A peek at the marketing technology stack of the future

A recent report on the marketing technology landscape from Scott Brinker, Co-founder and CTO of Ion Interactive and author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, catalogued the stack of technology solutions built for the marketing department. A landscape that was crowded with over 100 solutions in 2011 has grown to include 947 solutions in 2014. Forrester’s Laura Ramos predicts that by 2017, marketing will spend more than IT on technology, and we can safely say that by the time 2017 rolls around, marketers will have no trouble finding a plethora of technology tools to manage and automate every area of marketing.

The stack of technology solutions marketers use to streamline marketing processes is in a constant state of evolution, and we’re on the brink of a major shift in the way marketers use technology. Two main factors account for this shift: the explosion of data and the development of disparate tools to help marketers make sense of big data. As marketers become more data-driven and hordes of technology solutions emerge to help marketers become even more so, in which solutions should marketers invest their time and their budgets?

Today’s marketing stack contains four essential technology platforms: Cloud CRM, Marketing Automation, Business Intelligence, and Marketing Intelligence.

marketing stack

Each of these solutions has developed in response to shifting customer expectations and explosions of disconnected tools.

The era of cloud CRM and automated marketing

Before Salesforce.com revolutionized the marketing stack with Cloud CRM, marketers were managing multi-channel customer communication through spreadsheets and disconnected e-business applications. CRM ushered in the first phases of relationship marketing with a single platform providing customer-facing employees with 360-degree views of their customers.

Before Eloqua, Marketo, and Hubspot automated marketing campaign administration, marketers grappled with separate technology solutions to manage each marketing channel — none of which could deliver holistic data about buyers. Marketing Automation merged email, SEO and inbound marketing onto a single platform so marketers could test campaigns as well as score and nurture leads as they moved throughout the entire buying cycle.

The evolution of CRM and Marketing Automation created the development of a new marketing platform designed to bring disconnected data management tools together.

In March 2014, Forrester Analyst Laura Ramos released a report that explores new ways B2B marketers should evaluate large quantities of data to understand customers and identify new prospects:

“A wealth of insights is available to B2B marketers if they are willing to dig in. Internet exploration, search, smart device usage, content browsing, and business community social activity reveals the twists and turns customers take throughout their lifetime.”

The concept is attractive in theory, but idealistic in practice; most marketing teams don’t have the capability to merge and analyze the increasingly large amounts of data they now collect.

Today, marketers face overwhelming access to customer data, but cannot extract useful insights. According to Bizo’s survey of 800 marketers, less than 20 percent of marketers believe they are using data well.

The evolution to Marketing Intelligence

To solve this problem, marketers invest in a collection of disparate tools – each one designed to address a single area of the marketing and sales funnel: lead scoring, segmentation, marketing ops, web personalization, predictive analytics, customer success, and sales intelligence.

Marketing Intelligence incorporates all of these functions to help marketers incorporate data into every aspect of the marketing funnel.

Marketing Intelligence is the layer connected to other platforms like CRM, Marketing Automation, and Web Content Management Systems that leverages data and machine learning to deliver insights on customers and market opportunities, and reduces operational overhead.

The era of Marketing Intelligence is upon us. The nexus of data with the connection of rich external sources to your CRM, advanced segmentation, and predictive modeling allows marketers to be scientific about the ways they communicate with customers. The question ultimately is not how will all these disparate solutions fit together with large quantities of data, but rather, how can I take advantage of an end-to-end solution to reveal my best market segments and engage most effectively with my best prospects.

To gain a better understanding of the marketing intelligence layer, download the new guide to marketing intelligence.