3 key takeaways from MarTech San Francisco 2017
Contributor Sheldon Monteiro insightfully wraps up the key themes of last week's meeting of the martech minds.
The 2017 MarTech conference in San Francisco is over, and it’s safe to divulge the event’s WiFi password: martech5000. Despite the awesome sci-fi ring to it, it actually represents the 5,381 solutions on Scott Brinker’s ever-expanding Marketing Technology Landscape chart.
During this week’s conference, many discussions — both onstage and offstage — focused on how to parse the many martech options available today.
Of course, determining the right solution depends largely on your strategy and goals. But, as we heard this week, there are many other considerations, including your current technology assets, your willingness to change from the inside out, and, most importantly, the needs of your customers.
M-architecture is more important than ever
The conference kicked off with the Stackies Awards, an incredible behind-the-scenes view of marketing technology being used in the real world by companies today. With 5,000+ solutions to choose from, it is invaluable to study how large organizations like Beiersdorf, Microsoft and Cisco, or smaller, innovative companies like Red Wing Shoes, use a “stack” of technologies.
Each of the 57 Stackies entrants submitted a one-page, typically informal depiction of their marketing technology system’s structure and interactions. These marketing technology architectures, or “marchitectures,” provide a view into how real companies have assembled components to deliver marketing experiences. The better entrants even provided a glimpse into the underlying design philosophies and connectedness.
Marketing always has been and always will be about differentiation. Even with 57 Stackies submissions this year, no two marketing stacks were the same — reinforcing the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The explosion of martech solutions is fantastic news for marketers seeking to differentiate. But the vast choice can be confusing.
Today, more than ever, organizations must think about their marketing technology through the lens of architecture — as organized layers that each have a purpose, like plumbing, electricity and the other components beneath the drywall in a construction project. For example, Microsoft’s martech stack demonstrates three layers of underlying technologies — systems of record, systems of differentiation and systems of innovation.
Martech vendors appear to have grasped the importance of architecture: one in five of the vendors on Scott Brinker’s landscape diagram described themselves as “platforms.” Prospective buyers are advised to examine those claims closely; a true platform is not just capable of providing a foundation for other software to run on, but has a demonstrated track record of attracting third-party software vendors to utilize their platform to build upon. It’s improbable that the more than 1,000 vendors making the platform claim actually meet these criteria.
Creating connected customer experiences requires connecting the individual martech solutions, not only to streamline operations, but also to deliver the most coherent and connected journey for the customer. Spotify VP of Growth & Marketing Mayur Gupta amplified the idea that designing and maintaining these stacks is a blend of art and science, and that the key to their success throughout the company’s growth trajectory and the customer journey is having someone “to orchestrate the symphony.”
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