That was probably the most common remark to my latest marketing technology landscape. Well, aside from more colorful exclamations that decorum prevents me from repeating.
And the truth is that this graphic, even with nearly 1,000 companies represented, was far from complete.
There are hundreds of great companies that weren’t included: AppNexus, AdColony, Addroid, Adestra, Aginity, Ambassador, Amobee, Amplifinity, Avoka, and AWeber are just the ones beginning with the letter “A” that people noted in the comments so far! Mea culpa. I even missed entire categories that begin with “A” such as Affiliate Marketing and Agency Operations.
The marketing technology space is gargantuan. (So rarely have an opportunity to use that word.) There are so many vendors that it’s impossible to wrap your head around all of them. And new ones continue to launch at a prodigious rate.
Hence people feel, quite viscerally, that the space is overcrowded.
The logical conclusion — other things being equal — is that consolidation is inevitable. A few companies will grow to dominate the landscape. The rest will be acquired or killed. Across the history of business software, that narrative of consolidation has played out again and again. So it’s natural to linearly extrapolate the pattern and predict that the same will happen with marketing technology too.
But what if other things weren’t equal?
Marketing, Technology, and Strategy
Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose covered my latest marketing technology landscape as part of their PNR: This Old Marketing podcast this week. They start on this segment around the 24:49 mark, with a riff on the Saturday Night Live The Rent Is Too Damn High skit. “Digital marketing is too damn complicated!”
It’s a terrific discussion about the interplay between marketing, technology, IT, strategy, and process. These were some of the points raised in their chat:
“Technology is definitely outpacing our ability to consume it as marketers.”
Buying technology is not a good way to figure out your strategy.
Most marketers aren’t using the technology they already have very well.
These problems happen when marketers are in charge of technology purchases.
Marketing and IT need to be better aligned and more collaborative.
You should determine your strategy and process first, and then find the right software to execute that — fit the tool to the problem, not the problem to the tool.
The only thing technology can do is make your processes more efficient.
I agree enthusiastically with about 75% of that. But there are three points I’d make:
Marketing technology is not just about efficiency — it’s about experiences.
The relationship between strategy and technology is circular, not linear.
Marketers cannot abdicate their responsibility to understand technology.
Strategy, marketing, and technology are all intertwined. To reference the How to Draw an Owl post from Seth Godin that Joe and Robert mention later in their podcast, the reality is more complex than just drawing two circles.
The short version: the above graphic is the latest incarnation of my marketing technology landscape supergraphic (click for a high-resolution 2600×1950 version, 4.7MB). It represents a whopping 947 different companies that provide software for marketers, organized into 43 categories across 6 major classes.
A high-resolution PDF version is also available (14.3MB). Please feel free to copy, repost, distribute, and use this graphic “as is” in any context you’d like.
Great presentation on Slideshare! Start-up marketing is always a bit different than marketing in a larger company partly because everything requires you to start from scratch. You can use this guide as a good baseline and build on it from there.
Content without a goal is art, not marketing.
Dear content marketer,
I think it’s time we had a little talk.
What you’re doing isn’t really marketing, at least not in any way that marketing was ever done before “content marketing” came along.
Before you flash that smug smile, dismiss me, tell me I don’t get it, and continue getting people to “know, like, and trust” you, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
Unicorns were the big story of the last few years, referring to designers who added production-level coding chops to their skill sets. Unicorns being rare by definition, an even larger population of designers—call them the thoroughbreds—focused their energies solely on interaction design, visual design, and prototyping, leaving the production code to the engineers.
Meanwhile, product design is now commonly recognized as a strategic advantage, its business impact made obvious to even the most skeptical of analysts by the success of Apple. Ironically, as companies have become more design savvy, some designers have felt marginalized when early stage, strategic product design decisions fall to business executives and product management.
In 2014, more designers will take their career down a third path, learning everything they can about market and business needs to evolve into more of a designer/product manager hybrid—a Pegasus, winging its way to a 10,000 foot view of the business. Their goal is to influence product strategy early and often, to ensure that the best products and features make it to the marketplace. Not to mention grooming themselves to fill the VP Product and Chief Product Officer roles of the future.
There are hundreds of how-to articles about content marketing best practices on the web. When I picture them, I think of rows upon rows of neat digital shelves, filled with pieces that are organized by Google’s algorithm instead of the Dewey Decimal System.
I’m proud to admit that I’ve contributed a few of those articles, but I’ve read many more than I’ve written. They come from the fantastic folks over at MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Institute, Marketo, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Moz, Sales Benchmark Index, Eloqua, SlideShare, Sales Lion…and the list goes on.
Companies often spend millions of dollars on product development efforts and carefully monitor and control the entire process only to treat the product launch process as an afterthought. It is disheartening for product teams to watch their organizations fumble at the goal line.
Organizations that do separate the product development process from the product launch process acknowledge that planning and implementing a successful product launch is labor intensive. However, only a minority of organizations actually do this well – even though this is one of the most critical and vulnerable elements of the entire product production process.
Last year’s Study of Product Team Performance pointed to the importance of having a single person responsible for product launch. However, our data suggests that only 37% of organizations actually take this step.
The Marketing Technologist: Neo of the Marketing Matrix
Today, I’m giving one of the opening keynotes at the Gilbane Conference, making the case for why marketing technologists are amazing, Neo-like characters in the marketing world equivalent of The Matrix.
The attendees, a 50/50 mix of IT and marketing professionals, are collectively the ideal audience for this. It’s the combination of their talents — increasingly blended into hybrid roles such as marketing technologists, creative technologists, growth hackers, and data scientists — that represents the vanguard of modern marketing.
Here is an annotated version of my slides:
There are two important things I need to tell you about process. By process I mean the series of actions needed to achieve a goal. Applied to content marketing, process refers to the succession of steps resulting in the efficient and effective ideation, creation, publication, distribution, and analysis of content and content campaigns.
A well-defined content marketing process differs depending on the organization. For example, some industries (such as financial services) have layers of approvals to go through before content can be published. Some align content assets to specific themes or target verticals. In our process, we define the call to action before before ever getting started.