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If you’re in MarTech–or know someone who is–you’ve likely come across a somewhat dizzying supergraphic portraying the MarTech landscape through categories and logos (around 8,000 to be exact).

There’s much to unpack from the visual (so.many.questions)–and from the visionary behind the visual, Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot; Editor at chiefmartec.com; Program Chair of MarTech–but we’ll boil down the goods. 

If you’re in MarTech–or know someone who is–you’ve likely come across a somewhat dizzying supergraphic portraying the MarTech landscape through categories and logos (around 8,000 to be exact). There’s much to unpack from the visual (so.many.questions)–and from the visionary behind the visual, Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot; Editor at chiefmartec.com; Program Chair of MarTech–but we’ll boil down the goods. 

This quick article summarizes the three top takeaways from an interview with ZoomInfo on the Talk Data to Me podcast and the man behind the graphic, and zeros in on the importance of data, or the stuff at the heart of MarTech.

1. Gone Are The Days of Consolidation 

The MarTech supergraphic and its 8,000+ tools shed light on how difficult it is for any business to stand out from the pack. This is intimidating, to say the least. However, Brinker believes that the vast ecosystem of tools is evidence of customers’ many different needs to solve specific problems. 

“It’s no longer just major companies who aspire to be the next billion-dollar breakout–instead, it’s these smaller, entrepreneurial ventures which, in a previous life, might have been a services company,” says Brinker. “Now, they’re the ones seeing a repeatable pattern when it comes to segments of customers. The lightbulb goes on, and they’re like, ‘we can build software to do this.’ The next thing you know, they’re a $20 million business.”

With the existence of more new companies and capabilities, it’s interesting to note that acquisitions look different in SAS and MarTech today; the consolidation state of the ’90s is not really something we see today. 

Creating more tools easily fosters the proliferation of even more niche tools and less market consolidation, despite endless predictions touting company takeovers. Consider WordPress, a single software company, and its now 60,000+ plug-ins. “It’s now clear that the universe of potential apps and the size of an app within it that are viable is outstanding,” Brinker continues. “Welcome to the digital world.”

“The capabilities that customers expect now are growing so broad and expansive that large MarTech companies involved in M&A are more inclined to adopt complementary pieces into their tech stack,” maintains Brinker. “The consolidation play is becoming a thing of the past with increased digitization. Now, we see more company expansion and a greater focus on specialization.”

2. Data Quality Is More Important Now Than Ever

The roughly 8,000+ logos thriving in the MarTech supergraphic have one thing in common: data (aka the single source of truth that powers players across the landscape). These businesses are fueled by data that intelligently performs some useful function in some shape or form. These functions are then bucked into six larger categories (i.e. Data and Advertising & Promotion) and then into one of the many, many sub-categories in the graphic, including Customer Data Platform and Video Advertising–to name just a few. 

Scott Brinker and team select these categories according to what’s trending in the marketplace. For instance, when account-based marketing (ABM) emerged as a trend, it became a category; likewise, and more recently, Data Governance became increasingly important with the movement toward solidifying regulatory environment in marketing–which Scott Brinker sees as a good thing, 

“In the past, marketers were super enthusiastic about having access to a lot of data, and not enough attention was paid to the maintenance or the quality of that data,” says Brinker. “Now, partly because of machine learning, we have some really sophisticated technologies that can segment audiences based on data signals. But for these algorithms to perform properly, you need quality data to make reliable decisions and to know what those machine learning algorithms are doing.”

Brinker argues that data quality is the hidden benefit of increased compliance, with laws like the GDPR and the CCPA influencing better marketing motions. In other words, compliance requirements force us to conquer the garbage in, garbage out problem. 

“Today’s state of data regulation creates a virtuous cycle, so to speak, which employs quality data and machine learning to create better data quality and better machine learning,” said Brinker. 

What does this have to do with the supergraphic? The trend is clear: As data quality increases, businesses in MarTech become better equipped to serve their customers by delivering superior experiences now increasingly expected–staying competitive in the process.

3. It’s Not About The Tool, It’s About How You Wield It

Speaking of staying competitive–as with anything else, it’s easier said than done. In reality, you can have all the right stuff at your disposal (i.e., the apps, the quality data). Still, without stellar, actionable ideas, you won’t get far–you won’t sustain that competitive edge. 

“You see, anyone with a credit card can purchase any one of the products on my landscape–so you can’t really gain a competitive edge with another one of these tools,” asserts Brinker. “Ultimately, it’s not about the MarTech you buy; it’s about how you wield those tools.”

Brinker is a fan of the Beach Boys (stay with us). He reminds us that the studio is more than a space used for recording–it also has a defined effect on output. 

“Sure, Brian Wilson had a bunch of tools in the studio, but it was the combination of tools, vision, and inspiration that produced something magical,” concludes Brinker. “ We’re living in a time with virtually instant access to a universe of tools and increasingly smart data to accompany those tools–the potential for doing something great, therefore, is greater than ever. Go get it.”

To hear more from Scott Brinker, and other B2B professionals sharing data-driven stories, subscribe to Talk Data to Me, available wherever you listen to your podcasts. 

About the author

Anastasia Bogomolov

Anastasia is a Senior Manager of Marketing Content at ZoomInfo, the leading business contact database and sales intelligence solution.

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