Marketing Technology: The MarTech Landscape of Tools and Software (CXOTalk #249)

Welcome to Episode #249 of CxOTalk. I’m Michael Krigsman, an industry analyst
and the host of CxOTalk. Today, we are exploring the world of marketing
technology and our guest is… You know, I call him, “Mr. Martech,” because
he is the guy, more than anybody else, who popularized that term, and whose research
has done so much to extend our thinking about marketing technology. I want to thank Livestream for their massive
support of CxOTalk. And, if you go to,
they will give you a discount on one of their plans! So, do that. We have a tweet-chat that is going on right
now using the hashtag #cxotalk. And you can join in and ask Scott Brinker,
Mr. Martech, your questions and share your thoughts. And so, without further ado, Scott Brinker,
how are you doing? I’m good, Michael! Thanks for having me! Scott, you are […] this superhuman godlike
creature… [Laughter]
I don’t know if you’ve ever been called a “superhuman”… [Laughter]
I don’t know if you’ve ever been called a “superhuman, godlike creature,” but
you created this thing called marketing technology landscape, which, if you just search on “marketing
technology,” you’ll see it. Tell us about that and what do you do? Sure! Yes, so that crazy graphic that shows, at
the moment, about five thousand marketing technology companies, it had really humble
beginnings. So, for many years here, on my blog,,
I’ve been advocating how marketing organizations need to include more technical talent within
their team. That’s just the nature of marketing; it’s
become a technology-powered discipline, and so, back in 2011, I put together that first
slide just to show marketers all of the different kinds of tools and technologies that they
were becoming dependent on. And so, at the time, I found something like
150 different marketing technology tools and yeah, it had the exact effect I was hoping
it was! I was like, “Oh my goodness! One hundred and fifty different marketing
technology tools! How will we ever keep track of them all?” And then, it became a bit of an annual exercise
to say, “Okay! Well, we’re in 2012. How many are there?” And, “Oh my goodness! There are 350.” And a couple years later, it went up to 1,000,
and then 2,000 and yeah, now here for 2017, we’re looking at nearly 5,000. So yeah, kind of a wild industry out there. Okay! So, you’re researching 5,000 companies. Something I’ve always wondered, and now,
we’re going to get the chance to have it revealed, if you’ll reveal it to us, how
do you do that? How do you research so many companies and
you’re running a conference also. And you run a company. So, how is it possible? Yeah! Well, it’s not. Yeah, I think research is probably too high
of a verb to attribute to what I do, you know? So, the idea of that landscape is in no way
to analyze these 5,000 different firms. I’m not in the business of trying to pick
the winners or rank them relative to each other. That is a very lightweight look across the
entire landscape mainly just to give people a sense of the scope of all the different
companies that are at least out there putting themselves out on the internet as saying,
“Hey, we have a marketing technology solution that we’d like to offer folks.” So it’s still… That alone, even doing that lightweight, has
become a very large venture. It’s usually done over a series of months. This past year, I had the […] actually help
me with a bunch of the research on that as well, too. But, yeah! It’s […] a lot more than it was when it
was 150. And, we have a comment from Twitter. Shelly Lucas, whose Twitter handle is, I don’t
know if “Twitter handle” is the right term, is @pisarose, says she likes my nomenclature
for you, being a “superhuman, godlike creature.” And I want to let everybody know that I’m
not sure what Shelly is doing these days, but @pisarose is one of the best influencer
content marketers that I know. And, you should, if you need an influencer
content marketer, you should absolutely call her. Yeah, well she’s got my vote now! [Laughter]
Thank you […]! [Laughter] No, she’s really good. Okay! So, this marketing technology landscape, first
off, what do you… What do you define as “marketing technology?” Is that kind of a dumb question? Or, is that a reasonable question? Well, yes and no. Alright, so on one level, yeah, what is marketing
technology? Well, we know that the simple definition would
be the technology used for marketing. But, it turns out, actually, where things
get interesting is when you ask, “Well, what do you mean by ‘marketing’ and what do you
mean by ‘technology'” because let’s just take the marketing one for the moment. I mean, one of the things that are happening
here in the marketing profession and the marketing industry is just this incredible scope explosion,
right? I mean, marketing used to largely, once upon
a time, be almost synonymous with advertising. You know, PR and the folks who put together
the brochures, you know? And marketing still has all those responsibilities
as well, too. But, right in this digital environment, we’ve
added all these new things associated with the website, you know, mobile experiences;
how does customer experience live from the very beginning of a prospects-first touch
