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Last week Scott Brinker @chiefmartec and his team released the 2015 version of their marketing technology landscape “super graphic”. It’s a mammoth piece of work as it aims to paint a picture of the current marketing technology vendor landscape and the categories in which they serve their clients.

The 2015 version has 1,876 marketing technology vendors on it (up from 946 in 2014) and that still doesn’t cover all over them. Just looking at the graphic is enough to give any CMO a headache, so it’s not surprising why analysts suggest: 

Four out of five CMOs anticipate a high or very high level of complexity over the next 5 years, but only half feel ready to handle it.

Marketing technology super graphic

There’s never been a tougher time to be a marketer

In 2012 eBay conducted a study which suggested the digital universe would be ten times bigger in 2020 than it was then. If you think back to 2012, we had the London Olympics (which only feels like yesterday), yet 90% of the world’s data didn’t even exist then. The amount of big data is getting bigger and bigger, executives are struggling to make sense of it all, and all the noise it making it increasingly harder for brands to tell their stories and increase their sales.

There’s never been a better time to be a marketer

There is now more technology in place than ever before to help marketers meet the challenges of the market place, and there are more channels than ever before to help marketers reach their customers. Big data may be making things more difficult for marketers, but technology, such as marketing automation, is helping brands to build relationships with their customers faster than ever before. Lines are blurring between CMOs, who are tasked with communicating a company’s vision and growing sales, and CIOs, who’s job it is to make sure the correct technology is in place to enable them to do that quickly and efficiently. As a result the most successful brands are seeing more cross-team collaboration than ever before, with marketers, analysts, IT, data scientists and creatives working together.

Since when did marketing become the ‘make-it-pretty’ department?
Sylvia Reynolds, Former CMO. Wells Fargo

Marketing has always been an industry driven by technology, and yet some marketers still act as if it is a creative industry and any technology is the domain of the IT department. This is no longer the case. Marketers must understand technology and IT professionals must understand how to build relationships with customers.

So why will 2015 be the year for mastering marketing technology?

The success of a marketer in 2015 will be how well they evolve into their role as a marketing technologist. The job of a good marketer in 2015 is to make sense of this expanding technology landscape, and understand how to use marketing automation tools to build relationships with their customers. The challenge in doing this is to look at each technology in isolation, because it feels like the right thing to do. The temptation is to look at each category in this graphic and make an emotional decision based upon your experience, level of knowledge and preference for one vendor over another. Picking what you may believe to be the best technology in each category is not without it’s merits. Many of us will be familiar with the term “marginal gains” or “incremental returns”. This is simply the process where lots of tiny improvements in many areas add up to overall success.

Dave Brailsford used this philosophy to great success in his role as the performance director for Team GB in London 2012 and the Team Sky cycling team. The only problem with that philosophy is that while it works for performance athletes, it doesn’t work for brands who want to perform better. In an effort to become more productive by choosing various solutions and piecing them together, organisations often find that they become less profitable and less productive because of the limitations between implementing different technologies together.

3 Biggest Challenges for CMOs

1. Growing profitable revenue
2. Connecting with customers
3. Competition in the marketplace
Source: Gartner, Presentation for CMO Spend Survey 2015 - Eye on the Buyer, 10.14)

I have seen some of the smaller technology vendors on this graphic encouraging brands to “build your own marketing cloud” and whilst this makes sense for them to say that, if the job of a marketing professional is to build profitable relationships faster, then the last thing you need is multiple technologies that don’t “talk” to each other.

My Advice for Marketing Technology Buyers

Define your marketing objectives clearly and understand exactly how any technology is going to help you reach your customers faster. It is important to have an accurate view of your customer’s journey across every channel, so I would encourage you to challenge your team to answer these four important questions carefully;

1. Do you know who our customers are?
2. Where are they in their journey?
3. Are we engaging and moving them along the journey?
4. How are we measuring the impact on our business goals?

If you do want to reach more customers faster you need to make sure that your technology doesn’t slow you down. Multiple solutions will give you multiple views of your customers ~ whereas great marketing technology should help you to have a single view of your customer across mobile, social media, web and connected devices.

State of marketing cta