Futurevision 2021 - A Look Ahead

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    Right now, I’m listening to Harry Conick, Jr., rereading some of my past Futurevision posts, and wading through a shallow pool of melancholy. Entrepreneurship seems to do that from time to time and I am well acquainted.

    On February 20th Marketpath turns 20 years old - a very sobering fact to me considering I never really wanted to be here. I never wanted to operate a lifestyle company. I am too curious and have too many ideas to sit idly in one company.

    Luckily, I still enjoy what I do every day and the countless relationships we’ve built with all of our customers. I get to come up with new ideas, plan & build software (although very little building these days), create and refine business processes, nurture the development of our staff, and much more. So, even though I’m always looking forward, I’ve mostly learned to be content with the opportunities Marketpath presents every day.

    Even though 2020 was a slow, cumbersome year, several things have changed with Marketpath that give me a lot of hope. First, we released our long awaited package manager. This was a huge milestone in the evolution of Marketpath CMS and we’ve started building packages to use on new and existing sites. We had many other noteworthy achievements in 2020 but this post is supposed to look toward the future. So enough reflection. Here we go.

    Product Updates

    Q1 2021

    Email Integration - we’re adding the capability to send email from your own domain based on site events. For example, when a visitor submits a form, you can send them a followup message confirming the submission and giving you another opportunity to deliver your value proposition. This effort is broken into three phases and will likely require the entire first quarter.

    Q2 2021

    Template Builder - you will be able to build your own templates in a somewhat visual manner. We have no plans to become a low-end website builder, but we do want to empower non-technical marketers with the capability to customize templates without having to call a developer.

    Continuous Deployment - Marketpath CMS has evolved into a mature and feature rich content marketing platform, so we need a mature and more automated delivery process for new features and bug fixes. Continuous deployment allows developers to check in their code and then trigger automated testing and one-click releases to production. This means more frequent feature releases and enhancements and fewer bugs.

    Q3-Q4 2021

    Gallery Refactor - a redesign and rebuild of the way galleries are created and managed. This is a currently underutilized feature and somewhat of a relic from our old CMS. We want to revise so it’s easier to use and manage.

    Gallery & Form Fields - add the ability to add custom fields to galleries, gallery items, and forms, so users can customize their appearance and behaviors. We can do this currently if a gallery or form has a URL, which pulls custom fields from a template. But more often than not, galleries and fields are inserted onto existing pages and rarely have their own URL. An example of custom fields for a gallery would be setting the height & width, slide speed, and transition style.

    Site Scanner & Dashboard - We want to provide a glimpse into the visitor activity on your site, as well as a way to identify site errors, such as, broken links, missing title tags, and slow loading pages.

    Company Plans

    Giving Back - This is one of our core values and we always give back to the community in various ways. Admittedly, however, we have not done as much as I’d like over the last couple of years, aside from a couple regular charitable causes. This year, I’m committing to a direct and more hands-on approach to giving back and plan to involve employees and customers. No specifics just yet, but look for upcoming announcements related to this and how you can get involved.

    I have a number of other plans to improve Marketpath, like sales, marketing, and general operations. But those are unexciting and not really worth getting into. We still have a lot of work to do to become the company we want to be and this requires constant review of how we operate and support our customers.

    So, cheers to the new year and what will hopefully be a significant improvement over the tumult of 2020.


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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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