point all the way to, you know, ongoing customer success loyalty programs? You know, the whole social sphere; how does
that fit into that? How are we managing social relationships? Influencers, right, to Shelly… I mean, […] how companies go out and manage
the different people in their environment, too. They develop those relationships with the
help of the social space. I mean, I can go on and on, but the scope
explosion in marketing is one of the reasons there’s been an explosion of marketing technologies. So, if you look across that landscape, there
are just so many different kinds of activities and opportunities that marketers have in the
digital world that, yeah, the explosion of tools is simply a reaction to that to help
marketers deal with all of these new touchpoints. The explosion of marketing technology tools
reflects the reality that marketing tasks, activities, and tactics have become that much
more rich and complex. And in fact, though, when you start moving
into the role of data and personalization, it moves beyond pure marketing alone and so,
at what point is it no longer reasonable to even call this “martech” because it’s
actually something different? Yeah. I mean, I’ve wrestled with that for a long
time and my solution to it is to not worry too much about the labels. I think, you know, increasingly, we all understand
that to have a great brand, have a great business, you have to be able to deliver a really compelling
customer experience. Again, kind of from those very first touch
points, when people are just looking for things, are first researching things, they have some
sort of initial touch from you; what’s that first impression and then all the way through
their entire customer experience with you? You know, there’s a lot of different companies. You have different people who are trying to
lead and organize that new, holistic view of customer experience in a digital world,
but I think, increasingly, for a lot of companies, marketing is really at the center of that. Marketing is serving as the hub for really
understanding the customer across that journey and really helping to provide increasingly
the technologies, but even more so, that operational vision of how do we execute on that brand
province. So, customer experience; so, from your perspective,
customer experience is the heart of marketing today. Is that an accurate statement? I think aspirationally, absolutely. Aspirationally, meaning what? What does that mean? You know, it’s very easy to say we want
to deliver an amazing customer experience across the entire buyer’s journey. Actually, delivering that, as it turns out,
is incredibly difficult; incredibly challenging. For a lot of companies, they’re developing
new muscles. They’re developing as many changes to their
own culture and internal operational velocity to be able to live up to customer expectations
in this environment. So, yeah. That’s a process that, again, to embrace it
and say, “Hey! We want […] champion of a great customer
experience,” that’s a great place to start but actually developing a company’s capabilities
to live up to that promise, for most companies, that’s a multi-year journey. Don’t underestimate it! Well, not according to the vendors that I
see; the software vendors. Well, of course! There’s always a magical elixir and the
hero can quaff you, instantly jump, and defeat the dragon! That would be nice, that would be nice! You and I have talked about this bit before,
that if you think of a hierarchy of technology and then the process we wrap around the technology
and then the actual people and talent we have running and designing these processes, operating
that technology; you know, it’s sometimes easy to have the focus go in that direction. Like, we think “Alright! We’ll get the right technology and we’ll
figure out process and make some people […],” you know. And the attention focus goes down from there. But in reality, almost every organization
I’ve seen, the actual meaningful aspects of bringing this to life, is the complete
inverse. I mean, technology is the easiest part of
this equation. If you have a PO, if you have a credit card,
you can apply the technology and increasingly, the stuff actually even connects together
through APIs and a bunch of other fun stuff we can talk about. You know, you can get these things to connect! But then, it’s that organizational capital;
you build around that. The process, the people, and the new talent;
not just the particular talents for people but even thinking about how do you manage
an organization where marketing no longer operates at that cadence of a yearly marketing
plan, you know, quarterly executions? But instead, we’ve got this almost daily
evolution of, “Okay! What experiments are we running on these different
channels? What’s happening? You know, we’ve suddenly got a single something
through, you know, social media; is it an opportunity or a threat? Operating at that increased cycle speed for
marketing is just a very different kind of management environment. Yeah! So, the cycle speed of marketing today, if
you think about personalization, about almost real-time personalization, somebody visits
a website and there’s analytics; so, we’re tracking them on the site and we know where
they’ve been and we have predictive analytics that will present them the right type of choices,
