Scott Brinker is Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at ion interactive inc., a marketing software company that helps with the creation of interactive content. He lives at the intersection of marketing and technology.
On this episode, Scott and I discuss the evolution of marketing technology and how it impacts marketers in their job, career, and overall performance as marketing professionals. You'll also find out why Scott says marketing should be considered an Olympic sport.
The Growth of Marketing Technology
Scott's passion for marketing technology inspired him to launch chiefmartec.com in 2008. Chiefmartec is known for their annual infographic depicting the ever growing landscape of marketing technology companies shown below.
Chiefmartec.com addresses the intersection of marketing & technology. In the graphic below, you can see that in 2011 there were only 150 marketing technology vendors. That number has exploded to about 5,000 in 2017. Regarding the supply side, Scott says this is due to low barriers to entry. On the demand side, the expansion of marketing as a whole has added tons of responsibilities to the modern marketer, leading them to search for tools that will streamline their work.
A Marketing Technologist is someone with a technical skill set who is working in marketing. Scott says it's a profession that's not going away anytime soon because marketing is so dependent on data. He adds that not everyone needs to be a marketing technologist. "Marketing works best when it's a collaboration of many different talents."
The Role of the Marketer and AI in Marketing Technology
The role of the marketing technologist is to build out the infrastructure, but marketers must learn how to apply the tools to create great experiences. This requires experimentation, as there are few established best practices yet. It's "a new horizon" according to Scott, and as marketing technology continues to evolve, organizations need to evolve too. The silos set up within marketing (i.e. social media, mobile, email, Marcom, etc.) need to be broken down. Disjointedness must give way to agile marketing.
All categories of marketing technology are affected by the capabilities of AI and machine learning. Scott is critical of the common narrative that AI will finally simplify things for marketers. Rather, he says we are making marketing more complex by relying more on algorithms.
About the MarTech Conference
Scott is also the Program Chair for the MarTech Conference. This year's MarTech Conference is from October 2nd through the 4th in Boston. The conference covers Marketing, Technology, and Management. Guests are informed of how technology is changing, how it's applied to compelling marketing, and how to manage it. Scott says that management is the linchpin to martech and the conference topics are comprised of organizational structure, process, roles, the relationship between marketing and IT, and more. Attendees include practitioners from brands who can speak on the reality of using new marketing technologies.
In his blog post, Is winter coming for martech? Or just for martech VCs? Scott explains why he chooses to be an empiricist instead of a prognosticator. He says consolidation in martech is natural, but the evidence shows it's not happening. Just look at chiefmartec's annual update of the landscape. Companies are creating best of breed marketing tech rather than consolidating.
It's a fascinating time to be working in marketing. Many marketers may feel overwhelmed by the challenge of taking on marketing technologies. But Scott says marketing is on the ascendancy and is the center of the customer experience. He even calls it "the golden age of marketing."