We’re fresh off what has been dubbed as “martech events season.” Ten industry and vendor platform conferences all jammed into Q2 this year. One of the big conversations I had with practitioners, martech company execs and industry observers is not about the hype — gasp! Some 5,000 martech companies — but how many “new” businesses are simply pre-existing companies pivoting their position to become a “martech provider.”
This is what happens when you’re part of a white-hot market. Marketing departments are currently undergoing a great customer-driven shift, while also being one of the last business functions to automate. In the eyes of many vendors, this combo signifies a gold rush.
With so much riding on martech investments, the question looms: What are the attributes of a valued martech provider in the golden age of marketing technology?
I tapped into some of the pros and thought leaders in the martech world, and here’s a starter list as you contemplate your next investment.
Must be a business partner, not another vendor
This was the No. 1 cited attribute of a valued martech provider. Not a surprise, as martech is still in its infancy and marketing orgs need the expertise.
Sam Melnick, current VP of marketing at Allocadia and former marketing analyst at IDC, puts it like this: “From my chair, a true partner is one who can walk the walk and provide value to their customer with sheer will and intelligence. They’re committed to your success in terms of product, service and expertise.”
This amplifies the idea that martech providers must be consultative, advising marketing teams beyond their product or service. The most successful providers realize the key is to create more efficiency and/or business value than the effort to implement, use and manage their technology.
“The vendor MUST understand the marketing industry and where they fit into the broader tech landscape,” says Leslie Alore (disclosure: client), director of global marketing operations and automation at Iron Mountain. “It’s really about being a consultant first, especially if you’re investing in something challenging the status quo. You need your provider in it with you.”
Scalability, integration and usability matter
Part of understanding the whole martech picture is understanding the role their technology plays in their customers’ martech stacks — today and looking forward. Alore emphasizes the need “not only to integrate with my current tech stack, but not compete [with] or contradict the core stack in use.”
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