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Where is Martech Headed? More Growth!

WVU Marketing Horizons Where is Martech Headed? More Growth! featuring Scott Brinker at Hubspot

Technology continues to disrupt, enable and challenge the world of marketing. Join Scott Brinker, founder of the influential blog Chief Martech, as we discuss the future of marketing technology. When—if ever—will its growth plateau? How can companies prepare for the changes to come? Do you have to be a technologist to be a successful marketer today? Scott’s answers will surprise you.



Ruth Stevens: What advice do you have for companies to keep up with the changes in the marketing profession and the growth of martech?

Scott Brinker: It's hard for me to find another profession where the scope and scale and speed of the change has been as great and persistent as it is in marketing. I think part of this is just recognizing this is almost like the Meta challenge of marketing now of how do I create a marketing organization that can continue to adapt. New innovations and disruptions are always happening in our market or happening in the landscape of consumer and customer expectations. I often advise the people who are building out these marketing tech stacks to really designed for change. That generally means picking a platform that will serve almost is as the temple as the rest of your capabilities get developed. You want to make sure that the platform has lots of open APIs. You want to make sure that they're playing well with the other innovative marketing tech companies.

Cyndi Greenglass: It’s hard to keep on top of martech technology, and sometimes by the time you get around to implementing it, it’s already out of date. How do you constantly change quickly?

Scott Brinker: Not all marketing technology is equal or should be evaluated equal. I look at this like a long tail type spectrum. At the head of the tail you're talking about your foundational systems. These are things like your foundational CRM, your marketing automation platform, your website and digital experience platform. These are things that you want to evaluate very carefully, because when you put those in place, you absolutely do not want to be changing them every 12 months. These things, as they get large, they take you 12 months to even get fully implemented and customized to your needs. You need those foundational pieces to be in place for five plus years. There's are a whole bunch of other marketing technologies that are not foundational that you are able to quickly experiment with that the switching costs are minimal. It’s also important to have the capability for continuous learning in the organization or a marketing training program. Your frontline marketing team needs to continually upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Ruth Stevens: Where are things going for marketing technology?

Scott Brinker: One of the things that makes martech hard to wrap one's head around is that you've got both consolidation and diversification happening at the same time. The major platforms are highly consolidated. If you go and look up public companies in the tech space right there's maybe a dozen. Then you've got an increasingly diverse long tail of either apps that are extremely niche or folks that start out small but their aspiration is to someday disrupt one of the larger leaders. You see this continuous rejuvenation. They're just no barriers to creating software these days. Anyone with an idea can create a software app. One of the things that makes it challenging is, what do you define as a martech solution? For example, you have a data warehouse platform that marketing is using. Is that a martech platform? On the other end of the spectrum, take something like a plugin for Chrome that makes it easy for me to capture full screens that I then plug into marketing materials. Does that count as a martech tool?

Ruth Stevens: How do we advise students who really don't like technology and enter marketing hoping that it will be a place where they can be creative? Should we be telling them that marketing isn't for them anymore?

Scott Brinker: No. All the responsibilities and talents that marketing has historically needed, none of those have gone away. All this stuff that we're doing with technology is very much additive. Not everyone in the marketing organization needs to be a tech expert. In fact, that diversity of talents is one of the strengths of a modern marketing organization.

Key Takeaways/Three Little Piggies

  • This rate of change for marketing and technology is creating this Meta challenge for marketing to keep up with it, and that offers us opportunity and potential risk as marketing professionals.
  • The list of technologies is actually richer than we thought.
  • All kinds of skills are needed to be successful in serving customers, so you don’t need to abandon marketing if you aren’t interested in technology. We need to look at technology as an enabler of creativity.

Marketing Communications Today presents Horizons, it’s forward-thinking, looking ahead, through the front windshield and beyond, into the marketing future. Join Cyndi and Ruth bi-weekly for new ideas, technologies, tools and strategies that are emerging to help marketers navigate over the marketing horizon.

Meet our guest

Scott Brinker

Scott Brinker is VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, helping to grow and nurture the company's community of technology partners. He writes the chiefmartec.com blog and serves as the program chair of the MarTech Conference. He is the author of the best-selling book Hacking Marketing, published by Wiley. Previously, he was the co-founder and CTO of ion interactive. He holds degrees in computer science from Columbia University and Harvard University and an MBA from MIT. Connect with him on Twitter @chiefmartec.


Meet the hosts

Cyndi Greenglass

Cyndi W. Greenglass is a founding partner and president at Livingston Strategies, a data-informed, strategic consulting firm that helps clients develop, execute, and measure their customer communications with a close focus on results. Cyndi has razor-sharp strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Data Marketing Communications online master's degree program from WVU.

Greenglass has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for BRAND United and has taught, trained and presented at over 50 conferences throughout the world.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, for business-to-business clients. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.

Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the ERA business accelerator in New York City.


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