In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris talk through some of the latest data in marketing technology from Scott Brinker’s MarTech 9000. How much marketing technology is too much? Do we really need hundreds of options for CRM software? What lessons should we take from all this data. Tune in to find out!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:16
In this week’s in your insights, we are starting to take a look at the data published by Scott Brinker and the MAR tech conference on the MAR tech.
It’s called the MAR tech 9000 9000 different vendors in the marketing technology space offering all these different solutions to your marketing problems.
And we thought we’d take some time today talk about just how many of these solutions there are.
So I’m gonna go ahead and bring up our very, very quick analysis of the top 40 categories, the number of companies in the martec 9000.
These are the top 40 categories.
And the way you look at this, for example, on line one, sales automation enablement and intelligence, there are 508 companies that offer software to do something in that space, you just go down to line six CRM, there’s 336 different CRM companies.
So Salesforce, Hubspot, and so on and so forth.
So Katie, when you see this buffet of marketing technology, what comes to mind?
Katie Robbert 1:22
It’s too much, it is too much.
That is the first thing I thought when we started talking about this last week is, these are too many.
There’s too many choices for people.
And what I can’t wrap my head around is, if there are 508, sales automation enablement and intelligent platforms.
What’s that? What’s the difference between all of those things, you know, aside from, they’re not going to tell you the price or the features on the website.
So they’re gonna force you to get on the phone with a sales guy to do a demo to find out within 30 seconds that you don’t need this thing that it doesn’t answer any of your questions.
Like, to me this is bonkers.
9000 different pieces of software.
To solve a problem, it is to like, as a decision maker, I sit here and I’m like, Well, how do I know if what I’m currently using is the best of the best? How do I stay up to date.
So if we just pick one category, one category still has over 50 options, there is nothing on here that has less than 80 options to pick from.
And it’s overwhelming.
So that’s my takeaways it is overwhelming, Chris?
Christopher Penn 2:35
And in fact, Scott and the team have this really fantastic interactive website called martec.
Map, which allows you to just get a very quick sense of what’s in here, you do have to register for a free account.
But let’s take an example, let’s take something like public relations, our old standby from our former agency.
And what you can see is as though there’s at two categories, and then just you know, icon after icon after icon of company after company, in that space.
So when we look at this chart, that really is there’s 81 different companies and solutions in in just that category alone.
So yeah, there, there is definitely a lot of stuff in here.
Katie Robbert 3:14
So So of course, you know, I’m guessing that one of the questions you’re going to ask Chris is, well, where do we start to narrow it down in the first place, you start, as the person who has to narrow it down is to do your own set of business requirements, your use cases, your needs, and wants, and prioritize those by must have a nice to have.
So, you know, for example, with PR, you know, maybe I say, you know, it must have some sort of AI built in that will, you know, write my pitches for me.
And then it also must have something that will actually do the pitching for me, you know, those might be must haves.
And if there’s nothing out there that solves that problem, well, then I have to keep moving on? Or do I have to change my own set of requirements and expectations.
And so you have to do your due diligence first before you can even start poking around.
I think that Scott’s tool on the website on the MAR tech site is actually really handy.
The problem I see with this, though, is that it can be very still very overwhelming and confusing if you don’t have your requirements set ahead of time.
Because you might be like, Oh, I could use that too.
And oh, you know what? That would be cool.
Oh, what about this? And so it’s it’s a helpful tool to understand what’s in the box.
But it’s not helpful if you don’t have your set of requirements set up ahead of time.
Christopher Penn 4:41
It is I’m just personally amused at the number of PR company PR tech Mar tech companies in here that have just PRs the logo, like okay, clearly there’s these VCOs some graphic designers in this space to bring a little diversity to it.
And again, the team at achieved.
Bartek is just trying to provide a portal so people can see just a sense of the size of the landscape.
It’s not a vendor review site by any means, you know, they’ll will point you towards a place like GE to.
For more apt comparisons, this is literally just here’s marketing technology out there.
So yeah, you’re right, the user story and the requirements gathering is absolutely essential to just to make sense of, you know, how bonkers this this landscape is, the thing that stands out to me is how duplicative some of this has to be, you know, when you think about a CRM, a CRM is pretty straightforward.
We’ve had CRM technology for, what, 25 years now.
And the fact that there’s still 336 companies in the CRM space now there’s, you know, obviously, a lot of new startups, there’s open source ones like sugar, CRM and stuff.
And there, there’s the the traditional heavyweights like Salesforce.
But yeah, 336 seems like a lot of choices.
And I can’t imagine that even with the best review sites, there’s a way to easily, you know, put out an RFP at all 36 companies.
