Digital Marketing Technology is a crowded marketplace and several vendors claim to provide end-to-end solutions. But at RSG, we always make a distinction between "suites" and "products." Marketing "suites" provide a wide array of tools for different marketing requirements, while more baked, out-of-the-box “products” are narrowly focused on specialization in a few marketing use cases. Of course, vendors like to call their suites marketing “clouds” -- even when they don't run in the cloud.
You'll find that an end-to-end marketing suite does not exist for a couple of reasons:
- The sheer number and variety of marketing use cases (no platform — however large — can adequately address them all)
- The suites themselves have been assembled from different acquired products and exhibit varying degrees of internal integration.
Given this reality, you shouldn't be surprised that the current marketer playbook demonstrates a best-of-breed orientation with different products for different use cases, rather than deploying a single platform with a broad use-case coverage.
Figure 1: Marketing suites are not end-to-end solutions and marketers rely on multiple tools to meet their requirements.
So, whether by choice or out of compulsion, marketers follow a best-of-breed strategy. And that brings us to the essential question of integration.
More often that not, I find that customers encounter nasty surprises around MarTech systems integration. The vendor may have promised integration to be a cinch but reality often proves much different. It is not uncommon to find that half-way into an implementation, customers start looking to staff the project with a data/integration expert.
Integration is turning out to be MarTech's biggest "known unknown".
Figure 2: Integration is a known unknown in MarTech.
To be sure, integration is a solvable problem to an extent. As my colleague Tony Byrne likes to point out, given enough time, money, and pain-killers, you can always make software meet your requirements.
As a marketer, you can eliminate some degree of uncertainty by performing due diligence during your technology procurement. Here, RSG's Campaign and Lead Management Technology evaluations can be handy. We cover integration explicitly, and can offer you specific pros and cons about best-of-breed as well as suite offerings.