The Channel Catches Marketing Tech’s Monster Wave
(Pictured above: IntelliPhi’s Anand Thaker and MarTech host Scott Brinker on stage, April 24.)
MarTech CONFERENCE — When attendees at this week’s MarTech Conference in San Jose, California, glance at their mobile phones, they might see a text from Marty, the texting chatbot. Marty notifies attendees about cool happenings at the event and even gives directions to lost souls.
“If you’re nice to Marty, Marty will be nice to you,” says Anand Thaker, keynote speaker and CEO of IntelliPhi, a research, consulting and advisory firm.
Chatbots are a new category in the expansive world of marketing tech – now at nearly 7,000 vendors, according to the 2018 marketing tech vendor landscape graphic unveiled at MarTech – and a big channel opportunity. It’s an emerging piece of an increasingly complex puzzle encompassing everything touching the customer experience, from customer data to compliance, and security to sales tech.
Marketing technology has grown so fast inside enterprises, often driven by marketers making point-solution purchases with little or no input from the CIO, that the resulting messy technology stack has a new name: Frankenstack. And marketing tech continues to expand to other data, systems and operations, such as sales, in the enterprise. There’s no question marketing tech cries out for integration.
If you can’t see the channel opportunity by now, you’re not paying attention.
“Most companies don’t have the in-house capabilities to build out the marketing technology infrastructure,” says Scott Brinker, MarTech Conference host and creator of the popular marketing tech vendor landscape. “It’s one of the reasons you see so much opportunity for systems integrators, VARs and a new generation of service providers helping companies make this transformation.”
Emerging marketing technology categories also mean demand for new channel services. For instance, chatbots like Marty that engage the customer need to be built and integrated with other customer touch points in a coherent fashion. Most companies probably don’t have anyone on staff to do it and will turn to the channel for help, Brinker says.
Another category causing tremors in the marketing tech landscape: sales automation, sales enablement and sales-intelligence solutions. The number of vendors now number nearly 500, making it the largest category. Why is sales technology part of marketing tech? The answer is simple: Today’s digital customer demands that marketing, sales and customer service work together to deliver a coherent customer experience.
It’s also another channel opportunity.
“The scope of marketing is going to continue to grow,” says Thaker, former CEO of NeoMarketing Solutions, a consulting company aligning and implementing sales and marketing technology. “There’s a tremendous ecosystem for the channel.”
Data silos, too, will need to be identified across the enterprise, broken down and integrated. Data assets are a part of a company’s DNA and should be managed in-house, Thaker says, and the channel can help. He says integrators can customize the way data silos are integrated and establish workflows around the data, not to mention handle data security and compliance.
“I’ve seen integration-project engagements with Fortune 500 companies be in the tens of millions of dollars and small projects with startups be several thousand dollars,” Thaker says.