The growth of the World Wide Web has fundamentally changed marketing. The discipline is now far more complex and the choice in tools, channels and techniques seems to be increasing every day. According to chiefmartec.com (Scott Brinker) the marketing technology landscape went from around a 100 companies in 2011 to 950 companies in January 2014... Below you will see an image of the marketing technology landscape from January 2014. (Click to enlarge)
Next to not knowing what to choose as a new marketing tool there is some positive news attached to this explosion. This evolution means that marketers are gaining more influence in the boardroom as we speak due to the fact that marketing is more data driven than ever before. This is great news for the CMOs of the world, because thanks to all that data marketers can now properly attribute revenue to their activities.
Everybody is busy collecting data on customers or users. Facebook's business revolves around collecting user data and then using it (or selling it) to target you with a relevant ad campaigns. Data (the bigger, the better?) pretty much allows anybody to measure and thus learn more about how their business is performing. With all this great data, it should result in better decision making and ultimately better performance.
Again on the Marketing Technology Landscape you can see the importance of data-driven marketing. The sections "data management platforms" and "marketing data" are enormous and leaves the B2B decision maker lost with the amount of options available. Big data is just a buzzword according to Peter Thiel (including SaaS, cloud and more), but the hype is not all unjustified, the numbers are there to prove it. All marketers are creating more content than ever before and people are busy documenting every single moment of their lives.
Big data and technology are definitely changing marketing and according to Gartner analyst Laura McLellan, CMOs will be spending more on IT than CIOs by 2017. It looks like the two disciplines are merging into a strategic entity. Will teams be soon talking to a CDO (Chief Digital Officer) rather then a CMO or CIO?
The modern marketer must be savvy in data, design and analytics. Big modern marketing teams are now often composed of designers, developers and UX specialists combined with more "traditional" marketing professionals. Some companies have the financial abilities to create these marketing "dream teams" but most of them don't and are relying on highly capable marketers that also have experience with design and UX for example.
Reverting back to the tech landscape the creative and design section seems really small compared to other key sections. Is there less money to be made in design and creative apps for marketers? Australian startup Canva probably disagrees with their easy drag and drop design tool which secured $3.6M in last July. Canva is a handy tool if you need to create social media banners, business cards, or blog visuals and you have no experience whatsoever in design.
Although tools like Canva are gaining popularity it still doesn't address the main problem that revolves around marketers' basic design skills. Anyone can drag and drop as much as they want but if you do not have much experience with the key concepts of white space, alignment and typography, it's a lost effort. Adobe's Creative Suite still remains the ultimate selection of design tools any marketer can access. The tools take more training and effort to master but they're more powerful than any web based tool available today. Too often, not enough time is spent on the design side of marketing and this is a mistake.
Design allows any marketer to improve any visitors' experience and should not be left on the side as "non-essential".
With technology, a modern marketer can track pretty much anything on the web. Analytics platforms are commonly used and allow marketers and CEOs to understand how to continuously optimise websites, content and social outreach.
Twitter recently released its Analytics platform to the public. This function was initially only accessible to paying customers using the Twitter Ads platform. This marks another addition to the suite of analytics tools available to the marketer.
Twitter users initially measured their "success" by the number of favorites, retweets and replies. With the new platform you can now measure in real time all the impressions, clicks and engagement rates which make optimising and improving your Twitter outreach actually a lot easier. If you haven't checked out this new analytics function yet (and you use Twitter), be sure to head over to Twitter's Ads Platform. Analytics should play a major role in any business, data needs to be measured and transformed into actionable insights.
One function we're still missing as "influencer marketers" is the ability to get key data around any individual, and make Twitter into a great tool for discovering key thought leaders in any industry.
As pointed out earlier this is all great news for marketers because it allows the discipline to be more involved in strategic business decisions. Marketers are generally very good at external marketing but they should not overlook their internal marketing efforts to gain leverage among senior executives and board members.
There is a brand new generation of marketers (myself included) that never had the opportunity to enjoy 30% click rates or 60% email open rates. These marketers grew up with the internet and really never experienced the times where marketing wasn't a truly strategic function in the business world.
For the new generation, marketing exists at the intersection of tech, data and design. Young marketers always have to come up with new techniques and tools because what works today will not work in 3 or 6 months time. The marketing technology landscape will increase but will we be still focussing on SaaS solutions or are we moving on to something new?