In early April of 2010, a presentation was made at the Search Insider Summit by Scott Brinker titled, ‘Rise of the Marketing Technologist’. Mr. Brinker was armed with an MBA from MIT, a master’s degree in computer science from Harvard, and a breadth of experience as an entrepreneur working at the intersection of marketing and technology. The message he delivered was a reflection of the seismic effect that the world of technology was having on the world of marketing (and vice versa).
Brinker’s premise was that digital marketing was making marketing harder. More fun, but harder. There was a migration from old media to new media and the avenues accessible on a buyer’s journey were growing exponentially. With the spike in the degree of difficulty, technology solutions were flooding the landscape to fill the gaps to create efficiency, take advantage of new technology platforms, and measure performance.
It is no longer sufficient to simply address the traditional four P's of marketing. Marketers are now required to understand data, analytics, enterprise systems, systems integration, code, social media, electronic content, and more. Personally, I started my career with a degree in information systems, moving from structured COBOL programming to e-Commerce and ultimately partnering with companies to formalize their digital presence for modern marketing and business development. The worlds of technology and marketing have officially merged.
The most impactful piece of Brinker’s presentation was the introduction of the Marketing Technology Landscape, an infographic highlighting the technology solutions available for marketing. The evolution of the infographic shows the dramatic increase in the number of marketing technology solutions.
Number of Vendors In The Marketing Technology Ecosystem
- 2011 = 100 vendors
- 2012 = 350 vendors
- 2014 = 947 vendors
- 2015 = 1,876 vendors
- 2016 = Terrifying (TBD)
Digital marketing has grown well beyond the boundaries of a static website. That growth around technology continues to conceive new concepts that are becoming commonplace in the world of marketing. Businesses are becoming more and more comfortable with terms such as landing pages, social media, SEO, automation, call-to-action buttons, retweets, and ebooks.
The problem is that this marketing-technology evolution is overwhelming. It is creating a skewed thought-process. In my recent experience with clients, there is often a desire to implement a marketing technology quickly to keep up with trends or competition without understanding where it fits within an overall marketing strategy.
It doesn’t need to be so overwhelming. Take some time to unplug from technology and understand the basics:
- Who are your ideal customers (buyer persona)?
- What is your differentiating value?
- Create a roadmap for moving prospects towards a simplified offer that makes it easy for someone to become a customer (buyer's journey).
Once you have the basics defined, it becomes easier to select supporting technology solutions from the thousands of vendors in the marketing technology landscape.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Founder and Chief Modern Marketing Strategist at Touchline Marketing. He built a social media site before Facebook, a cloud-based CRM system before Salesforce, and a website content management system before HubSpot. Somehow he is still working for a living. You can find Jeremiah on LinkedIn or on Twitter (@sidewebbing).