of an initiative. Once the boat gets headed in a particular direction, it can be hard to steer it back on course.

Choosing the right vendor and technology for your marketing initiatives is one of the most critical decisions you can make in those early stages. The wrong choice won’t necessarily doom a project, but it can make success much more difficult to achieve.

In the end, selecting technology better means selecting better-fitting technology. Here’s a look at 10 steps for doing just that. Read More.



| | Real Story on MarTech: Sometimes the biggest vendors carry the biggest risks

In 2019 when IBM suddenly let go of nearly all its martech portfolio, I joked that it reversed an ancient adage: while perhaps “no one ever got fired for recommending Big Blue,” it turns out IBM can fire you. Yet, IBM was not alone. Big martech vendors — even successful ones — routinely jettison or replace longstanding tools.

Yet, when it comes to perceived viability and stability, enterprise customers often fear smaller martech players. Early in my career as an industry analyst, I noticed that some of the best web content and experience management (WCM) solutions came from lesser-known vendors. Upon hearing this, my industry elders would pull me aside and say, “sure, but how much longer will that WCM vendor be around?” It’s a tough question to answer, because of course no one can ever really know, and martech marketplaces are highly fragmented. (“Fragmented” is analyst-speak for, you have a hell of a lot of choices!) Read More.



| | The Real Story on MarTech: Beware “Roof Rack” CDPs

A couple week’s ago in RSG’s inaugural MarTech column, I made the case for refactoring your MarTech stack to focus on lower level “Foundational Services.” Today let’s dig deeper into what that means for your manifold customer data platform technology choices. Read more.

RSG chart showing martech services model