it means that this is all happening instantaneously. A campaign is happening; there are a thousand
people on your site and there are a thousand different campaigns that are running. So, you talk about cycle time, that’s a
pretty short cycle time. Yeah! You know, and again, this is one of these
things where you can get as granular as you want. What’s kind of fitting at the moment here
is the limit to that, today, has largely been just our ability as humans, like how much
complexity can we manage with our human brains? And, we kind of tapped out; the state of marketing
in large organizations today, there is so much complexity to it that it’s really hard
to have an individual get their head around all the different moving parts. And what’s kind of exciting is , now that
we’re starting to see this generation of AI; I know this is an overhyped word; but
this idea of being able to turn over algorithms, increasingly the ability to come up with more
narrow definitions of audience segments, being able to personalize and dynamically experiment
with individual pieces of content and I rate far beyond what we would be able to keep track
of as humans. You know, letting some of that take over more
of these machine learning algorithms… It’s kind of a mixed bag! Like on one hand, it’s hopefully going to
pretend to make things a little easier for us as marketers, and we don’t have to, like,
manually be pulling all the levers and dials onto themselves. On the other hand, when we turn over more
of that experimentation, that optimization […], their ability to just have essentially
an order of magnitude, several orders of magnitude more possibilities that they can computationally
run through… The actual reality of marketing; what’s
actually happening between our brand and its interface to the world is likely to get much
more complex really quickly. We have an organizational question since we
are just talking about that, from Twitter. And, Arsalan Khan, actually he’s asking
two questions. So, number one, are you an enterprise architect
by background because you’re talking about holistically solving problems? So, what’s your background, Scott? I’m a software engineer by background, and
I have helped build enterprise systems but, yeah, I am not an enterprise architect today. And, my hats off to the people who are. Okay! And, his second question is, is it better
to have on your team a technical person who knows marketing, or vice-versa; a marketing
person who knows technology? I think it gets to the heart of how you organize
martech. Where does it fit? How do you organize it? What’s your recommendation and your thinking
about that, Scott? Yeah! I know, it’s a great question. And, a lot of companies are struggling with
this, right? I mean, new kinds of organizations require
new kinds of organizational structures. And that’s always a challenge. You know, this question of, like yeah, you
know, a technologist who learns marketing versus some marketer who learns technology;
it’s a little bit like those old Reese’s commercials of “chocolate in my peanut butter,
peanut butter in my chocolate.” On some level, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, okay, do you have people
who are responsible for your marketing operations, for your marketing technology capabilities
that really do understand both sides of that equation? You know, a lot of these marketing and technology
leadership positions do require a nontrivial amount of technical death, right? There is some actual architecture happening
here, right? We have to think through things like SLAs. Even if the marketing is running the technology
team under their organization, you know, this cannot be a rote group, right? It has to be interfacing with corporate IT. There were considerable issues here around
just governance. So, you know, having folks who understand
that is really, really important. I think that the one caveat I’d add to this
is while I think that marketing technologists need to have some pretty good technical chops,
whether they came originally from a marketing background or software background, but you
know, today, they need to have somehow acquired those technical chops. I don’t think that everyone in marketing
needs those kinds of technical chops. The analogy often used is like with graphic
design, right? Marketing uses graphic design and there are
amazing graphic designers! Hopefully, your marketing team has access
to one you want to leverage. And so, marketing as a whole needs to understand
that graphic design is an important part of what we do; we need to know who we’re going
to turn to for that resource. The rest of the organization needs to be able
to leverage it but not every marketer needs to be a brilliant graphic designer. It’s kind of the same thing with marketing
technology. Every marketer needs to be comfortable with
this technology being a part of their toolset, you know, and really focus on how do they
use those tools to deliver compelling marketing. But, they don’t need to be technologists
themselves. It seems like the technology component is
becoming more and more important. For example, if we think about growth hacking,
right? That’s all about understanding the data. And think about social media. That is all about understanding the data. And so, it seems to me that the technology
