Time for mOS – Marketing Operating System aka iOS? A Vision – Part I

I have been wanting to write up something on what I expect as the ultimate point for Marketing Automation & Innovation but I just kept procrastinating the work. But last night’s news on Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua for a good $871 million dollar pushed me to share my dream of using an “mOS” – Marketing Operating System. This is what Steve Jobs did to the mobile industry with the launch of iOS which not only impacted how a mobile phone would be used or envisioned, but it completely changed the consumer behavior & demographic and everything that nearly came in the consumer path way. I call this world of innovative and ever evolving technology landscape as Marketing Technologies.

Marketing Technologies & Marketing Technologists
It is the underlying technology bed that covers all the capability components needed to market in a digital world. There are so many different ways to define what I call the “marketing technology” landscape covering capabilities to launch, measure and optimize Owned, Earned and Paid Media. It is a combination core platforms and tactical capabilities and utilities on top.

One person I think who has been the thought leader in this space and someone I have been following very closely for the last 12 months is Scott Brinker., CTO of Ion Interactive. His blogs Rise Of The Marketing Technologist. and 8 Things Every Marketing Technologist Should Know. – are a couple of great illustrations of what the marketing landscape looks like, here is a quick look:

Marketing Technology Landscape
Marketing Technology Landscape (courtesy Scott Brinker)

So WHAT is the idea behind mOS (Marketing Operating System)?

As simple as this model may look like, the implementation of this integrated ecosystem where the key buckets are not just sitting together for an organization, but they are thoughtfully integrated, attributing to each other’s success and operations. The usual architectural silos are converted into a cohesive and fully wired and functioning engine.

An mOS is this PRE-PACKAGED, connected, tested foundation layer with an open framework that can allow organizations, developers and agencies to build adaptations and applications on top of it. An open framework that allows marketing technologists to focus not on foundational capabilities, the more commoditized pieces of the architecture but more on implementation of “brand strategies”, commercial ideas and innovation.

Marketing Operating System
Marketing Operating System – Open Framework

I see this very similar to what happened with both iOS & Android. When was the last time you thought about how to enable SMS texting on the phone or how to initiate the camera – yes there have been apps built that have leveraged those fundamental capabilities.

Is an mOS Possible? Who are the players?
Absolutely yes – the key players who are already on the path, need to come together, need to go wide & deep in the different areas:

1. Adobe – Leading the way in my mind, was the first one to envision the future and the need to have a holistic landscape for marketers with a platform (Web Experience Management) that has the key pieces pre-connected. With an early acquisition of CQ5 Content Management System, Omniture and most recently PhoneGap and combined with Adobe’s own CreativeSuite, it forms a compelling content driven package. It does lack capabilities in marketing automation (they don’t have a Unica or a Marketo in their landscape) even thought they have made progress from an eCommerce standpoint with integration with Hybris.
2. SalesForce – Showed signs with the launch of its Marketing Cloud and a series of acquisitions – Radian6, BuddyMedia and am sure yesterday’s acquisition of ELOQUA by Oracle, will only fuel the fire. A conventional sales oriented product to an evolution into social platforms & measurement. Still has a long way to go before they complete the full circle in terms of a complete digital marketing ecosystem.
3. IBM & Oracle – I see them as the NEW KIDs ON THE BLOCK, both are conventional, heavy weights in the product world, from eCommerce to SAPs and ERP solutions. Both are pushing hard to cut through the “CLOUD” and have their own presence within the fast moving digital & social space. A number of recent acquisitions by both and of course ELOQUA being the latest by Oracle to sit along with VITRUE, Involver, ClearTrial to name a few.

Needless to say, all the 4 seem to have the vision, capacity, scale and funding to make this happen. The rat race is good for the consumer with the 4 pushing each other towards excellence. I hope we can get to a point where “COMMODITY” capabilities can be put on the shelf , allowing the brands, strategists, creative and technologists to focus on brand innovation and consumer experiences. New tools & platforms should adhere to a pre-defined “STANDARD” reducing the need for ongoing custom integration —- adding a new app on your iPhone does not require integration efforts as a consumer, that work is done by the developer following a standard and framework exposed by APPLE.

No matter what happens, this is just the beginning and these are exciting times. I have waited long enough to see breakthrough thinking in this space and I think we have 4 leading companies with the vision & backing to change the marketing technology world and get to a point where it is an open environment for even more innovation & creativity, all leading towards that impeccable CONSUMER EXPERIENCE.