Katie Robbert 6:07
this is the part that I’m struggling to understand.
You know, and maybe the same could be this could be said about us, as we started our company, why would someone willingly go into an already saturated market? With what they feel is a new piece of technology? How can you, you know, and you know, credit to the, you know, Mar tech team, I don’t know how, or how many hours or weeks or years it takes to collect all this information.
And that’s, you know, a larger team that has the resources to do so as a startup, you may not have the resources to to really understand, okay, of the 336 CRMs on the market, what’s the one or two features that are missing that I can then provide to disrupt the market? Like that’s where my mind instantly goes, when I see something like this, of why would anyone in their right mind want to compete in this space, as we sit here in our, you know, marketing consulting agency, because we’re also bonkers.
Christopher Penn 7:09
We are, but I mean it when we think about what we have to offer, we have to offer complementary perspectives on the space, you have that hardcore analytics and data science and AI and machine learning.
But you also have the human organizational behavior, change management and management consulting.
And those are things that you don’t you normally don’t see blended in, in consulting firms, you see them, you sometimes as separate divisions, and a big consulting firm like McKinsey, for example, will have that probably in separate divisions or separate teams and a smaller consulting firms, you might just have a single point of focus.
The thing that we see for ourselves is that, you know, there’s those things to complement each other.
And so you’re better off having both rather than just having one or the other.
When we think about the software side of things in these different marketing technologies.
This, for sure there’s there’s pricing as a huge differentiator, and somewhat probably one of the easiest to differentiate on, like what can you afford, if you can’t afford more than $300 a month, it doesn’t matter how cool you know, a salesforce.com is you can’t afford it.
How much of the burdens you want to take on, if you are running something like Sugar CRM, you have decided that you are totally okay with administering your own servers.
We are that way with Mautic, the Mautic that Mark Mautic marketing automation system that’s open source.
For five bucks a month, we run a system that, you know, has some almost similar capabilities to like Hubspot, for example, or Marketo.
But the trade off is that you need substantial technical expertise to make the thing work, once you’ve got that part down, then you can reap the savings.
So it does always come back to not only requirements but what capabilities you have and what you can use.
There’s a number of analytics tools, when you think about it, that again, depending on your level of sophistication, dictates what you’re going to use.
There’s there’s tools, for example, like a Domo, that I find kinda not as not as helpful to me, because I have the technical expertise needed to do what I want without needing it to sort of massage everything for a company where you didn’t have somebody who had a programming background and R or Python, it might be just the thing.
So it’s a lot of capabilities gathering to
Katie Robbert 9:36
it, it makes me think back to you know, the companies that are just starting out the startups like we were a few years ago, trying to make those decisions of what do we need to hit the ground running? You know, it you know, obviously that depends on the kind of company you’re building.
But to your point, Chris, it really is that capability straight off.
So let’s say I We’re starting Trust Insights, and didn’t have, you know, a Chris Penn involved, that would have drastically changed what my MAR tech stack looked like, because of my technical capabilities versus Chris’s, or your technical capability.
So, for instance, I would not have gone with a Mautic for my marketing automation, because I have no desire to run my own server.
And to fix code, every time we launch a newsletter, you for some silly reason, enjoy doing that.
And, you know, until we run out of time for you to be able to do that we will continue to operate that way.
But at some point, it won’t be sustainable.
And we will have to look at let’s see, where’s email on here? You know, one of the, you know, 100, some odd, you know, systems that do that marketing automation to send out
Christopher Penn 10:51
marketing automation is 337 choices.
Katie Robbert 10:55
no big deal.
So it’s an easy decision.
But if I were starting out, and I didn’t have someone who could run their own server, that’s what I would need to be doing is, you know, I would have to say, How much money do I have to spend? How high of a priority is, you know, marketing automation for me, you know, what capabilities do I have? And let me start to narrow it down of the 337 choices.
I have presently, which, you know, by the time you know, people wrap their head around the MAR tech 9000, it’s going to be the martech 11,000.
Christopher Penn 11:32
It’s absolutely true.
And I guess the question then to ask is, with a lot of these things, it almost seems like companies would benefit from having almost like bundles, right? So like, for a startup with no technical expertise, here’s the systems and services that are probably gonna be a good fit for you.
For a midsize company, here’s the systems and services that are probably gonna be a good, good fit for you.
For an enterprise.
Here’s the system services, because, you know, for example, like access control lists and granular access control, you need that in enterprise, you don’t need that in a three person consulting company, right? Because in a three person consulting company, if you have access control issues, something’s gone really wrong in the partnership.
Whereas, you know, half of our martec is like Google Sheets, because that’s where we are in an organizational management perspective.