dimension is growing by leaps and bounds, whereas the strategy dimension, of course,
is… We can argue it’s more important because
that’s the head that sort of wags the tail of the dog, right? But, there has been this shift from the importance
of strategy to understanding technology and, let’s throw data in with that as well. That’s my perception. Yeah! Absolutely. I mean, again, it becomes one of these things
where it’s a little bit like, again, marketing versus technology, chocolate versus peanut
butter, strategy versus technology… You know, trying to argue over which one of
those is dominant over the other… At some level, it becomes a semantic argument. I mean, you know, to step back and simply
say, “Hey, listen to me. If you want to have a great brand, whether
it’s a b2b brand, or a b2c brand,” right, you have a set of customer expectations from
your first touch point to how they experience your products and service all the way through
that lifetime success and loyalty. You have to figure out how to have your brand
stand out in this incredible noisy and competitive world, you know? And technology is a huge portion of that and
a lot of these customer expectations are based on how are you going to handle technical touch
points with them; digital touch points with them? Just social media alone, how are you going
to handle that? But if you don’t have some sort of organizing
strategy, if you don’t have a larger vision in which those pieces are being orchestrated
towards, yeah, largely it just becomes sound and fury signifying nothing. So, how do you break… how do you break down
the marketing technology landscape? Is it based on customer life cycle, or something
else? That’s a really interesting question. So, you mentioned earlier one of the things
I do is I’m the program chair of the MarTech conference. So, this is a conference that I do a couple
times a year. A few thousand marketers and technologists
come together and figure this stuff out. It’s very interesting! So, one of the things we have done for the
past three years with MarTech is run a contest that we call the Stackies. And what we do is invite marketers to send
in a single powerpoint slide that visually illustrates how they think about their marketing
technology stack; all the different tools they’re using and how they think about those
pieces fitting together. And, the fascinating thing… So, we put all these up on Slideshare for
free, so if you search for MarTech Stackies, you can download, literally now, about 120
of these. But, what’s fascinating is when you look
at these companies and what they thought about their marketing technology infrastructure,
it’s not just like they throw a few logos on a page and say, “Yeah, these are the
six tools we use,” and then they’re done. What they do is they really help illustrate
how they think of mapping those tools to the buyer’s journey, how they think about mapping
that to different functional responsibilities within the marketing organization. Some of them, you know, with more of an enterprise
architecture background, actually help illustrate, “Okay, what’s the data view of this? How does the data from these different pieces
connect together?” And so, going through this exercise, one of
the takeaways for me was there was no one right way of looking at your marketing stack. You really need to look at it through several
of these different lenses. Do you need to look at it from an enterprise
architecture view of, “Okay, what’s the actual interface? The data between these different systems?” Do we need to look at how are we mapping this
customer journey? Do you need to look at how does it map to
our organization? Who are the people in charge of not the tech
piece of it, but the marketing layer of what we execute on top of this? And so, when you start to look at it through
all these different lenses, that’s a much better way to get a holistic view of marketing
technology than just saying, “Oh yeah. Here’s one form. Just follow this form and you’re done.” Well, that begs the question… All of this now is so complex and so rich. And so, how can a marketer slice and dice
the pieces in order to weave together the appropriate… Can we say, “stack” or “collection of
products and tools and processes” that are right for their organization? Yup! Well, I think this is again, for an organization
of any real size, you are looking at having a marketing operations team or a marketing
technology team that takes the ownership of designing that stack, selecting the vendors
for it, and then, actually operating and maintaining it. You know, there’s a lot of strategies you
can take in how you put these pieces together. You know, I think some very, very high-level
advice; the main thing I would say to people is design for change. You know, I mean, there’s very often, particularly
among some of the larger vendors in the space, they will sometimes propose, “Hey, we are
going to create a suite or a marketing cloud and we will pull together all the pieces you
need until one product or one solution set, and they’ll just all magically work together,”
and it’s a very beautiful vision. And, they’re certainly spending billions
of dollars trying to create this. The truth is, that just doesn’t exist today. I mean, even if you buy these cloud solutions
