Exclusive Interview with Episerver's CMO James Norwood
Hot on the heels of Episerver's acquisition of Peerius, the digital experience provider announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire a provider of omnichannel campaign management and customer intelligence solutions, Optivo, in an effort to enhance Episerver's omnichannel campaign management and email marketing capabilities.
I have reached out to James Norwood, Executive Vice President Strategy, CMO at Episerver, to encapsulate all of the recent events paired with his exclusive commentary:
As Norwood mentioned during the interview, at the end of the day, the reason for all the efforts the company has been putting into enhancing its product, is to help its customers execute their marketing and merchandising strategies faster and more effectively. The logic behind the acquisition of Optivo is to combine its multidimensional segmentation and event triggering with Peerius’ machine learning-based predictive analytics technology. Ultimately, with the new capabilities gained from the recent acquisitions, Episerver expects to provide omnichannel immersive experiences and help its users create and execute more contextually relevant customer interactions across channels.
The company said that the acquisition of Optivo addresses marketers' greatest needs. Moreover, it cited the result of Forrester’s survey that concludes understanding customer behavior across channels and devices as the biggest challenge marketers expect will face in the next two years. To address this concern, I believe that Optivo is a great fit as its omnichannel solutions are developed to assist marketers to build, manage, launch, and monitor marketing campaigns through seamless and boundless digital experience across multiple channels and devices.
Content plays a vital role in customer engagement as it is a business imperative to create, manage and deliver content to inform, inspire and engage prospects and customers. In fact, according to DemandGen Report – 2016 Content Preferences Survey, 47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson, and 51% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. In this regard, Norwood also touched on how Episerver lets businesses focus on their marketing and merchandising strategies by providing them many productive capabilities such as machine learning algorithm, marketing automation, personalization, and so on. Because, really, nothing is harder than dealing with the challenges associated with managing a multitude of content, and distributing that content globally in multiple languages if your marketing team doesn’t have the right tools.
I had also a chance to ask James Norwood about Episerver’s acquisition strategy, and he said that Episerver is not interested in buying many companies back to back and trying to integrate them at once. The company, instead, is very careful about delivering on newly acquired technologies and bringing their benefits to their customers more effectively. The reason that Episerver acquired Peerius and Optivo successively is because their technologies were a natural fit.
Another important highlight from the interview was Norwood’s opinions on the company’s second-year appearance in a row on the leaderboard in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WCM report. He believes that their strategy and the recent acquisitions will help the company continue to progress. He stressed that they will continue to listen to analysts and customers. I was also was very interested to hear his thoughts on one of the conclusions Gartner analysts made in the report as the comment is concerning the direction Episerver is heading: “Episerver's focus on offering one tool to empower marketers may seem dated to decision makers whose digital strategy transcends what was the initial emphasis of digital marketing.” He perfectly explained how Episerver also can incorporate other technologies that their customers are utilizing: “We have a platform, and it helps people be more productive but it does that by making sure it seamlessly works with the other technologies our customers have in play.”
How Does a CMS Support Omnichannel?
The announcement of Episerver’s acquisition of omnichannel marketing services provider Optivo also came on the heels of the CMS Insider segment of the most recent CMS-Connected Show aired on September 29th, and Industry Analyst Scott Liewehr gave us his in-depth insight on how a CMS supports omnichannel:
To support an omnichannel content strategy, organizations need agile technology capabilities that simplify global campaigns, improve the customer experience, and increase productivity for marketing managers. Therefore, I believe that we will continue to see many more vendors looking to acquire technologies to leverage their omnichannel capabilities.