So a lot of those things, I think, would probably have some benefit.
Now, if we look at also, the technologies that the top 40 most used.
We do see some commonalities.
So we look you see here, Google Analytics, 8000 different uses.
So this is instead of so what we did with this was, instead of looking at the martec map of products, we said, let’s take all 9000 companies by their domain name and see what common marketing technologies they’re using.
So this is sort of the mahr Tech of the mahr tech companies.
So what we see as out of the 9000 companies in the MAR tech map, 1000 of them use Google Analytics, right? That is an overwhelming vote of, I guess, confidence in the technology, even with the you know, everything going on with Google Analytics 4, it’s still the most popular marketing technology within this cohort.
And we did this National Essay a couple of months ago for the fortune 1000.
And even then the fortune 1000, Google Analytics, still the most popular marketing technology.
And so what we see here is that even for a lot of these advanced companies, they’re all still using really a dozen or so very, very common applications.
And so from a skills perspective, and from a jobs perspective, and a hiring perspective, these are the technologies that you want to make sure you know, if you’re a marketing technologist, and if you’re a marketer, who’s running a company, or a division of a company, these are the skills that you’re probably going to want to hire for.
Katie Robbert 14:07
What’s interesting to me, and this is sort of what you were just talking about Chris was the the different packages based on how big the company is that you’re starting, even if you currently work at one.
And so to me, I know off the top of my head, you know, the first dozen or so of these products are not on the gonna break the bank end of the spectrum.
There’s definitely a couple in there.
But the larger systems like a Salesforce does offer different tiers, you know, and so it is interesting to me, but not surprising that the products that are used, the systems that are used the most are on the less expensive side of the spectrum.
I mean, it makes sense.
It absolutely makes sense Google Analytics unless you’re using Google Analytics, 3 60 It doesn’t cost you anything cost you time and expertise.
But it doesn’t hit your bottom line in terms of an expense.
The same with Tag Manager.
The same with Google Apps.
Facebook advertising is an interesting one, because we know from working from doing work ourselves, but also with our partners, the cost of Facebook ads is really low.
Compared to other advertising systems.
Now, the quality of the information you get back is going to be different.
And it’s sort of you get what you pay for.
But, you know, again, it’s an affordable way to drive awareness, and then you start to continue to go down the list.
And the affordability of each of these things starts to change.
But it is interesting to see, you know, where people go first what they trust the most.
Christopher Penn 15:47
Oh, yeah, for sure.
I mean, I would say let’s run down the list here in terms of cost, right.
So Google IELTS and Tag Manager free.
Google Apps is relatively inexpensive.
WordPress is free.
Salesforce can get expensive Facebook, advertisers pay as you go.
Cloudflare starts with free route 53 is an Amazon service for DNS.
And that is pay as you go.
App Nexus is a programmatic advertising company.
So that’s pay as you go.
nginx is a web server and that one, I don’t remember what nginx is costs are but it does have a cost.
I don’t think it’s a ton Hubspot start slow cost and then becomes reassuringly expensive, very quickly.
Is freemium, I believe is basic, and then it goes up.
Office 365 is like 100 bucks a year per person.
Heroic is now called matomo.
And that is a Google Analytics alternatives open source that can be relatively low cost I we pay, I think five bucks a month for it.
Apache is a web server that one is free.
The software itself is for YouTube is free exchanges email, which is part of Exchange Server that one can get expensive.
Facebook Connect is free outlook is outlook.com.
is free hot jar is they have a freemium model, we got a lot of these, you’re right, you know, this, when you think about this is almost like the blueprint for a tech startup, like these are the companies that as a tech startup, you would want to probably have in your pocket.
Katie Robbert 17:11
Well, and this tells you, you know, I know that these are the systems that are using this technology, but the likelihood that other marketers, other companies are also using all of this technology is pretty high, it makes sense.
Christopher Penn 17:27
Oh, definitely, it makes a lot of sense.
And it’s really what we see, you know, across the board, when you look at Series B funded companies, the top technologies, we did that research, same, the same, you know, kit, Tag Manager, analysts, Google Apps, Route, 53, WordPress, Salesforce, and so on, and so forth.
It’s, you know, these are, again, these are different startups.
But it’s still all essentially the startup blueprint.
So one of the things that I think is valuable about these types of analysis, is, if you have a known set of companies, that are our peers to you, you can use this type of data to understand, you know, almost what the hiring pool is going to be like, because you know, what the most common marketing technologies are.
And so if you’re like, these are, this is literally a startup toolkit right here.
