In EDGE of the Web Episode 301, EDGE hosts Erin Sparks (Site Strategics CEO) and Tom Brodbeck (Site Strategics Digital Media Director) speak with Scott Brinker of ChiefMarTec and VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot to find out the latest developments in the rapidly evolving field of marketing technology everyone knows now as MarTech.
Scott Brinker: His Background and Experience
Scott’s pathway into this field began as a software entrepreneur with an engineering background, running a web agency that built sophisticated web apps for companies like Citrix and Siemens. He then went on to establish his own SaaS company (Ion Interactive) for marketers. This combination of being a technologist developing software products for marketers is what led directly to his ChiefMarTec blog because what were two very different worlds (marketing and technology) that didn’t even talk to each other with the same language were suddenly crashing together and producing all kinds of amazing new things. It was a very small niche audience for a number of years and then just started growing by leaps and bounds, leading also to the establishment of the big annual MarTech conference in 2014 that happens on both the West Coast and the East Coast. In addition to his role as editor of ChiefMarTec, Scott also serves as VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot.
The Shift from All-in-One Suite to All-on-One Platform
MarTech was really the pioneering field that opened up the whole software-as-a-service (Saas) movement, which makes sense when you think about it. With the Internet came a whole new way of consumers interacting with businesses, and it was marketing (and sales, too) that had to be at the forefront of figuring out the tools that would facilitate this new way of interacting.
It feels like MarTech is in a kind of “golden age,” except there’s so much technology that people feel overwhelmed – like there’s too much gold out there. Trying to absorb and understand all the innovations and then choose which ones to adopt and use or which ones can be ignored is a major challenge. In that sense it’s the best of times and the worst of times.
There have been software explosions before, but they tended to revolve around or be attached to a platform – think Windows or the smartphone. MarTech was different because there was an explosion in software, but for years there was no organizing platform it revolved around. The challenge in those early years of MarTech for businesses was deciding whether to go with an off-the-shelf suite and live with it or try to cobble together the best-in-breed offerings for all the different facets of marketing that needed to be managed. That’s a very hard decision to make when what you really want is both, but it just wasn’t available in those days.
Many of the major suites discovered the hard way that they couldn’t do it. They overextended themselves trying to do it all, and consumers were along for the rough ride that resulted. Now those big platforms realize they can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. They also realize, however, that marketers need technology integration but can’t be expected to do it themselves. They need to be able to plug best-in-breed apps into whatever their chosen suite or platform might be. This is the shift from trying to be an all-in-one suite to being an all-on-one platform that has been made possible by application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate the apps marketers want with their platform of choice so they have consistency in data throughout the marketing stack. Those integrations are not yet as easy or seamless as installing an app on your smartphone, but that’s the direction in which this is all heading. The further this goes, the more of a win it will be for everyone.
The Meteoric Rise of MarTech
Back in 2011, Scott was trying to convince a bunch of companies that they should be adding a technologist to their marketing teams because new technologies were coming out all the time. He developed a slide showing the MarTech company logos of something like 150 marketing technologies available. The next year that number had more than doubled. A couple years later it was over 1,000. In 2018, it was nearly 7,000 – and the number isn’t going to go down this year. The graphic with that many logos isn’t all that useful except as a very visceral visual conversation starter
One of the fascinating things about the MarTech space is how many startups are continually entering the field. But even more interesting or impressive is how many of them are able to get traction, establish a strong brand and get great results. There really isn’t a similar parallel in the history of business software development.
If you want to find out more from Scott Brinker about MarTech, listen to the full interview at EDGE of the Web Episode 301.
Connect with Scott Brinker and ChiefMarTec
Scott on Twitter: @chiefmartec (https://twitter.com/chiefmartec)
Scott on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sjbrinker
Scott on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sjbrinker
Scott’s Blog: https://chiefmartec.com
HubSpot on Twitter: @HubSpot (https://twitter.com/HubSpot)
HubSpot on Facebook: @hubspot (https://www.facebook.com/hubspot)
HubSpot website: https://www.hubspot.com
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