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Hindsight 2020 - A Look Back

December 31, 2020 by Matt Zentz

If you’ve ever had a recurring injury or some other sort of chronic, nagging pain, this is what it feels like to write this post. 2020 has been a thorn, lodged into Marketpath’s heel, with few ways to remove it.

At the beginning of 2020, in my Futurevision 2020 post, I actually wrote “I have this gut feeling that it's going to be a breakout year for Marketpath.” In a way it was, except that everyone broke out of the office and worked from home for half the year instead of breakout sales. I will avoid such comments going forward.

Like I said, 2020 has been a persistent thorn. We could walk but we couldn’t run. And so here we are, in much the same place we were almost one year ago, except with a few bright spots of encouragement and hope.

Product Releases

Completed Plans

We had some golden plans in place for 2020. We accomplished nearly everything in our Q1 product updates.

  • Marketer features. We implemented a number of SEO improvements to help users achieve better search engine rankings.
  • Default Parent Paths. This seems small but satisfied the OCD side of me. All blog posts, datastore items, calendar events, and folder objects now inherit the parent path, if set. This helps maintain unique paths (e.g. “/blog/my-post” or “/events/some-event”), as well as a small bump to SEO.
  • Package Manager. This one was huge and we haven’t even scratched the surface in its usage and benefits. It took us several years to reach the point where we could release the package manager. Now we have full site packages, gallery and form packages, utility packages, XML site map packages, and much more. This is truly a beautiful thing that allows you to maintain a package in a single place, similar to a git repository, and deploy new versions automatically to every site that utilizes it.
  • Help Site Courses & Documentation. We completely revised our help site to make it easier to find content and learn about Marketpath CMS. New training courses were deployed, more intuitive documentation, and several other additions.

Incomplete Plans

  • Package Manager Market. This would allow packages to be purchased one-time or on a recurring subscription basis.
  • Site Dashboard. This has been in the plans for a while and we keep pushing it back, however, it will finally make the cut this year (I hope). We decided we have some behind-the-scenes work to do before we build it.
  • Smart Fast Cache. This is a much more complex version of our existing Fast Cache feature. Instead of caching entire pages, it only caches portions of pages that do not require just-in-time execution (like getting the date and time or showing content based on the authenticated user). Fast Cache has proved incredibly fast for the majority of our sites so we’re ok pushing this feature off a while longer.
  • Content Editor Visitor Personalization. Setting up personas and scenarios and then personalizing content for those personas. Not sure when or if this will hit the development cycle.
  • Continuous Integration. This involves the automatic deployment of bug fixes, feature additions, and other coding changes. This is on the current plan for the first half of the new year (2021).

Unplanned

We did push out some new features we hadn’t planned at the beginning of the year.

  • Automated Image Compression. We were tired of manually compressing images and tired of getting dinged on page speed scoring tools when we didn’t. Now, every image uploaded to Marketpath CMS is automatically compressed using a lossless compression algorithm. However, Marketpath CMS users can change this to use a lossy algorithm to achieve even smaller image sizes. This was a huge win for us, saving marketers and editors a great deal of time.
  • Profiles. Marketpath CMS Profiles let you create customer portals, intranet sites, and other dynamic sites that require user authentication.
  • Fieldsets. Now you can easily create repeatable custom content for any object within Marketpath CMS. We call these fieldsets and they are amazing and flexible making life for content editors much easier.
  • Site Migration Tool. The site migration tool allows us to migrate content from any website (regardless of the backend CMS) and push it into a Marketpath CMS site. This is a huge time saver compared to manually migrating content.

You can read more about our product updates by visiting the Marketpath CMS Recent Updates blog.

Other Company Highlights

COVID-19. We’ve done a lot of work for our clients to help with COVID-19 announcements and site changes. We’ve also encouraged all of our customers to continue marketing because now was the time to continue promoting their message. If they waited until all the quarantines and restrictions eased up, it might be too late.

COVID-19 slowed us down for sure. Even with our encouragement to customers, a lot of projects and ongoing marketing initiatives were put on hold. So, we buckled down and worked on internal projects when we weren’t billable. One of those was the site migration app mentioned above.

Remote Work. Like much of the world we went remote for about 6 months. For some of us, it worked better for maintaining a family and work life balance and they continue that today. For others, home arrangements weren’t as conducive to being productive, so they came back to the quiet office.

For me, I enjoy both working from home and working in the office. There are pros and cons to each and I try to strike a proper balance. When I work from home, I avoid the extra hour plus of driving and get to see my family more. I’ve cherished those lunchtime chats with my wife and kids. But I also miss out on the comradery and working closely with our staff.

Launching Strategic Niche Market Partner. We were planning to hold off on our niche market initiatives but we had one jump into our lap in the 4th quarter. Our niche market efforts are geared toward companies that provide industry-specific services and manage many websites. This new partner gave us a reason to shift plans and begin focused sales & marketing to these providers.

New Email Marketing & Automation Platform. We started using ActiveCampaign in January for email marketing, automation, and CRM. The CRM has a lot of room to grow but works ok for a small team. The email marketing and automation, however, is top notch and well built. We have integrated it within Marketpath CMS to provide new user drip campaigns, subscription management, and other event-based automations, such as recording last login, new site creation, and agency sign up.

Strategic Digital Marketing Partners. One of my favorite initiatives was kicking off our strategic digital marketing partner directory. This isn’t fully completed or launched, but when it is, it will be a great resource for companies to search qualified agencies, see what projects they’ve worked on, and connect them.


All in all, 2020 wasn’t a complete bust. It certainly wasn’t the banner year we’d hope it would be. Just as we rolled out our sales & marketing initiatives in March and April the coronavirus took a stranglehold on the world.

But thousands of website developers and digital marketing folks have now heard of us and continue to engage at some level. Our goal is to become the obvious remedy for slow, buggy, and unreliable CMS platforms. In 2020, we’ll keep pounding the virtual pavement and getting our name out there.

 

Related Tags: Tech Industry News, Marketing Industry News, Marketpath CMS News

Matt Zentz, founder of Marketpath

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, and supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog. He coaches various kid sports, enjoys building furniture, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is very active within his church community and several area not-for-profits.

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