Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part Two

Part 2: Dashboards for your Dashboards!

Scott Brinker’s latest “Marketing Technology Landscape” infographic has organized nearly a thousand companies into six categories and various subheadings in an effort to make this landscape a little easier to navigate. Let’s take a moment to look at the headings for the 42 subcategories; you’re sure to notice a few common factors.

One of the obvious commonalities is the number of companies providing a kind of platform to manage other technologies. There are CRMs and databases, marketing resource management systems, digital asset management platforms, and an entire section of middleware that just deals with managing all the information in your other management software. Not to mention an entire section called dashboards.

The proliferation of marketing technologies like CRM, Big Data and Analytics gave rise to a huge demand for information management in marketing. Companies wanted all the information they could get on each and every customer. Data capture became an obsession to the point of having more information than we even know what to do with. Enter the dashboard, platform, or any of these other kinds of management software that make it easy to manage all those data points and insights.

But the number of “management” type systems says something more than ‘data is important’. It also says ‘data is confusing; data needs to be easier to deal with’. Dashboards give you the ability to take raw data and do something with it, but creating a dashboard for every data-type, be it content, customer, or channel is not an efficient solution.

Admittedly, dashboards are necessary, but they don’t seem to solve the problem they’re trying to solve. Now, instead of hundreds of pieces of information to manage, we have hundreds of systems to manage. There are a lot fewer systems than there are data points, but that doesn’t mean we’ve made our lives a whole lot easier.

What we need is a dashboard for managing our dashboards. The “middle-wares” sections of the graphic is currently dealing with this, but the fact that there is an entire section devoted to it is probably a sign that this is a stop-gap solution. The real magic comes from integrating all these systems from the get-go.

The challenge of integrating systems after the fact is so complex that it spawned an entire subsection of the industry. It’s totally plausible (and a bit comical) that the next version of this infographic could have a section devoted to ‘dashboards for your dashboards’.

In Part 1 of this blog series, we used the phrase Customer Experience Management Platform to describe a system that gets all these management systems working together; a system we can use to compare all relevant internal and external information about each user in real or nearly-real-time. We just need that new dashboard-dashboard to visualize it all.

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