Aaron Dun feels marketer's pain. In his role as Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Web CMS provider Percussion Software, Dun sees a lot of people “who are stuck.”  

Stuck in a cycle of content creation and publication where quick and easy access to the company website is crucial.

Marketers are in immense pain. They can’t move fast enough. They're trapped in the cycle of not publishing content fast enough, they can’t get content to their entire web infrastructure -- they’re stuck -- they need to drive more business through their website”

As the channels by which a marketer can reach customers expand, so grow marketers' responsibilities. While the company's website has become the prime location for informing and engaging potential customers, its base still firmly lies in the realm of the IT department. And software providers are scrambling to find the solution.

Most of the hot applications out there have been built with this in mind: to help marketing get their job done faster and to keep IT out of their way, free to work on their own projects. Cooperation is necessary between the two and while Dun notes the move towards shared objectives in the last few years, he also points out that they are still separate workstreams. Marketing has its hands full, IT has its hands full and neither wants to do the other’s job.

The Role of Marketing Automation

shutterstock_95024107.jpg If you’re a carpenter, you could probably use a rolling pin to drive a nail in a wall, but at the end of the day, a hammer would do the job better.

Dun sees similar things happening in the content marketing world. “Marketers are a resilient bunch -- we see roadblocks and find ways around them.” One tactic he's witnessed is the use of marketing automation to circumvent IT.

Certain base functions in a Web CMS, such as the commerce engine, fall under the domain of  IT pushing the web into a "dark op" for marketers as Dun puts it. Marketers employ blogs, microsites -- different workarounds to avoid crossing into IT's territory. Circumventing IT through the use of marketing automation to publish content on websites ignores what it's good for -- nurturing leads through the sales funnel, managing leads, targeting landing pages. And it doesn't accomplish what direct access to content publication can provide: reaching potential clients before they know who you are.

... content marketing and content management in our world is about using the content to get found faster -- getting out and connecting with people who don’t know who you are.”

One System Does Not Fit All

It’s not that Aaron Dun doesn’t see Marketing Automation as complementary with Web Experience Management, it’s just that he doesn’t think "one uber-platform" is practical for most of the people out there: "The idea that there's going to be one application out there that can do all that is going to be a stretch."

... Many companies have already invested heavily in MA and CRM and are not looking to replace those functions. They will likely work to optimize them, tie them together more specifically, enhance the connection points, but not start over with a single application that does those two functions, and then add on a third."

Dun names a few factors why an integrated platform is not the best fit for most people:

  • Cost -- How many people are willing or able  to forget investments in their CRM, Marketing Automation, Content Management systems in the hopes that a one stop solution will answer their problems? 
  • Complexity -- What risks does having one system for diverse IT and marketer needs create as opposed to a decoupled architecture? How can one system meet the different goals and needs of the IT and marketing department and can that system do it well? 
  • Time -- How long does it take to do a needs assessment, build the application, deploy, use and get value from -- and how much has the web and their clients changed in the mean time? 

Percussion sees these systems as remaining separate, but integrated in terms of what they can do. Web content management will remain under the purview of IT and Content, Marketing Automation and CRM will stay outside. 

The content marketing engine is Percussion's solution. It sees content and content marketing as a strategic pillar alongside the Marketing Automation system, the CRM systems, all riding on top of the base layer of Web Applications, which is left to the developers. It favors agility for the content marketer, running your content marketing initiatives from planning, to authoring, to publishing and measuring. This is an experience designed with the marketer in mind. 

Expectations have changed as the web has changed. People are no longer willing to wait 12 months while a new platform is designed and built. They won't wait because the market won't wait. Percussion is betting on agility as a key to moving forward.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, Dun believes this comes down to process, not technology. People who seek solutions from one technology after another should take time to step back and examine how they got to this position, "if they aren't thinking about the business process that led themselves to be in this position, technology is not going to solve that .... What is it that you are trying to achieve on the web and how ... are you set up to achieve those goals?"