from these vendors, there is still a lot of duct tape required for getting these different
pieces together and there are a lot of gaps that you then have to augment with solutions
from other vendors. And so, even if you will say, “Okay, maybe
someday they will get there.” Maybe three years from now, these marketing
clouds will be buying one product and just does it all for you. It’s wonderful. In fact, maybe by then, the robot will just
do it all for you, too and we’ll be looking for a job. But, alright. Even if you say we’re going to get to some
sort of Nirvana of marketing clouds in the next three years, that doesn’t really help
most marketers today, right? I mean, we’ve got things we’ve got to
deliver. We’re on the hook to our boss this year,
this quarter, next year, you know? And so, I think recognizing that we have to
operate in this world where we have all these different pieces, there are still a lot of
changes happening across these different pieces. We can’t fully predict what we’re going
to need two years from now. You just have to start architecting these
things in a way that allows them to adapt. You can just swap out one vendor in the future
and replace it with another. So, the Nirvana of marketing clouds is simplicity,
where you have a set of products that work together across the customer lifecycle and
just really actually work. Is that the Nirvana? Well, I mean, that would be the ideal vision,
right? So, the ideal vision is that it just works. Yeah! Although, you know? It’s interesting. This becomes a bit of a philosophical debate. Imagine you had a magical marketing cloud
product that you plugged it in and it just automatically did all the wonderful marketing
you needed to be done for you. Would that be a great world for marketers? I’d actually argue it wouldn’t be because
one of the things that marketing… One of the missions of marketing is differentiation,
right? It’s like, how do you create an edge over
your competitors? How do you create a better experience? How do you manage a customer lifecycle process
in a way that’s smarter than your competitors? You know, we were all just leveled down to
one, magical system that did all this for us in just the same, consistent way across
every brand, right? I mean, it would eliminate all those access
of opportunity we have to innovate, to differentiate, to stand out. And, I mean, again, you go through this thought
exercise and obviously, we’re never going to get to that level of universal marketing
like an Apply 1984 commercial, or something like that. So, I mean, that’s not what the future is
going to be looking like, at least not anytime soon. You know, it sounds like ERP, in the sense
that historically, the ERP vendors had these big stacks of unified software and eventually,
people made the argument, “Well, you know, we shouldn’t be changing our ERP system because
that’s… We don’t want to be changing accounts payable,
standard way, and we need to differentiate based on our… differentiate those technologies
and those processes that are unique to us.” And so, it sounds like what you’re saying
is you have to be clear about which part of the marketing stack and marketing process
is unique; will give you a competitive advantage, and then focus your attention there? Right. I mean, you know, again, back when we started,
this idea of marketing increasingly having… being the champion of customer experience… That is ultimately the dimension where the
customer experience that defines your brand is going to be different than the customer
experience of your competitor. Because, again, this isn’t just about the
technology, it’s very much about the people and process on top of that, the culture and
reorganization, all these things that get embedded in the communications you do, the
way people interact with each other inside the company with customers, with partners… Yeah! So, I mean, just looking at customer experience
[…] like, yeah. There’s just no way that will ever be ERP. We wouldn’t want it to be like ERP. So, I’m still trying to figure out what
to do. How do we get a handle on the scope of all
of this? So, if you’re, let’s just take a practical
example, okay? You work in a mid-sized company or a large
company, and you want to improve customer experience. And, you’re looking at the five-thousand
companies in your marketing technology landscape. Where do you begin? How do you identify that… Which is going to be the right path for you? Right. Now, it’s a great question. So, first and foremost, it starts with data,
right? It’s not about Big Data; it’s not about
whoever has the most data wins. It’s about having good data, you know, particularly
when you talked about being able to recognize a customer; a prospect, a customer; through
their entire journey and be able to serve them in a way that your previous interactions,
you know, have set up a set of expectations for them so you know what they want. You know the relationship with them and all
of your digital touchpoints behave as if you do recognize who they are. And when I say “digital touchpoints,”
it isn’t just the digital touchpoint that the customer directly uses like your website
or your mobile app, but it’s also the digital technology that your services teams…When
