The Monday Stack: Going Post-Platform?
Let's kick off with a peek over the fence at sales tech — because we really find it hard to believe you can have a comprehensive perspective on marketing tech if you pretend sales tech and ad tech (to say nothing of enterprise software generally) doesn't exist.
And LinkedIn just hit us with The State of Sales 2017, a report on sales tech adoption and success. The headline is that sales tech adoption is increasing, despite its great expense: "When companies commit to purchasing sales technology to integrate into their businesses, they are spending millions, not thousands, of dollars." Over 90% of sales professionals report using sales tech to shorten sales cycles and grow revenue, and more than half expect their company to increase investment over the next year.
Social tech is also on the upswing, with more than 70% of sales professionals expecting to leverage sales tech over the next 12 months.
Striking figures? Well, kind of: But when you look at what falls under the sales tech stack in this report — CRM, and collaboration and networking platforms — it's a little less surprising that most sales professionals are using them. For "networking platform," read Facebook and LinkedIn (page 14).
As for social tech as part of sales tech, it's certainly interesting to note that it's used by sales professionals as well as marketers, but it's not like it's a separate and distinct technology. Social listening and publishing tools are leveraged by just about every organization, even if it's just a free version of Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
The report leaves me wanting to ask: Where are these millions of dollars going?
Squarely back in the marketing tech space, here's another report — this time from brand management and DAM software vendor Bynder — dealing with the digital marketing challenge facing smaller businesses. A main component of the challenge (and you'd expect Bynder to point this out; which doesn't detract from its validity) lies in the management of digital assets.
Based on a survey of 502 companies with 300 employees or less, Bynder finds that:
- 70% of respondents store creative content on a computer hard drive
- While 39% also rely on some kind of cloud storage, they tend to "lack organizational structure for storing and sharing their digital files"
- Knowledge of the existence of DAM solutions is "limited," but
- 73% would be interested in a DAM solution if budget permitted.
This is based on nothing but conversation and anecdote, but I'd say content chaos persists in many larger companies too. Unless the bottom falls out of digital content marketing, DAM is one of the marketing tech spaces which has enormous capacity for growth.
One of many topics I covered in my sit-down with Accenture Interactive's Glen Hartman last month was the opportunity which exists in the travel and hospitality space to create immersive, personalized-in-the-moment experiences for customers. In a sense, it's about going beyond traditional personalization ("We know who you are") to serve customers in context ("We know what you need right now"), illustrated by the different expectations I have if I'm traveling on business as opposed to traveling on vacation.
Accenture Interactive just announced a partnership with Marriott International, and global start-up incubator 1776, to launch the Travel Experience Incubator, challenging start-ups to devise solutions which will "increase connectedness and enhance the guest experience" at each stage of a journey.
Travel and hospitality are great crucibles for customer experience innovation. I have a dollar which says VR is going to play a part in this somewhere.
Finally, a quick look at the tectonic plates level of the marketing tech space. Scott Brinker has a must-read at chiefmartec.com about how the marketing stack is moving beyond platforms. I argued here last year ("Are the Marketing Clouds Rolling Away?") that the vision of the comprehensive marketing suite was being replaced by an infrastructure featuring best-of-breed partner solutions "plugged into" a marketing hub.
Scott takes this a step further, raising the possibility that we're entering a post-platform era where iPaaS (integration platform as a service) provides the glue to hold best-of-breed stacks together. Think of iPaaS as a "nervous system" rather than a platform or hub in the traditional sense.
This is a concept which fits well with those vendors who argue that the heart of marketing tech is not any one platform or hub, but a unified data layer, essentially agnostic about where it "lives." This is something to watch.
Monday Stack logo by Hilary Allison