Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part Four

Carrying on in our discussion of integration in marketing technology, let’s look again at Scott Brinker’s “Marketing Technology Landscape” graphic. In exploring the subject headings used, the sizes of various categories and the companies in each category, we can tease out a few interesting correlations, but we also raise some interesting questions.

One such question: what’s with the huge mismatch between the number of social media sites and the number of companies operating in that space?

By the count in this graphic there are ≈15 social media platforms, which logic tells us are the only places “social media marketing” can occur. But when we look at the number of companies offering some social media marketing we see an odd mismatch; there are ≈65. Obviously there will be some variation in the services these companies offer, but it’s odd that there are four times as many social media marketers as social media platforms.

Of course, one could make the correlation to internet browsers: all online marketing takes place in one of only a few browsers. The difference here is the variety of online marketing that happens in these browsers compared to the variety among what “social media marketing” companies provide. There is a limited amount that can be done within the boundaries of the social media system; the primary service offerings seem to be some combination of social listening and/or media scheduling.

The number of companies must say something else then. Perhaps “social media marketing” is similar to “marketing automation”; these phrases each bring to mind a very specific set of practices. Automation is often interpreted as simply “email scheduling”, but true automation goes beyond that. In the same way, “social media marketing” seems to be understood primarily as providing Tweet and Post scheduling. As more and more companies offer the same services, the category gets denser but not necessarily more robust.

Social media marketing tools do offer a more robust set of services than “scheduling”. They can provide a cheap and cheerful way to gather customer intelligence, producing simple analytics for each message. A consumer profile can quickly be developed based on the users you interact with most. And re-tweets, posts, and shares are all like instant indicators of message success. Some tools can manage inbound and outbound communications and some can even build entire campaigns and automate them using trigger events.

What we have in the social media marketing tools available are the beginnings of fully automated social CRM system. While the actual CRM components exist, as do the automation, scheduling, and analytics tools (and a few other nifty gadgets) integration is the name of the game. Imagine one system where you could walk the customer all the way along the journey from seeing that first Tweet to making that first purchase.

The number and variety of companies offering services like these are going to decrease as the categories implode. We’ve already pointed out that there’s an entire section of the martec industry devoted to just getting the different technologies working together. While it may be unrealistic to imagine a perfect and complete system, it’s not unlikely that with the rise of Customer Experience Management, we will see a trend towards bigger and more robust systems.

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