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| MarTech.org | Real Story on MarTech: Why are vendor marketplaces so fragmented?

When I started as an industry analyst 20 years ago covering the web content and experience management (WCM) market, I marveled at the plethora and diversity of vendor start-ups. Well, some elder analysts clapped my shoulders and intoned, “Yeah, but how many will be around in five years? The market will consolidate, so you need to pick winners.” No doubt they were extrapolating from their experience with other industries — notably ERP, but maybe CRM too — where vendor oligopolies did emerge.

Yet, the story of the WCM market, and the marketing tech space more generally, is that consolidation by and large has not happened. If you follow the progression of Scott Brinker’s famous logo chart you’ll note not just the expansion of categories, but also the almost vertigo-inducing number of logos within each particular box. What’s going on? And how should you the enterprise marketing tech leader respond to a world of highly fragmented marketplaces?

I can think of at least six reasons why “industry consolidation” has been less the norm in the martech world. Read more.

 


 

| https://martech.org/the-real-story-on-martech-ask-the-right-reference-questions/ | The Real Story on MarTech: Where should personalization reside in your new stack?

This first of three articles on personalization at scale explores the right place for personalization services in your marketing technology stack

Online personalization as a concept has been with us for more than two decades, but recent developments have elevated its importance for martech leaders:

  • Greater attention to test and optimization leading to demands for more “always-on” personalization programs;
  • Better access to customer data and segments, opening up possibilities for more targeted experiences in any digital setting;
  • Emergence of AI and ML-based approaches for automating personalization logic; and
  • Heightened customer expectations for relevancy, leavened by experience with major consumer platforms like Netflix.

| CMS Wire | CDP Trends: The Market Bounces Back After a Slow 2020

Customer Data Platform (CDP) providers saw a growth resurgence of sorts in the past six months. The CDP industry continued to expand in the first half of 2021, adding 20 vendors for a total of 151, more than 1,200 employees and $550 million in funding, according to the released last month by the CDP Institute.

The growth represents a jump-start to an industry that saw a “brief slowdown” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than year ago, according to David Raab, founder of the CDP Institute.  “Everybody kind of froze last year when things first came down,” Raab told CMSWire. “...The world did not end, and it turned out there's a lot of demand for this stuff because everybody's doing digital transformation, and digital transformation requires good customer data.”

 

 

| MarTech.org | The Real Story on MarTech: Ask the Right Reference Questions

Before evaluating a martech solution, be ready with a methodical approach and a set of key questions.

When selecting vendors or services firms, martech buyers ask for references often, but check them rarely. Perhaps you believe you already learned enough from your peers, or perhaps you trust your gut instincts on a platform or vendor. However, when you skip this step, you miss an opportunity to enrich your understanding of a solution and supplier, which can hinder your evaluation, but also potentially slow down the actual implementation.

Based on two decades of helping large enterprises select the right martech platforms, I believe martech customers should overcome any reticence and arm themselves with a methodical approach. A savvy reference checker will employ a variety of different approaches and questions to obtain a richer and more transparent view of potential suppliers. Moreover, reference checking is invaluable when it transcends simple lists of strengths and weaknesses to uncover broader issues of supplier “fit” for you. And it’s all about fit!

So I’m happy to share twenty-five specific questions for which my Real Story Group colleagues and I have experienced good results. But first, like any good campaign, you need to set it up right…

 

 

| MarTech.org | The Real Story on MarTech: 10 steps to making better vendor selection choices

Industry surveys over multiple decades have repeatedly shown that more than half of technology projects fail to meet their objectives — or just fail outright. My discussions with martech customers suggest their success rates are no better.

There are many reasons for this, but in my experience, most technology problems originate in the critical early stages of an initiative. Once the boat gets headed in a particular direction, it can be hard to steer it back on course.

Choosing the right vendor and technology for your marketing initiatives is one of the most critical decisions you can make in those early stages. The wrong choice won’t necessarily doom a project, but it can make success much more difficult to achieve.

In the end, selecting technology better means selecting better-fitting technology. Here’s a look at 10 steps for doing just that. Read More.

 

 

| MarTech.org | Real Story on MarTech: Sometimes the biggest vendors carry the biggest risks

In 2019 when IBM suddenly let go of nearly all its martech portfolio, I joked that it reversed an ancient adage: while perhaps “no one ever got fired for recommending Big Blue,” it turns out IBM can fire you. Yet, IBM was not alone. Big martech vendors — even successful ones — routinely jettison or replace longstanding tools.

Yet, when it comes to perceived viability and stability, enterprise customers often fear smaller martech players. Early in my career as an industry analyst, I noticed that some of the best web content and experience management (WCM) solutions came from lesser-known vendors. Upon hearing this, my industry elders would pull me aside and say, “sure, but how much longer will that WCM vendor be around?” It’s a tough question to answer, because of course no one can ever really know, and martech marketplaces are highly fragmented. (“Fragmented” is analyst-speak for, you have a hell of a lot of choices!) Read More.

 

 

| MarTech.org | The Real Story on MarTech: Beware “Roof Rack” CDPs

A couple week’s ago in RSG’s inaugural MarTech column, I made the case for refactoring your MarTech stack to focus on lower level “Foundational Services.” Today let’s dig deeper into what that means for your manifold customer data platform technology choices. Read more.

RSG chart showing martech services model

 

 

| CMS Wire | Tony Byrne on CDP's enabling marketers to be able to perform marketing tasks without the support of IT

Tony Byrne, founder of Real Story Group, which helps enterprises make technology decisions said it’s a big win for speed-to-market and adaptiveness, "if IT or some sort of data office has been building and activating segments so far, and the CDP is able to successfully enable marketers to do this themselves." Read More.


| LinkedIn | What MarTech Stack Leaders Think About Operations

The latest meeting of Real Story Group's private MarTech Leadership Council centered around marketing and creative operations in the wake of the pandemic. The session included a case study from a Fortune 50 consumer goods firm along with some RSG analysis. These meetings are confidential, so I can't share all the juicy details and side conversations, but below I'll offer a general overview of some team findings.

This topic was particularly apropos following a Council meeting earlier this year on "Content Supply and Demand Chains." Looking at full-cycle processes inevitably takes you to considerations around operations. When it comes to MarTech operations, there's a wide range of topics to discuss! Here's a sampling of where enterprise stack leaders generally concurred. Read More.


| CMS Wire | Does Your Martech Stack Inspire Joy?

By nearly every measure, marketing technology stacks are getting more cluttered. Stack leaders and ops managers need to manage a wider set of tools, across a growing number of channels, while getting bombarded with pitches for new capabilities from vendors and colleagues alike.

Meanwhile, stack leaders face pressure from business executives and sometimes IT leadership to rationalize their environments and justify incremental spend. Read More.


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