they have the call center, when they’re in the retail store, when they’re interacting
with someone through social media, do those people who are connecting and serving those
prospects and customers… Do they have easy access that helps them identify
and understand who that person is and how they can most quickly and efficiently help
get them what they need; help make their experience better? So, I mean, focusing on understanding that
data, and really making sure that you’re thinking through how are you going to plumb that data
through all of these touch points that we have with customers? That, to me, is the place for a mid-sized
enterprise company. If you don’t get that right, everything else
you layer on top of that can be very interesting and made very cool, but without that core
data foundation, you just end up with pieces that keep falling out of sync with each other. So, it gets back to this strategy and process
piece; and like everybody else, Scott, the vendors say; I’ve heard this, and I’ve
seen this; the vendors say that if I buy their product, my problem is going to get solved. And you keep telling me that I need to think
this through, and I need to think about these touchpoints, and I need to do a whole bunch
of crap that, quite frankly, I don’t have the time to do because I am buying a product
from a vendor, and God damn it, it needs to just work. And so, why are you hassling me? I know. I hate to be raining on the picnic. Well, I mean, the truth is, actually, if you
look at some of the fastest growing companies in this space, with the largest expanse of
business happening, it’s not actually the martech vendors, it’s the consultancies. It’s the Accentures, it’s the PWCs, it’s
the Deloittes. It’s for, you know… this is a more complicated
subject, but the evolution of agencies; marketing agencies that used to be more focused just
on the advertising side of the equation, you know, increasingly trying to figure out how
do they help their brands with other aspects of this whole marketing technology mission? So, yeah! I mean, it’s hard. This is why there’s a huge market, and a multibillion-dollar
market for services providers who can come into the CMO and say, “Okay. You know you have to do this. You know you’re not going to be able to
change it internally fast enough to meet the needs of your customers if you’re bored. For this relatively large sum of money, we
will come in and we will help you make that transformation.” And in some cases, they do. I don’t want to disparage, you know, that
whole field, but I think the reason I would just… I always hesitate a bit in saying, “Oh! It’s that simple! Just hire the right professional services
agency, and you’re done,” is that so many times here, this thing I’m actually creating,
customer experiences that people love, isn’t something that an external consultancy can
impart to your organization. This is something that has to grow from within,
you know? It really does have to become part of the
culture. I mean, you look at this with the digital
natives who are probably the best examples of, “Hey! Really, ideally, how should these digital
experiences work, you know?” I mean, how does Amazon deliver its experience
to its customers? You know, so they… The way Amazon works is so deeply embedded
into their culture that I think for companies who look at digital transformation through
the lens of saying, “Hey! Listen, we’ve got to accelerate this, so
we’re bringing in some consultants and bringing in some professionals services folks to help
assemble the pieces for us a little faster so we don’t have to learn all of this on
the job.” I think the caution there is, you know, that
can help with a certain amount of the mechanics, but the actual transformation of the company
from a cultural level, from a people level, from an organizational capital level; that
has to be a mission that you’re going to embrace yourself. So, I feel like we have now pulled on this
string of marketing technology and suddenly, the ball is completely unraveling because
now, what we’re doing is we’re talking deeply about changes in the company. When you talk about digital transformation
and mindset of customer experience, you’re talking about transforming the fabric, the
culture of the company, which is the fabric of the company. And all of this started because you created
a diagram of five-thousand marketing technology companies. Yeah. There’s an order of operations here, right? So, my landscape, right, is a reaction to
what happened. My actual graphic, right? I mean, that’s just some guy who had too
much time on his hands looking through Google to find martech […]. So, that isn’t the
change. That isn’t even really the catalyst of this. The catalyst is customer expectations are
changing! You know, customers, again, there’s this
thing I’m sure a number of your guests have spoken about; just, customers are in control
in a way that’s so radically different than even what it was like ten years ago. And, marketing technology, this is a piece
of the puzzle. It’s a piece of what companies have to get
right in order to be able to live up to those expectations and to execute on that. But yeah, just if you went out and you bought
best-in-class marketing technology across the board and said, “Boom! We’re done!” You know, marketing automation doesn’t mean,
