Managing the Madness – The Marketing Technology Explosion
If you are a marketer or a technologist or both, I am sure you have by now seen Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Supergraphic that was published last week. It is an orchestration of 947 technology vendors in 43 categories and not yet complete because the landscape is evolving everyday if not every hour. While the illustration is great for vendors that made it to the list as well as an easy way to get a broader understanding of the different categories and various players, it is a rather daunting task for brands & marketers to figure out what to do with this information and the fragmentation that exists within the space.
The three key challenges behind the excitement as a marketer
1. Prioritization – How do I prioritize and what is most relevant for my brands?
2. Staying ahead of the change – How do you stop playing the catch up game and get ahead of the curve?
3. Inter-connectivity – Most importantly, how do the 43 distinct categories connect with each other? The true potential of these technologies lie in them working as a cohesive & well connected machinery
How do you manage the madness?
There are many ways to abstract these technologies either by categories or by key focus areas. However, it’s important to differentiate them by scale & speed. For instance, break down the technology landscape into:
• Enterprise Technologies – These are foundational, scalable platforms and capabilities that can potentially be shared across the globe, at times I call these the “ALWAYS ON” platforms. While these platforms continue to evolve across the horizons, you don’t swap them out on a frequent basis. Require a reasonable effort & time to go to market, typically built in partnership with a system integrator. These technologies are going through a level of convergence thanks to a series of acquisitions by the big 4 – Adobe, Oracle, IBM & Salesforce and hence relatively less fluidity. An illustration of some enterprise capabilities:
• Tactical Technologies – These are more fluid, light weight existing and emerging technologies that are needed to enable your digital strategies, mostly can be picked off the shelf and you run with it until you decide to move on. Typically SaaS solutions with higher go to market speed and relatively lower investment. Requires an ongoing exploration and adoption framework to manage the fluidity within the landscape. An illustration of some enterprise capabilities:
• Technology Innovation – Lastly, set of technologies primarily originating from the start up and incubator community needed for brands to stay ahead of the curve and redefine consumer experiences. No specific categories or areas, a white space that requires an agile framework to pilot, adapt & adjust.
You may have your own marketing technology management model that has worked well for you and while just the classification of these technologies into these buckets and models would not solve your technology gaps but it does provide a framework to handle the breadth with speed, scale and quality while giving you an opportunity to innovate and keeping you prepared to respond to the change on an ongoing basis.