EDGE hosts Erin Sparks (Site Strategics CEO) and Tom Brodbeck (Site Strategics Digital Media Director) spoke with Scott Brinker of ChiefMarTec and VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot in EDGE of the Web Episode 301 to find out what developments we can expect to see across the MarTech landscape in 2019. Here’s what we learned:

Convergence of Platforms and Apps

Great progress is being made so that marketers can have their main platform with all the core services they need but also get all the specialized apps they want and have them integrate with their platform of choice more easily. The major platforms are now HubSpot Adobe (which is taking on Marketo), Salesforce, Oracle – it’s a pretty small set of major platforms. And they’re all getting better on the API front, and the specialized apps can now say what platforms they integrate with. Consumer choices are now being driven by this integration aspect both on the platform and app front.

The Evolution of MarTech Over Time

MarTech is in the midst of its first “golden age.” There was the explosion of various MarTech tools, but they were all springing into being independent of each other in a kind of “every tool for itself” fashion. That model is no longer sustainable. But now the value proposition is all about how can marketers orchestrate all the different tools.

Another piece of the puzzle is that many of the MarTech tools will settle into a well-defined niche of users from which they cannot and do not keep growing. This reality doesn’t fit the venture capital (VC) funding model which is all about achieving rapid sustained growth. It’s just not going to happen for many of the MarTech companies, which means some of them will either go away or get swallowed up by other companies. That’s going to be a bumpy road for the next couple of years, but the underlying trend will be one where the main platforms become the hub to give marketers a solid organizational foundation, onto which they can graft whatever best-in-breed niche tools they want to use. They won’t be VC-funded in the classic sense because their goal won’t be to build a billion-dollar business – it will be to build a $10-million or $50-million-dollar business by serving a well-defined niche with a specialized product that easily plugs into the major platforms. And the “constrained canvas” of a limited set of major platforms will enable a new explosion of app development, just like it happened with smartphones. The smartphone market was very fragmented until it settled out into iOS and Android, and then came the incredibly huge explosion of apps.

The End of the Build or Buy Dichotomy

It used to be that companies had to decide whether they were going to buy into an off-the-shelf platform product to cover their core capability needs even though it wasn’t tailored to their company’s unique needs or build what they wanted to get that tailoring even though it felt like reinventing much of the wheel. That dichotomy is going away because companies can do both. They can buy into the platform they need for core capabilities and they can develop unique apps for the business that plug into their platform of choice through ever-improving open APIs. Or find the specialized apps they need from other providers and plug them in.

The “build” option is also becoming easier with great tools like Zapier that open up app building to “citizen engineers” or “citizen developers” who can build the apps they need without being professional software designers. It’s the same thing with design when you have tools like Canva so non-technical people can produce professional-grade graphic designs. People no longer have to wait for an overburdened IT team to build what they need – they can do a lot of it themselves. The digital canvas allows for rapid development and testing of tools.

Upcoming MarTech West Conference April 3-5 in San Jose

MarTech West Conference is coming up and will feature an incredible array of speakers and presentations in three tracks that include marketing, technology, and management. EDGE fans can get a 20% discount to attend by using the special code MarTechVIP when they register.

Connect with Scott Brinker and ChiefMarTec

Scott on Twitter: @chiefmartec (https://twitter.com/chiefmartec)

Scott on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sjbrinker

Scott on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sjbrinker

Scott’s Blog: https://chiefmartec.com

HubSpot on Twitter: @HubSpot (https://twitter.com/HubSpot)

HubSpot on Facebook: @hubspot (https://www.facebook.com/hubspot)

HubSpot website: https://www.hubspot.com

Scott’s Book: Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative

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