By Brian Howard
Peter Tait was a customer of enterprise content management (ECM) solutions provider Documentum. (ECM solutions allow companies with far-flung sites and branches to manage and maintain shared documents.) "I provided feedback to Documentum about the customer perspective … and made suggestions about improvements to that customer relationship," says Tait. "I like to joke that I made one suggestion too many." Now he's the company's vice president of eBusiness strategy. At the Direct Marketing to Business conference in Orlando in March, Tait discussed how the company is using online channels to create community and "market by not marketing."
Target Marketing: Because ECM is not a simple concept, you've included educational features on your Web site. How does that facilitate personalization?
Peter Tait: We thought about how to segment the people who are visiting the site, and the key was understanding that there are broad groups of people. [There are] those that have a specific initiative and are aware of one of the various flavors of the content management space. … But there's a whole class who may come upon us because they think they have some sort of initiative that might be a content management problem, but they're certainly not content management experts. And then we have other segments, like our customers. … We wanted to make sure that the Web site at least had paths for each one of those groups to follow.
TM: You said that on the Web Documentum takes the approach of "marketing by not marketing." How did that concept come about?
Tait: That concept I had learned about through marketing to technical communities, developer communities specifically. … There are very specific audiences, like developers, that are very much turned off by things that smack of traditional marketing. … By delivering non-marketing technical information in a way that's brand consistent and wrapped in marketing voice, if you like, we get to do both. We build the relationship, we do marketing by not marketing, and we make the customer successful.
TM: Documentum has built something of a community around its products. What was the model for this approach?
Tait: Documentum was very much a poster child for the early Geoffrey Moore "crossing the chasm" concept of identifying market segments where you could win, and using a win in each one to help you reach the next one. I think part of the secret of community for Documentum is that we have strong penetration into some marketplaces, so we have users with a strong common set of interests. Look at the life sciences space for example: There are a lot of Documentum customers solving very similar problems in that space.