How big is your marketing tech landscape?
In May, Scott Brinker announced the Martech 5000, a near impenetrable visual thicket of 5,381 solutions. Then just last week, CabinetM, the Boston-based marketing tech discovery and management platform, raised the stakes by announcing that their solutions listing has shot past the 7,000 mark.
That’s just crazy — especially as there’s every chance that the Brinker set might include solutions that haven’t made it onto CabinetM’s radar.
Of course, there are qualifications to any such statistics. It isn’t always easy to know how to count solutions, or even how to count vendors: But the simple takeaway is that we’re still on an upward trajectory when it comes to the sheer volume of marketing tech tools available.
As I’ve noted before, there nevertheless seems to be consolidation in some specific marketing tech categories. “(T)here is a great deal of commonality in core anchor platforms, including CRM and marketing automation platforms,” said CEO Anita Brearton. But she went on to add: “(S)tacks are far more heterogeneous than homogenous; in many ways marketing technology stacks are very much like snowflakes.”
But wait. If that’s your marketing stack, what’s that I see over there? Your sales stack? Sales tech might not make quite as much noise as marketing tech, but it’s real, as the annual Sales Machine summit set out to demonstrate. And of course Salesforce — summit co-hosts with Sales Hacker — has a big footprint in both territories. I sat down at Sales Machine for a quick chat with Lynne Zaledonis, VP of product marketing for Salesforce Sales Cloud. Zaledonis has been involved with the alignment of CRM and sales for some 17 years, the last 12 at Salesforce where, of course, “I’m a consumer of the app myself.”
Zaledonis reflected on the remarkable transition in just ten years from faxing to texting. And yet one thing which has endured is resistance among some sales teams to fully leveraging CRM. “They don’t think it will help them close a deal,” Zaledonis said. The latest ammunition Salesforce has to persuade reps otherwise is, of course, AI. “It makes them more productive, gives them greater visibility into the pipeline. When reps start to see benefits from the best leads, from prioritization, (they will see that) it helps them hit their numbers.”
One of the milestones for Sales Cloud which Zaledonis still points out (“A quick win for us”) was the acquisition of quote-to-cash software specialists Steelbrick at the end of 2015. Natively built on the Salesforce platform, Steelbrick was easily integrated into Sales Cloud and re-emerged as Salesforce Quote-to-Cash. I took the opportunity at Sales Machine to speak with Will Spendlove, VP of marketing.
It’s all about democratizing CPQ (configure-price-quote), he told me. “In the past it was only available to companies with very large budgets: It required a lot of services, rules, and processes.” Built on the Salesforce platform, Steelbrick — and now Salesforce quote-to-cash — are making dynamic pricing available to all market segments. As Spendlove explains, it’s a natural fit right after opportunities are created by the Marketing Cloud and/or Pardot. “The sweet spot is companies with massive amounts of SKUs,” he said. Any brand, in other words, with a complex product, perhaps in different versions. CPQ can also be exposed to distributors and re-sellers. And of course Einstein is helping make quotes even more intelligent than they were before.
The future? “Supply chain — definitely,” Spendlove said. “Where inventory is going; what exists. We do that today, but we’re investing more.”
Fakebook still has problems with face news. Wait…that’s not quite right. Neither was the much-shared story that London police found a baby alive on the 16th floor of Grenfell tower, 12 days after the tragic fire. The story was launched on Facebook by a well-known purveyor of hoax news, and — illustrated with the BBC’s well-known breaking news graphic — quickly convinced readers that it was true. This despite no supporting statement from the police. It’s obviously still possible for even obviously fraudulent news stories to dodge Facebook’s touted fact checker tool. And that means it’s still not a wholly safe environment for brands: Will it ever be?
Finally, one topic we’ve been discussing more and more here at DMN is the integrated agency: the agency or indeed consultancy which offers everything from creative services to tech stack advice and implementation. Integration is affecting the PR agency world too, as discussed in WPP‘s Sir Martin Sorrell’s Cannes Lion interview with our PR week colleague Steve Barrett.
Monday Stack logo by Hilary Allison