As Martech Blossoms, Don’t Forget What It’s For, Scott Brinker Warns

At the MarTech conference in San Francisco, contributor Erik Bratt recaps the scene-setting talk by Scott Brinker, editor of the Chief Martech blog and the conference chair.

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It’s springtime in the world of marketing technology (martech), and boy, are things blossoming, with more growth and investment in the sector than ever before.

And yet, as marketers dust off and polish their technology stacks amid this rampant growth, they shouldn’t forget the ultimate goal of all these innovative tools: improving the customer experience.

That was the seasonal metaphor and overriding message from keynote speaker and program chair Scott Brinker as he opened up the sold-out MarTech Conference this morning at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

“With all these great technologies, it is still our responsibility to connect this to a comprehensive and compelling story for our customers,” Brinker told the audience in the main ballroom during a short speech that set the tone for the conference. “Marketing today isn’t about getting buyers to picture your narrative. It’s about getting them to experience that narrative across every touch point they have.”

Technology Is Key To The Brand Narrative

In the digital world, software and programming are now key elements of the over-arching brand narrative. And as fast as they can, marketers need to transform their “marketing piles” into true “marketing stacks” — cohesive, organized technology structures that work synergistically to bring the power of technology into focus, Brinker said.

To accomplish this, marketers should focus on two things: strategy and architecture. Having clarity in your marketing strategy and a good handle on the precise goals you are trying to achieve will lead you to the technologies you need. From there, you just need enough marketing technology talent to put it all together. “You can end up with a very powerful marketing stack, compared to a marketing pile,” he said.

The Growth Of Marketing Technology

Brinker opened his speech with the springtime metaphor, citing a litany of compelling statistics showing the sheer growth in marketing technology:

  • The marketing technology industry is expected to grow from $20B last year to $32.4B in 2018, according to IDC
  • Fifty-one percent of companies are now using 21 or more technologies, up 42 percent from just three years ago, according to “The ROI of Tag Management  Report, 2015 Edition,” from Econsultancy and Tealium (my employer)
  • Venture capital firms have invested a whopping $25.2 billion in marketing technology companies to date, and there are now 26 “unicorns” – companies valued at more than $1B.

Brinker noted the growth of his conference, which more than doubled in size from its first outing in Boston in August 2014. He also reflected on his stature as the leading authority and historian on marketing technology, particularly his famous Marketing Technology Landscape chart, which charts the number of total market applications, and seems to double or triple every year.

Back in 2011, “I did not set out with the mission of scaring the bejesus out of the marketing community,” Brinker told the audience. “I was simply showing how marketing is now a technology-powered discipline. That was the point I was trying to make.”

Point well made.

Here’s Brinker’s full presentation:

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

L. Erik Bratt
L. Erik Bratt is a veteran technology marketing executive and vice president of corporate marketing at Ensighten, the leader in enterprise tag management and omni-channel data solutions. Previously, Erik held senior-level positions at Tealium, Microsoft, WebSideStory (now part of Adobe Systems), InboundWriter and VoxOx, a cloud communications provider. He served as a strategic consultant for Digitaria (now part of Mirum), Viralheat (now part Cision) and, producing several best-selling reports on digital marketing and social media. Earlier in his career, Erik was a professional journalist for The San Diego Union-Tribune. He graduated from San Diego State University.

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