Where is Martech now?

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Somewhere, between sarcasm and wonder, Martech came out of the cloud. The term has become associated with a plethora of catch phrases and even bigger budget spends. Now, Martech is likely to be described as an integrated enterprise marketing suite, or as a big-data-marketing-sales-retention cycle dashboard to end all dashboards.

It is an idea everyone understands the need for.

“With more and more marketing departments doing their buying in-house vs. working with a media agency, it’s a clear need,” says Marina Mann, managing director at We Are Q, a boutique marketing and technology consultancy in Toronto. “What responsible company doesn’t need to better track their true customer acquisition costs? To understand what campaigns worked and which ones didn’t? The core value is undeniable. Every company wants to reduce their marketing dollar spend and tracking is the best way to do it.”

Understanding the need, however, doesn’t mean everyone is buying into the Martech solution.

“When I see the word “integration” the dollar signs just compound,” Mann says. “We’re always searching for that one dashboard that will do it all in marketing, but in the age of Lean Start and so much data in and out, the concept of one Dashboard as all things to all marketers is an untenable utopian idea that is designed to eat resources.”

A year ago, saracastic commentors were issuing headlines like Analysts confirm: no one has any idea what’s going in Martech.

Still, the idea of a fully-integrated Martech system is not an idea that is completely impossible. Every year, Scott Brinker, the Chief Marketing Technologist for Chief Martec.com a series of Martech conferences, creates a supergraphic that represents the entire Martech landscape.  It’s impossible not to see the graphic as the equivalent of a real time marketing data Christmas wishlist. Categories and channels of content, solutions, experiments and customer profiles are all represented and, as rich as the graphic is, it all seems so easy to grasp.

Unfortunately, current solutions aren’t delivering enough. A recent Forrester report found that 36% of social suite Martech solutions are “dissatisfied” with their product.  “Nearly 70% of social marketers believe it’s more effective to buy all of their social tools from a single vendor (i.e., a social suite) than to buy social point solutions from several vendors. But so far, this simply hasn’t proven to be an effective strategy,” the report reads.

There are alternatives for unhappy customers. There is no need to invest in Martech suites, some experts claim.

“Instead, I think organizations need to first and foremost build clean data infrastructures to enable teams to use flexible tools that derive insights based on the brand message, the core value of the product, in the places where customers are engaged,” Mann says.

Martech, though, is still tech and if anything is true it’s that even if current solutions aren’t making customers happy, there are emerging solutions on the rise that may change that.

“The biggest players in marketing tech right now are mostly the public enterprise software companies in this space: Adobe, HubSpot, IBM, Marketo, Oracle, Salesforce, Teradata. However, there’s a new generation of social relationship, content marketing, and customer data “middleware” companies that are rising fast,” Brinker told B2BNN in an email interview. “Also, keep in mind that the major Internet companies — particularly Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn — are extremely influential in marketing technology as well.”

Real-time reports, analytics at a glance and programmatic data are all coming together in new ways every day and that can only be good news for Martech.

“I think the industry is actually quite healthy. It’s still evolving, but for the most part, all of the players in the space are empowering marketers to deliver better experiences and achieve greater efficiency. Admittedly, it’s a complex landscape and is still evolving. But it’s mostly an embarrassment of riches for marketers,” Brinker says. “I’m optimistic that marketing technology is on a trajectory of steady improvement and innovation for the foreseeable future.”

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Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott is the Managing Editor of B2BNN. Her technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun and the Bay Street Bull. She is the author of the short story collections Love from Planet Wine Cooler and Dry Stories. Links to recently published pieces can be found at www.katebaggott.com
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