Extract of: http://chiefmartec.com/2014/11/will-happen-marketing-technology-2015/?_tmc=ikVT-mhlzpmGJIs1TIjdrGxuhUhJgFjABsLKMAvrZqQ
So here are 7 not-quite-predictions that I believe about marketing technology in 2015:
#1. Marketing technologists will multiply. Whatever label you want to put on them, the number of technical professionals working in the service of marketing is clearly on the rise. I’m hearing the term “marketing technologist” used more frequently, and I expect that it will gain more traction in the year ahead. Where will these previously nonexistent marketing technologists come from? Many will migrate from IT, where a subset of those professionals are eager to apply their technical talents in the pursuit of more exciting, customer-facing innovations that are recognized as driving revenue, not merely containing expense.
#2. The marketing technology landscape will grow, not shrink. Yes, there will continue to be big deals that feed the counter-narrative of consolidation. For instance, if Microsoft does fulfill my prediction, that will be a consolidation. However, the number of new entrants will continue to outpace the number of exits (happy or otherwise). As Neeraj Agrawal of Battery Ventures said in his Q&A with me, we’re just in the 4th inning of the game. There’s money. There’s opportunity. And it’s never been easier to create software in the cloud.
I can make a promise — stronger than a prediction — that the 2015 version of my marketing technology landscape will have more companies represented than 2014. And yet it still will be woefully incomplete.
The next three factors, however, will make this incrementally more manageable.
#3. The ISV ecosystems around major platforms will flourish. 2014 was a remarkable year for the public support that many of the major enterprise marketing cloud providers — Adobe, IBM, Marketo, Oracle, Salesforce.com — gave to their ISV communities. Marketo recently celebratedover 400 third-parties officially in their LaunchPoint ecosystem. The message: one company can’t do it all. I believe these platform strategies will accelerate in the year ahead, and they will make it easier to find and integrate the right capabilities from a very large field of more specialized vendors. I expect that we’ll also see some impressive innovations in the depth of these plug-and-play integrations — they’ll fit into a platform’s user interface and data services features much more seamlessly.
#4. The adoption of “marketing middleware” will increase. Tag management systems, data management platforms (DMPs), customer data platforms (CDPs), cloud app connectors, enterprise service buses (ESBs), etc., have all had a terrific year and are poised for more growth in 2015. These software solutions provide a layer of marketing data management that spans many different systems. When implemented well, they make heterogeneous marketing stacksmore manageable — which also enables brands to avoid being cornered by a single vendor. Greater IT talent applied to marketing technology management will help proliferate these more advanced and adaptable architectures.
#5. The line between software vendors and service providers will blur. Everyone in the marketing technology field should read Software vs. Services: Is There Really A Difference byMartin Kihn of Gartner. This is so spot-on. And with Publicis’s pending acquisition of SapientNitro, the stakes for the major agency holding companies to embrace this blurring have ratcheted up considerably.
Having reflected on marketing-as-a-service (MaaS) since my debate (in the comments) about itwith Gerry Murray from IDC last month, I think he’s right: it’s going to be a major channel for marketing software. But not just for the big marketing clouds. This will be a tremendous channel for innovative and niche marketing applications — including specialized software programs, everything from custom algorithms to cross-system “glue,” that will be developed by those service providers themselves to create non-commoditized competitive advantages.
Those last three — ISV ecosystems, middleware, as software/service convergence — all help make a rich and diverse landscape of marketing software more accessible to marketers who don’t want to get bogged down in a bunch of complex integrations themselves. Effectively, they can now offload that technical effort to vendors, middleware architectures, and service providers. It begins to turn the vast scale of the landscape from a bug into a feature.
#6. Several big companies will become new entrants in the marketing tech space. Dell’s entrance is the most recent example. I’ve already made my prediction for Microsoft. Other classic tech giants that I would keep an eye on include Cisco, Citrix, Intel, Intuit, and Xerox. I also believe that Amazon, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter will significantly expand their software offerings to marketers — LinkedIn’s acquisition of Bizo is Exhibit A — which will start to impact the competitive dynamics with marketing clouds from the “traditional” enterprise software companies.
#7. All of marketing technology will be hot — but some categories will be really hot. 2014 was the year of content marketing and predictive analytics, which will remain big. Next year, I think we’ll see five other categories gain traction. Four of them — sales enablement, post-sale customer marketing, marketing finance, and marketing talent management — are all about hybridization between marketing and other departments: sales, customer service, finance, and HR, respectively. The fifth will be innovations related to the Internet of Things (IoT). Yes, I can’t but help cringe a bit when I say that, as I know there’s a lot of hype around IoT. But the reality is that with ubiquitous connectivity and device proliferation, the field of hybridized online/offline experiences is almost — almost — ready to blossom.
Actually, I believe there’s also a sixth category that will be on fire in 2015 — interactive content. I feel a little sheepish saying that because, well, my company, ion interactive, offers interactive content marketing software (you can read the story of our pivot here). So you could certainly argue this is my “hope” more than a prediction. But, if you’ll indulge me for a moment, it’s evident that content marketing is becoming a victim of its own success: the noise of passive content (the world-wide web of white papers and webinars!) is deafening, steadily reducing its efficacy in engaging and educating prospects. Interactive content changes the rules of that game, by letting marketers produce more permanent customer experiences instead of just more transient customer communications. And it’s not just me. I’ve been seeing a lot of new competitors emerge in the category. There’s going to be some really interesting innovations around interactive content in 2015. In keeping with the hybrid theme of the other five categories, think of this as the hybridization of communications and experiences.