If you are a startup, you’re going to be using Tag Manager, Google Analytics, you know, maybe a WordPress almost certainly Cloudflare.
Almost certainly, if you’re not using those services, I would have questions for you.
And then from there, you can look at an analysis of different companies up the food chain, when to get to enterprise and say, Okay, well, what do enterprises use? And that, again, would dictate some of your hiring?
Katie Robbert 18:49
Well, and you know, so to go back to the original question of, you know, why do we need all these different technologies? Well, the I mean, the answer, Chris is pretty clear is that you don’t, you don’t necessarily need to, you know, Wade, through all of the different technologies, the folks over at Mark Tech have done that for you.
And again, you know, bless them for doing all of that research.
That’s it’s a lot of research, 9000 different systems to understand, you know, every square inch of those systems and what they do, they’ve done that work for you.
And when you start to look at the top use technologies, then okay, in terms of, you know, website tracking systems, well, Google Analytics seems to be the standard.
What should I build my website on? Well, it looks like web, you know, WordPress seems to be the standard.
Now, you still should evaluate whether or not those are the right options for you.
But it definitely starts to narrow down that list and make it a heck of a lot less overwhelming.
Christopher Penn 19:48
And I think that’s a really interesting point, because on the one hand, if you build with the most common tools, hiring, you know, internally or hiring an agency asking an agency Hey, do you have experience with Google Analytics, and Salesforce is probably not going to be a heavy lift, right.
Whereas if you have somebody asking you for, say, Adobe analytics, right, or someone who’s Zendesk or something, it might be a little bit harder to find, someone who has matomo and Mautic experience might be a little bit harder to find.
But the flip side of that coin is, do those lesser known marketing technologies offer some kind of competitive advantage that the mainstream ones might not, you know, are they are they in some way better, that just hasn’t caught on yet.
And that could give you an advantage.
But at the trade off of it being very hard to hire people, for them.
Katie Robbert 20:41
It’s funny you say that, Chris, because I was actually going to, you know, make the opposite point is that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you have in your tech stack, it’s what you do with the information you get out of it.
So whether or not you’re using matomo, or Google Analytics, or Adobe analytics, kind of doesn’t matter.
Because if you don’t have the skill set to make the data actionable, and pull out those insights, it doesn’t matter what system you’re using.
And so it really needs to be based around what, uh, to your point, Chris, what capabilities do I have not just to stand up the technology, but to do something with it.
So the way that I look at that is, you know, I don’t see using one system or another necessarily as a competitive advantage, if you don’t have anyone to do something with the information.
That’s your competitive advantage.
Christopher Penn 21:37
Yeah, so essentially, this is the appliance aisle at Home Depot, right? And you can have, yeah, 336 different types of stove.
But if you can’t cook, it doesn’t matter what stove you get.
Katie Robbert 21:48
Yeah, if you put if you install, you know, a chef quality kitchen in your house, but you still can’t boil water, it doesn’t matter, it’s not going to do it for you, it might at that price, but then you’re just going to have really hot water.
Christopher Penn 22:04
So given that backdrop, then how do you how do you decide which vendor to go with? Right? Because one of the vulnerabilities there then is, the big one is the people you have on staff, what they are comfortable working with and what they can get results out of? If that’s the case, how do you how do you make a good choice from now that also allows you to grow, because it may turn out, for example, with Louise Mautic.
As an example, if I decide to I’m going to become you know, live in the back country and become a counter revolutionary that it could happen, it could happen.
At that point, what we could do as a company with Mautic would be different.
Because we wouldn’t have access to those skills, I’d be on the grid once a month when I’m not trapping raccoons or whatever.
If you are a company say like, like our last agency that we worked at, we provided a lot of marketing technology expertise internally, and when we left, a lot of things immediately broke.
How do you plan for, for situations like that?
Katie Robbert 23:24
This is where I would bust out my five piece of change management because what you’re talking about is change management.
So I would start with my purpose than people process platform.
I would do this a couple of ways.
So I would do it for where I am today what I have without changing anything without hiring without, you know, having to train up on new skill sets.
So here’s the current state.
So this what do I have? What is my purpose? My purpose is I need to get a newsletter out the door.
Who are the people? Well, I just happen to have someone on my team who can run their own server and troubleshoot code.
What is the process? Well, we want to and to run this newsletter once a week.
So it has to be written and then it has to get out there.
You know, what’s the platform? Well, we can use Mautic for this because we have someone on the team who can do it.
And then we have the performance, which is is the email getting delivered, you know, are people opening it so and so forth.
So that would be my analysis of the right now.
And then I can start thinking of my you know, 135 and 10 year goals of where I want to be.
