Futurevision 2020 - A Look Ahead

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    Explorer pointing to the horizon

    I finally saw Hamilton this past weekend and was awestruck by the talent, choreography, music, and especially the story - which is really the whole point of the production. The story of Alexander Hamilton is truly inspiring, as is the story of his widow, Eliza, after his death. If you haven't had a chance to see the musical I recommend you find a way. The characters and their music bring diverse cultural influences into the fray that weave in and out like a warm, comfortable quilt. 

    So I begin the new year with fresh inspiration and a well thought out plan to follow. With the start of a new decade upon us (or is it?), I have this gut feeling that it's going to be a breakout year for Marketpath. I know that sounds cliché but we've done so much work to get to this point. Our platform now packs more benefits than most digital marketing agencies need.

    Of course, we do have grand plans for new features so I'll lay these out below. 

    Product Updates

    Q1 2020

    • Marketer Features. We'll be adding SEO features for word count, search engine preview, recommendations, mass editing capabilities, and more.
    • Default Parent Paths. Ability to set and enforce default parent paths by blog, datastore, calendar, and folder. For example, all blog posts should start with "/blog/"
    • Package Manager. Ability to create new packages in Marketpath CMS and use those packages on sites.
    • Help Site Courses & Documentation. New basic and deep dive courses for editors and developers. Revised developer documentation for Liquid syntax. 

    Q2 2020

    • Package Manager Market. The ability to create packages and require one-time or recurring payments for the use of the package. 
    • Site Dashboard. A site dashboard that will show site notifications, like pages with missing title tags, broken links, etc. It will also show page view counts, form submission counts, API usage, automation highlights, and much more. 

    Q3-Q4 2020

    We try not to plan our product more than 6 months ahead because priorities can change quickly. But here are some potential features we'll be adding.

    • Smart Fast Cache. This will cache only parts of templates and pages while leaving some to be rendered on request. This must keep track of all objects and where they're used. 
    • Content Editor Visitor Personalization. Adding the ability to setup personas and persona lifecycle stages. With these, an editor (i.e. non-developer), with just a few clicks of the mouse, can setup alternate content for each persona or stage. The goal is to drive the visitor deeper into the prospect funnel after each significant conversion.
    • Continuous Integration. This is a tech phrase that essentially means when new code is checked in, it is automatically deployed to a staging environment where automated tests are performed, and if all pass, a production deployment is prepared and ready to deploy with just the push of a button.

    Plans to Give Back

    Every year we take one or two not-for-profits under our belts to design, develop, and implement a new website. Typically these are provided at no cost to the not-for-profit. Here are a few new programs we are adding in 2020 to give more.

    • Agency Not-for-profit Client Initiative. For verified charitable 501(c)(3) organizations, Marketpath will provide free Starter plans
    • College & High School Initiative. Working with college and high school computer science, informatics, and similar courses, promote Marketpath CMS as a free platform for students to learn and improve their web development skill set.

    Company Plans

    Company plans are much less sexy than new product features and charitable contributions but they can have significant impact on everything. Here are a few highlights of our bigger moves.

    • New Project Management Platform. For over a decade we have used our own internal project management tool called Nexus. While fairly comprehensive, it has been getting harder to keep updated because of its age. And this year, with our giant list of internal projects it will be nearly impossible to keep track of all the moving parts. We'll still use the support and other HR related features it provides but all project management will be moved out to a new platform.
    • Sales & Marketing. We have our best sales & marketing plan ready to go for 2020. It's huge and daunting. It's full of so many great strategies and objectives that executing only half should lead us to the breakout year my gut is telling me will happen.
    • Support. Next to a robust, reliable product platform, providing high-quality, responsive support is our 2nd highest priority. We're making several changes to support, such as automated post-support surveys to track customer sentiment.
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    About the Author

    Matt Zentz

    Matt Zentz launched Marketpath from a small Broad Ripple bungalow in February 2001 with a focus on custom web application development. He built the first, basic version of a hosted CMS called Webtools and shortly afterward expanded his team and created the first version of Marketpath CMS.

    Matt has worked for a national consulting firm, taught computer programming to high school juniors and seniors , and led the information technology arm of the auxiliary business units at Indiana University.

    Matt graduated from Indiana University in 1999 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has built custom web applications since 1995. Matt is husband to an amazing & supportive wife, has three beautiful children, supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog, and mostly tolerant victim of 2 flying rats (cockateils).

    He coaches various kid sports, enjoys furniture and home renovation projects, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is also active with his church as a parishioner, technical advisor and board member on the festival committee.

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