The democratization of MarTech: New possibilities and challenges  

Scott Brinker, martech expert and VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot

Scott Brinker, martech expert and VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot

In the past marketers had to go through IT for the marketing tools they need. Today marketing technology is widespread, easy to adopt and use. It’s been taken out of the hands of IT, and placed into the hands of marketers practically everywhere.

According to the fathering voice behind the MarTech term and VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot Scott Brinker, the developments within marketing technology is creating a new type of professional, the marketing technologist, as well as transforming the way marketers work.

I called Scott for a conversation on what possibilities and challenges new MarTech - with the introduction of artificial intelligence - is giving marketers.

MarTech continues to rise
Scott started his Chief MarTech Blog as early as 2008 and according to Scott, the entire MarTech space doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon:

I did a survey together with Walker Sanders, where we asked marketers how they expected their technology-budgets to develop in 2018. 65 % answered that it would increase, and 17 % of those that it would increase greatly. Only 5 % said that it would decrease.

The continued growth of the industry can be attributed to two main developments:

One is the implementation of AI into marketing technology.

The other, and still the more important one, has everything to do with marketing technology becoming increasingly accessible and easy to use, empowering marketing professionals to quickly adopt them. A democratization of marketing technology that means more people in the organizations will have the skill sets to use them; free from the tyranny of IT.  

Websites are one example. Coding skills are here already more of a nice to have than a need to have. And it’s now happening with e-commerce and mobile apps, giving marketers the opportunity to fairly easily develop their own applications. Just to name a couple of examples. The takeaway? It’s happening across the board, which means that marketers are now able to take charge of every aspect of the organization’s marketing, easily working across sales, customer experience, design and content.

But what type of challenges will marketers face when seeking to integrate marketing technology even further into their work? I mean, by now we all know that democracy can be quite volatile…

New possibilities and challenges
With marketers being able to quickly adopt new tools, there is an obvious risk of losing control. Something that the previous centralization in IT was highly competent at keeping.

Adopting new marketing technology won’t in itself result in better marketing. In some cases, if the implementation isn’t thought through, it can jeopardize brand consistency and customer identity. This is why a holistic skill set of marketers is as important as ever if they are to apply new marketing technology with purpose. In fact, making the right choices in marketing technology, is becoming just as important as the content we produce. As Scott puts it:

It’s not about one tool, but how we combine them. We are in uncharted territory, so we have to take charge of the development. Continuous evaluation is necessary, and will only become more so with the widespread adoption of AI.

Scotts point about AI seems to be just in time. Studies show that top performing companies are already twice as likely to be using AI in their marketing automation as their competitors. And one would think that AI will only accentuate the need for a well thought through implementation?

If Scott has left you wondering about your own Martech choices and implementation, Scott’s annually updated Martech Landscape provides a great overview.

By Martin Paludan