If you’ve any doubt that the marketing technology (or 'martech') industry is growing hand-over-fist, all you need to do is take a peek at Scott Brinker’s 2015 marketing technology landscape supergraphic. Scott’s the Co-Founder and CTO of ion interactive, and he writes the Chief Marketing Technologist blog. He started this supergraphic in 2011, and with just one look you’ll grasp the size and complexity of martech vendors. There were about 100 companies in that first infographic he created, and since then, the landscape has exploded.
Image courtesy of Aduldej at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In 2012, Scott’s chart included over 350 companies. Here we are in 2015. Guess how many martech solutions companies are on the latest chart? Nearly 2000. They crisscross a dizzying spectacle of 43 categories (like Content Marketing, Events & Webinars, SEO, Asset & Resource Management, Data Management Platforms, Marketing Automation/Campaign & Lead Management, E-Commerce, and Cloud/IaaS/PaaS).
These 43 categories are organized under 6 major ones: Marketing Experiences, Marketing Operations, Middleware, Backbone Platforms, Infrastructure, and Internet. (There, don’t you feel better already? Only 6 categories to deal with.)
So for all of you marketers tasked with the challenge of finding the right martech solutions for your company, it’s understandable that you’re feeling overwhelmed. There’d be something wrong if you weren’t.
Don’t tackle this all at once. You’ll just panic. If you can identify the exact problem(s) your company’s experiencing with its marketing strategy, your challenge of finding the right martech solution will be manageable.
Do you need a solution to help with personalization – of digital communications, print communications – or both?
How about help with mapping your customers’ journey? Or a tool that manages all of your digital assets and also personalizes or co-brands your materials when needed?
Maybe you’re struggling with managing and enabling channel partners – those distributors, retailers, VARs, dealers, or other firms that sell or promote your products.
There’s comfort in knowing that somewhere, among those 2000 companies, there exists a martech solution to your particular problem. But step #1 is pinpointing that problem. “Too much content” is not a helpful description of a problem, nor is “Our customers are all over the map.” They describe situations, and they won’t be terribly helpful in finding the right technology to invest in.
If you drill down further to articulate exactly what you hope to achieve – as in, “We need to organize and catalog our digital marketing assets so that we can access and edit them on-the-fly for customer marketing materials,” then you’re getting somewhere.
Start with naming your specific problem. It will help you search for the right martech product. Then you can identify the best-in-class vendors to consider and evaluate. Hello to solution. Goodbye to panic.