This is the first in a series of four articles in which I will present Tahzoo’s vision and strategy for designing and building what we call the Enterprise Marketing Platform (EMP).
Why an Enterprise Marketing Platform?
According to a recent IDC study, by 2020, almost 50% of IT budgets will be tied into DX (digital transformation) initiatives. Already, most organizations use a combination of point solutions for various parts of their marketing technology needs. These are hardly integrated, neither from a technology perspective, nor from an organizational or customer perspective, resulting in little value delivered to the enterprise. The investments involved in this can yield better returns if marketing technology is contained in an enterprise marketing platform.
The much-cited Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic by Scott Brinkers showed an increase of marketing technology vendors from 947 in 2014 to no less than 1,876 as per early 2015. No doubt, the number will be even higher come January 2016. Even if the number of vendors does not increase, which is unlikely, then Brinkers has had a year of extra reseach time, in which he and his ChiefMartec team undoubtedly have spotted vendors they overlooked earlier.
In financial terms, according to IDC, marketing departments will spend nearly $32 Billion on marketing technology by 2018, which means an annual growth rate of 12.5%. By 2020, almost 50% of IT budgets will be tied into DX (digital transformation) initiatives.
With marketing is relatively new to the technology game, these figures impose a substantial burden on any marketing department. How do you know which point solutions you are going to need? How do you select the right solution from the dozens of products that are available for each aspect of marketing communication? If you work with point solutions, how do you avoid silos? How do you maintain quality, integrity, consistency across those point solutions while avoiding maintenance of identical content and data at different places?
These concerns are not new: everyone involved in web content management and ecommerce is painfully aware of the problems you run into when the selected solutions do not integrate with existing backoffice systems. Over the last decade, many clients made sizeable investments in marketing technology solutions and in connecting disparate systems on a one-to-one basis. The results in terms of a seamless digital experience for the end user has not been overly impressive—to put it mildly.
A more modern vision on integration strategy than the old fashioned approach of point-to-point connections is needed. As Forrester reports in their recent Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015, the market is preparing for integrated platform solutions. For the first time, a vendor (Adobe) has entered the Leader quadrant, while others are moving in that direction. This development is comparable to the rise of ERP-solutions some 20 years ago: from a collection of independently used applications to fully integrated end-to-end solutions by vendors like SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Baan.
Yet, since most large marketing technology vendors do not embrace this way of thinking at a very high pace, customers need to take ownership and adopt a platform strategy.
The most importance principles underpinning this platform strategy should be:
- Integration must be secured at the technological, organizational and customer levels
- A Reference Architecture is essential
- Core elements are content, user data and insights
Based on these principles, a strategy and a reference architecture are in place to design and build what can be called Enterprise Marketing Platform.
In my next post, I will discuss the components of a Reference Architecture for an Enterprise Marketing Platform.