Thursday, October 8, 2009

Do Labels Matter? Some Thoughts from a Shiny New Marketing Exec

Yesterday more industry buzz about some of the shifts and disruption in the ranks of the ECM/CMS world - including a couple of comments about my new role as CMO at Nuxeo.

First some good questions posed by Ron Miller, in an editorial for FierceContentManagement: "Does the Open Source Label Still Matter?"

...and then some thought-provoking comments from Tony Byrne in his Trendwatch blog for CMSWatch, "Software Empires Striking Back".

After thinking to myself, "Whoa, like, no pressure, eh?" and crawling out from under the covers, I sat down and really thought about what kind of shift is going on out there.

  • Ron is right - the product is the product is the product. Peel back the layer of 'brand' and 'voice' and 'label' and ultimately the issue is that business people are choking on content overload and want things to get better. Good product has to find the audience who needs it. Good product should not have any hidden surprises or catches when someone wants to use it. Good product deserves to be used without the hoops and loops and nightmarish license negotiation and oh-so-predictable quarterly discounting charades that is pervasive across most segments of the enterprise software business. If you like what Nuxeo produces, you just go get it. Here, in fact: . Tell them I sent you..because like Ron says, this is how I'll be judged ;-)
  • Tony is right - Better story-telling doth not make for better software. But good software that doesn't have a good story is a tree falling in the forest. Nuxeo has invested in an ECM foundation that was built for this century - not the last one. Yeah, yeah, we scale big for lots of content and lots of users... but guess what? we scale really lean and small and skinny too. We've entered the world of mobile, social, decentralized enterprises. And their needs are new. This is the part that made me go "hmm" when I started learning about the Nuxeo offering. And beyond story-telling, I'm heads down figuring out the priorities for lead gen, analyst relations, product branding, launch checklists, learning a new WCM application and helping expand the North American team.
So do does the label "open source" matter? Well, yes, but not for the usual reasons. Ultimately feature for feature Nuxeo needs to compete on how good it is, not because it has open source as its development and licensing model. Companies in the information economy have specific ECM needs - we have to meet those requirements to do our job.

Where it *does* matter, however, is the inherent flexibility the open source model gives, because Nuxeo is committed to innovation. Our own core development is augmented by partners and customers - it is the living breathing example of the social marketplace in action. The barriers to customer engagement and evolving requirements disappear. Cost and time to market become an advantage as we keep up with the shift in how content is created and consumed across enterprise.

I really recommend you read some of our CEO's thoughts on why this business model works - here's Eric's blog: or follow him on twitter @ebarroca.


  1. Tony Byrne's right to point out that "Better story-telling doth not make for better software."

    But I can imaging that, as a Marketing professional, it would be frustrating to pour one's talent into creating a story which is dissonant with the reality of the product.

    Red Hat is a wonderful example of a company whose marketing message is in perfect synchrony with the product and business. That's rare. I'd like to be a part of something like that one day!

  2. my grandmother used to say BINGO!

    I agree that removing engagement barriers and expanding requirements, not only exploit cost and time to market. However, I also believe that this process produces a conducive environment whereas ECM vendors gain enterprise wide usage, and reap a perfect entrée to procure diversified customer solutions, thus gaining customer marketshare.