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Despite all the Deals, Customer Announcements Remain Difficult

As I reflect on what appears to have been a record year for many CTRM vendors in terms of activity levels and new deals and customers, one thing has not changed and that is the number of official press announced deals. Those remain a pretty small number. The issue seems to be that customers simply do not feel good about endorsing publicly a CTRM software product.

The number of conversations I have had with various marketing, sales and Business Development staff at vendors in which they expressed hope of a set of forthcoming press announcements have been many and varied. Yet, many of those announcements never materialised. Some vendors actually have the concept of an official announcement in their license or usage contract for customers. Despite this, many are still unable to gain agreement from customers to write an official announcement complete with quotes from both sides. Instead, analysts are told possibly details under non-disclosure and public discussion is limited to vague terms like, for example, a Dubai-based producer came on board recently.

For vendors, the inability to get customers to agree to basic detail press announcements is a bit of a blow. Many vendors are quite small and are locked in a constant competitive battle which, in the absence of real vetted news, becomes a vacuum filled with rumour instead. Being able to announce the basics of customer wins can be a shot in the arm for a small and relatively unknown vendor and is certainly beneficial for even large, well known vendors. So what exactly is the issue?

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Whatever the issue is, it has been that way since the time I was a Marketing Veep back in the late 90’s. The struggle to get customers to agree to a press announcement or even worse, a case study, has been a constant feature of the CTRM software segment.

The reluctance seems to stem in some part from the possibility, remote or otherwise, that the implementation fails or is suboptimal. The press announcement is a timeless momento of a possible mistake or set of mistakes that no one ever wants to be reminded of. Could it also be that the historical privacy of what are often private companies also plays a role in this reluctance? Whose business is it to know the details of what software a trading firm uses after all? Who knows what the risks associated with such an announcement might be? Some are public companies and such an announcement falls under the auspices of a whole set of rules and guidelines and is thus difficult.

There are two sides to every story and in this instance, while the vendor is keen to market success in the form of new and well-known customers, the customers do not often seem to share this enthusiasm for public discourse.