When shopping for marketing technology (martech) software, should you believe everything the vendors say? That depends on the merchant, the product category and a number of other important factors, according to Scott Brinker, editor of the chiefmartec.com blog and program chair for the March 2016 MarTech USA conference in San Francisco.
Miscommunications and misguided customer expectations are inevitable in an industry that's growing so rapidly. Just five years ago, fewer than 150 martech software products were available, according to Brinker, who presented new research on the martech vendor landscape at the recent MarTech USA event. Today, about 3,874 martech products exist, Brinker said, and many marketers are trying to keep up with the rapid rate of change of the available tools.
Of course, it's not uncommon for martech vendors to overpromise on what their software can do, according to Martin Kihn, a Gartner research vice president who's focused on data-driven marketing and advertising technology. "If you listen to pitches from any merchant, they generally promise to be all things to all people and to solve every problem," Kihn tells CIO.com. In an overheated market such as martech, there's a lot of pressure on sales professionals to sign clients as quickly as possible, he says. "So it's a rare and refreshing vendor that will tell you what they don't do."
In fact, the disconnect between what martech vendors actually offer and what they tell prospects was the subject of a MarTech USA session. Theresa Regli, principal analyst and managing partner with Real Story Group, presented what she said are the top 10 "myths" martech merchants tell prospects and customers, along with the realities behind them.
10 common digital marketing myths
Martech myth No. 1: You can buy a fully integrated digital marketing suite
Large martech vendors often want to sell big suites of digital marketing software tools. However, in some cases, these suites include tools that are a result of a merchant's acquisition of smaller companies, according to Regli. As a result, the myriad tools are "often poorly connected" and you must spend time trying to integrate them.
"A fully integrated marketing platform is as mythical as the Himalayan Yeti," Regli said at the conference, adding that potential customers should be skeptical of such claims and ask if any of the tools in the vendors' suites were recently acquired.
Martech myth No. 2: You're way behind the curve
Some martech sales people try to make prospects or customers feel as though they're behind the technology adoption curve. The reality? "It's still the early days of martech," Regli said, citing Real Story Group research that suggests 52 to 54 percent of enterprises are still in the "just starting" phase of digital marketing adoption.
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