So if I know that Chris, his goal is to pull back from his responsibilities of running Mautic and have something more automated, then I can say in one year, these are the these are the way that the five P’s need to change that my purpose needs to be I still need to send out a newsletter.
Great, who are the people? This is where I’m probably going to spend the most of my time because it’s a skills piece.
It’s the experience, it’s the capabilities and so here Here’s what I have right? Now, here’s what I’m going to need in order to allow Chris to step back.
So I either need to replace Chris’s role with someone who has identical skill sets? Or is it an opportunity to introduce a new kind of a system.
And so you continue to go through that five p analysis process.
And you start to build out like, here’s where I am right now, here’s where I want to be, you know, five years from now and in the middle, what’s happening, and that’s where you start to build that roadmap of, we need to build up the skills we need to evaluate vendors, we need to reevaluate what our KPIs are, do I care more about having a larger list? Or do I care more about my open rate? And so you know, one KPI might dictate the kind of software that I choose to implement?
Christopher Penn 25:50
No, it makes total sense.
I mean, I’ve seen people ditch marketing automation systems in in favor of a simple email marketing system.
Because like, Yeah, we don’t use all this other stuff, it costs us money, it’s overly complex.
And all we want to do is send out an email newsletter.
And that’s part of the reason why the MAR tech 9000 is as crazy as it is, there are a lot of individual points solutions in there.
And a lot of the time, those point solutions can find favor when you just want to do one thing really well.
And, you know, you don’t have the team or the skills to be able to do everything.
And you know, frankly, you don’t need it.
You know, for example, you don’t need the workflow management stuff.
And, you know, approval processes or drip campaigns, if you like, we barely have time to send out our newsletter as it is, as an example.
So I think that’s, again, part of the martec evaluation process is figuring out what’s the minimum that we want to get done? And are we better off with a point solution that lets us do one thing really well? Or are we better off with a Swiss army knife, which is, you can kind of do a bunch of things sort of have asked?
Katie Robbert 27:06
Well, and I think that that goes, you know, into your roadmap planning for your Mar tech stack, and what you want, you know, your company to be able to do and provide.
And so to your point, Chris, you start with, here’s where I am today, here’s the minimum that I need in order to achieve my goals.
And then you’re gonna say six months from now, I might need to change vendors, well, that’s probably going to be a pain in the butt.
So I should probably get all the bells and whistles now, not necessarily, as long as you make that change management plan to migrate from one system to another, and you’re expecting it, and you’ve done your due diligence, it doesn’t need to be that big of a deal.
So why pay all the money right now for something you’re not going to be using for the next year.
All those bells and whistles quite honestly can be a distraction.
You know, so I think at some point, you know, we will likely upgrade from Mautic to some other kind of marketing automation system.
But right now, we don’t need all the bells and whistles, we just need the email to get out the door.
And you know, modoch, for all intents and purposes is kind of just one step up from me literally just emailing everybody from my personal account, which, to be honest, is fine, because that’s all we need right now.
That’s all we don’t need all the other things because we don’t have time to fuss with those things.
Christopher Penn 28:25
Now, I would say the flip side of that, though, is, before you go and buy another marketing technology solution, take a look at what you’ve already bought, because it might have the feature you’re looking for, and you just didn’t read the documentation didn’t know is in there.
Or, as in our case, you just haven’t had the time to invest in learning it.
But chances are for at least for a lot of bigger, more successful pieces of software free or not.
The features probably in there, I saw something the other day someone was selling this, you know, $89 a month service to identify top performing landing pages and like you can do that Data Studio for free.
You don’t need to pay $89 a month for that.
Katie Robbert 29:09
And this is where the trade off comes in.
Do I want to do it myself? Or do I want the system to do it for me? So yes, you can do that Data Studio, but you have to set up the analysis yourself versus a system that will identify the pages for you.
And that comes down to that trade off that you were talking about Chris, about those capabilities of do I have the technical skills? Or do I just need it to be delivered to me, you know, without me really thinking about it.
And those are all the decisions that you as the end user have to make.
Christopher Penn 29:38
However, that said, you know, if there you do want to be able to do that yourself.
We were will relentlessly promote our Google Analytics Google Analytics 4 is one of those crazy good pieces of software that is is unnecessarily difficult to use and has way too many things tucked away that places it shouldn’t be.
But take our course and perhaps save yourself some money on buying martech solutions you didn’t need to buy.
If you got comments or questions about anything in today’s episode, feel free to drop by our Slack group with over 2400 other marketers asking and answering each other’s questions every day go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, and we look forward to seeing you there and wherever it is you watch or listen to this show.
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Thanks for tuning in.
I will talk to you soon
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