“Hey! Marketing only automatically generates customer
performance.” So, I talk with vendors just like you do,
and I talk with, and I do video interviews with really superb marketers; companies who
are having incredible results with marketing technology and the thing that amazes me is
the fluency and the skill that they have about the tools; how they go about collecting that
data and advertising on Google Adwords and then analyzing those results in Google Analytics
and then using tools to segment and then email. And, it also, at the same time, the really
good ones are really, really strongly connecting with the needs of their customers and so,
the marketing messages that they’re putting out are fundamentally accurate and then they’re
using the tools to refine and slice and dice. Yeah! You know, I mean, it’s interesting. You know, that phrase, “It’s the craftsman,
not the tools.” So, on one hand, that means, right; you can’t
just buy the tools and expect to be able to be a master craftsman. But, the flipside of that is most craftsmen,
they really do understand their tools very well. You know, this is not something that they
take for granted. It’s something that they embrace, they learn,
they figure out through that trial and error process of what works specifically for them
and their particular marketing experiences that they’re building. So, yeah. It does not at all surprise me that the very
best marketers in this space have a real fluency about the tools. And again, it’s not about saying the tools
are magical and the tools are where the action is; it just… You have to understand how you’re going
to leverage this stuff at a real level. It can’t just be a nice vendor PowerPoint. So, we only have about five or so minutes
left. And, I still have a whole bunch of questions
to ask you. You know, it’s funny. These conversations go by so quickly, and
I’m always left with a lot of questions still. So, very quickly then, what about the suite
versus standalone tool approach? You have a bunch of companies like Sprinklr
is one that immediately comes to mind that’s buying up lots of product so that they offer
a suite. And yet, each one of those individual products
you can purchase as standalone from a different vendor. So, what about suite versus best-of-breed
in marketing? Yeah. So, for a number of years, that was the great
debate. Will it be a suite, or do you just assemble
every piece from scratch? So, it’s suite or best-of-breed. And, I think one of the things that I’ve seen
now, in most mid-sized and enterprise companies here for the past year or so, is it’s not
an either-or-proposition. For most of them, it’s, “Well, we buy the
suite, and we buy a bunch of other tools that we augment.” If I buy Sprinklr and I like every aspect
of what it does perfectly, that’s wonderful! But, Sprinklr still isn’t a CRM, so I’m
probably still getting Salesforce. Sprinklr still isn’t like an actual web
experience management platform, so I’m still probably buying Adobe. I mean, you know, you go through the list,
it’s like, it’s very often where you see these things that are sold as suites and a
lot of real companies, they have two or three of them! You know, that they’re using each for their
particular strengths, and there are, again, also augmenting these more specialized tools. I think that’s fine! You know, I mean this idea of tent pole solutions,
things that become sort of these central hubs around which we then augment our capabilities
is a very sane approach to architecting a good marketing stack. So, I don’t think it’s an either-or decision
anymore. So, you buy whatever works for you and if
it’s part of a suite, you get that and if it’s not, you get that. Right. And, you know, again, earlier we were asking,
“Okay, where should you start?” The foundation really does have to be the
data. So, you have to think, “End-to-end, what
does our view of the customer look like? What are the pieces that contribute to that?” And so, when we’re selecting these tools
that we’re going to use for our CRM, for our web experience, for our social […], you
know, you have to go through the actual enterprise architecture piece of understanding, “Okay,
who is going to own the data record? What’s going to be that central customer
identity?” And then, for the other pieces, “How do
I connect to feed into that? How do I read out of that?” It’s not rocket science, but yeah, it is
some data architecture. And, what’s the role of the CMO in all of
this? So, again, this varies from company to company
because companies are going through these transitions. They have a variety of different roles and
titles. I mean, you have a number of them on your
show, right? I mean, Chief Digital Officer is, in some
cases, or the folks that are […] championing this opportunity in some organizations. It is actually the CIO who is very deeply
engaged in the customer experience side of these solutions. Maybe, he’s partnering very closely with
the CMO. And then, in other cases, you have a CMO who,
if hopefully, they’re not actually doing the enterprise architecture themselves, they
have other things to do; but, it’s not unusual now for them to have a VP of Marketing Technology
or a VP of Operations, and having […] really take under its responsibility; it’s umbrella
