There comes a point in time, in every sector, when consolidation for the sake of the customer, is necessary.
The accounting industry when through it. For example, in 1993 when Intuit decided to diversify its product lineup by acquiring Chipsoft for its innovation around tax preparation, the strategic vision of the CEO was to combine accounting functionality to remain competitive and relevant. Additionally, the merger of the two companies brought value to the clients as they could then log into once place to complete their day-to-day accounting and tax preparation. Makes sense right?
The ERP and HR industry went through it. In 2013, when NetSuite acquired TribeHR to create the first integrated cloud ERP and HCM software suite, it was done so customers could run their core business operations, in addition to managing their employees, all within the same software system. Genius!
In 2016, the average marketing department has subscriptions or licenses to:
- A paid search platform (maybe times three for traditional paid search, native advertising, retargeting and/or social ads)
- An SEO platform
- A social media publishing platform
- A lead nurturing system
- An underlying analytics system for on-site engagement (ok, Google Analytics is free, but has its warts. I’ll write a blog post on the same later.)
- An influencer marketing platform
- A content marketing platform (or maybe two or three)
- An email marketing platform, if lead nurturing isn’t part of the mix
- A landing page system (again, if not using a lead nurturing platform)
- A competitive intelligence tool (multiplied by 3 potentially for paid, social and SEO)
- A website auditing tool
- A reporting or dashboard system to bring all of the aforementioned data somewhat together.
This is a chaotic list to say the least!
For the marketer who is interested in running a productive and innovative marketing organization poised for growth, you are expected to understand how all of these pieces fit together, how the data flows (or doesn’t flow) between them and then evaluate all of the competitive options within each of the 12 categories mentioned above. A recent article in CMSWire clearly outlines the dilemma many marketers face in deciding which MarTech solutions to choose, implement and presumably use.
According to Scott Brinker’s team over at Chief MarTech, there are, at last check, over 3,500 marketing technology vendors across 43 categories. Lumascape reports on MarTech, but also Search, Display, Social, and Content Marketing.
If a marketer was to spend time properly evaluating three vendors from each of the 12 categories mentioned above and was to spend 2 hours on each vendor this would equate to 72 hours of evaluation plus final selection, plus final negotiation, plus setup, plus, plus, plus. Let’s not forget one of the most important factors for comparison – price. Is the marketing department double, triple, quadruple paying for overlaps in functionality?
How many market technology platforms do you use in a given month? Take our one-question survey to weigh in on what other marketers are saying:
Leave the Innovators to Innovate
I have spoken to hundreds of digital marketers and investors over the past 3+ years and everyone agrees with five fundamental viewpoints:
- The MarTech space is over-crowded, confusing and cost-inefficient for the buyer.
- Consolidation is required for the sake of the customer.
- Consolidation will create efficiencies in data collection, campaign execution and reporting.
- Many vendors provide slivers of functionality found in broader platforms.
- It was necessary to let the innovators innovate in their silos before bringing the technologies together.
Spoken Like a True Customer
This concept of consolidation is not new for the MarTech space and in fact, there are a lot of transactions (mergers and acquisitions already occurring). In fact, this can all be compared to a game of musical chairs. And the customers have been demanding it for years now.
In the Fall of 2014 I was leading a marketing technology panel in Toronto for a SEMPO Cities event. On the panel was SqueezeCMM, InNetwork and Atomic Reach – three burgeoning Canadian MarTech companies. I presented a slide of Scott Brinker’s MarTech super infographic and the discussion took off. About halfway through the discussion, the VP Marketing of a well-known brand stood up in the back of the room, shook her index finger at us and remarked, “When are you technologists and CEOs going to figure out how to give us just one platform to log into in order to get our jobs done?”
That’s all the customer wants – one platform to log into to plan, research, execute, monitor, measure and report on digital campaigns. Sounds easy right?! Not so easy actually, but give us technologists and CEOs a bit more time. We’re working on it.
MarTech USA is being held on March 21st and 22nd in San Fransisco where hundreds of marketers, technology vendors and industry experts will come together to discuss the present state of marketing and technology and attempt to predict the future state of it all.
If you plan on being at MarTech, visit gShift at Booth 309.