When you look at Scott Brinker’s famous — and increasingly crowded — Marketing Technology Landscape, it resembles a wall of tiny bricks.
But when you talk to Brinker about how marketing tools are actually used these days, it’s not a wall that comes to mind. It’s more like a group of islands connected by an ocean of data and a fast-moving ferry.
Brinker — the co-founder and CTO of content marketing platform Ion Interactive and the program chair of our MarTech Conference — recalled for me recently that major marketing clouds used to give the impression that they provided “one platform to rule them all.”
But, he said, “like politicians’ promises,” the rhetoric didn’t match the reality. It was never really a one-platform world, Brinker said, and now it’s abundantly clear we’ve entered what he has described as a “post-platform era.”
In this topology, businesses employ multiple tools. Some are “like tent poles,” he said, serving as basic structural components — such as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud or Marketo — while there’s a data and functional integration fabric that connects them all.
One tool might perform a central role, acting as a kind of conductor, but which tool that is depends on who the user, need or department is. For a social media manager, for instance, it might be Sprinklr. For an email manager, it could be MailChimp.
Additionally, small and medium-sized businesses generally have different configurations than large enterprises. But the basic trend is the same: an orchestra of tools, connected through data and functionality.
But an orchestra needs a conductor so that all the players follow the same score and the same beat.