of responsibility, assembling and maintaining that marketing stack. Another complicated question, but we’re running
out of time so, quick: You see a lot of companies. What’s interesting coming down the pipe for
marketing technology? So, real quick, there is the back-end of marketing
and the front-end of marketing. Some of the most exciting things happening
on the back-end of marketing around this category of integration Platform-as-a-Service offerings,
iPaaS, as it’s sometimes called, so it’s really making it easier for citizen integrators,
which happen to be these marketing operations people all the time. Being able to much more easily connect different
systems, proprietary systems, commercial systems, to do really exciting customer experience
things across all of them. Sometimes, these are also customer data platform
systems, is another interesting category there. Front-end, wow! I mean, it’s just… Every year, there are new innovations happening,
new touch points emerging. I mean, right now, stuff happening with the
Internet of Things is becoming very real. We’re starting to see the inklings of AR and
VR being an actual mainstream commercial technology, chatbots, voice-enabled things if you’re doing
it through Alexa or Google Home… I mean, these are really exciting touch points
between brands and their customers. So, yeah. A lot of innovation happening there in marketing. What’s the story of AI in marketing? You have about a minute; no, thirty seconds
to answer that one! [Laughter]
You know, AI is just being embedded in everything. That’s one of the reasons I don’t have
an AI category on that landscape. Almost every computational process in marketing
is finding ways to leverage machine learning and other kinds of AI to be able to do things
that we, as humans, would just have a hard time computationally managing ourselves. How much of that is hype and how much is actually
useful and real? Well, there’s always more hype than reality,
but a surprising amount of it’s becoming very real, very fast. This is… Was it Eric […], Andrew McAfee, and you
know, you talk about that second half of the chessboard where once you start gaining these
exponential improvements in technology, in this case, computational capability, wow! I mean, things change quickly, and AI is becoming
very, very real in a number of applications. Again, with our theme of discussing complicated
topics very fast, privacy… You’re killing me, Scott! You’re killing me with the whole privacy
thing. What about that, and personalization? Yeah. It’s really tough. There’s definitely not a fast answer to
that, other than I think this GDPR-like […], you know, in the EU is really fascinating because,
first of all, the chaos it’s creating among all the vendors and companies and whatnot
there gives you a taste of just how complicated it is now to try and regulate this. But, it’s interesting as people start to put
draconian measures in place that every website you go through makes you fill out a multi-stage
form of “Yes! You have permission to give me some friggin’
service over the web!” You know, I think you’ll start to see this
consumer-level realization that there is a trade-off here. And, I think it’s going to be an open debate
for some time as to what should be an implicit tradeoff between privacy and experience, and
what does the consumer really want to be able to control themselves. Is there any hope for privacy at all? Or, are just simply screwed and we should
acknowledge… Well, Eric Schmidt… “You have no privacy! Get over it!” I don’t know. I’m not that much of an extreme, but I would
say on the curve, you know, privacy is really, really hard to… We can’t go back to the era where the world
is not interconnected down to the real-time microdata level. It’s just, this is… We’re here, and how do we manage with those
privacy challenges rather than somehow roll back the clock to a golden age of, I don’t
know, fire and stone. And we do like the fact that Amazon personalizes,
and that’s a function of the data we’re giving away, and the more data that we give
away, the more our privacy is gone. Yup! This would be a whole CxOTalk discussion unto
itself! [Laughter] And no short, magical soundbite
on this one. It’s a complicated issue. And, we did a show with the Chief Privacy
Officer of Cisco, by the way, and it was an entire show. See? [Laughter]
All right! Well, we are out of time. You’ve been watching Episode #249 of CxOTalk
and what a fast episode it’s been! We have been talking with Mr. Martech himself,
Scott Brinker. Scott, thanks so much for taking the time
and being here with us today! No, thanks so much for having me, Michael! Everybody, thank you for watching. We have great shows. Go to the CxOTalk site, and be sure to “Like”
us on Facebook, please! And subscribe on YouTube while you’re doing
it. Thanks so much, everybody. We appreciate that you’re watching. We appreciate your patronage, and we’ll see
you next time. Have a great day!

One Reply to “Marketing Technology: The MarTech Landscape of Tools and Software (CXOTalk #249)”

  1. What I like about all your videos is how well you cover all aspects of the topic. This one was no different. I thought you would skip the personalization vs privacy issue, however, you never disappoint! Thanks for the upload.

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