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Buckets of fun: Segmenting knowledge management markets

As a new marketing hire at Inmagic, I’ve spent the last couple of months doing what most marketers do when they join a new company. I’ve read analyst reports and blog postings through and through, trying to find and understand the sweet spot: that "ideal" segment we fit into.

We do this to proclaim to the world we are identifiable, accepted, and bucketed. We do this so people easily understand who our competitors are and who they are not. The problem is, it's often very difficult to place yourself into a pre-defined bucket, and doing so can cause all manner of angst!

It can make you feel like the playing chip in Plinko on "The Price is Right." You drop the chip into a maze of pegs, where it bounces crazily around, until it randomly falls into a slot. Once in the slot, it doesn't move. It's "happy."

Trying to place your company and its products into a segment or bucket is similar, as you eagerly search for the right slot to drop into. So, by my estimation, into what bucket do we fall? Well, we definitely fall into the knowledge management bucket. But that's a BIG bucket that no one company, product, or service can fill.

We need to find a bucket within the KM bucket. Looking more closely, we have the document management bucket. The enterprise content management bucket. Or is that the same as the knowledge management bucket? And is it large or small?

Then there's the Web content management bucket. But is that the same as or different from enterprise content management?

You get the picture! (All this talk of buckets make me wish I was at the beach!) The task is inherently difficult because, often, for many vendors, the value they give customers simply can't be bucketed.

In fact, many large, well-known vendors started out without putting their offering in a bucket, and went on to define their own segment. So how do you proceed?

At the end of the day, for any sales professional, what matters is that you are clearly communicating the value you bring to your customers, in their own language. Customers don’t care what bucket you're in. They care about finding ways to solve their business problems, and advance their business agenda.

So as I look at Inmagic and our Social Knowledge Network strategy, I am less concerned about understanding the bucket or segment or three-letter acronym that we neatly place ourselves into. I am more concerned about communicating the value that we bring to an organization struggling to address real business information problems.

Problems such reducing waste in fruitless searches for information, complying with regulatory standards, capturing and reusing their critical intellectual property, eliminating information silos, capturing (indeed, leveraging) the wisdom of corporate communities, and so on.

That's one bucket we can all take to the bank -- and the beach.


Peter Smee said...

John gets the 'Yeah for the day' from me with this post. Peter Smee, Trimagic Software, Sydney Australia

Can we get this done by the end of the month.... said...


I hereby anoint you the official company blogger. In 2 short months you have hit the proverbial nail on the head!


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