We’ve heard the views of the marketers in last month’s Green Room on the rise of the marketing machines, but what do the Martech industry insiders think? We ask Carlos Doughty.


In last month’s Green Room we sat down with six of our Rockstar CMO’s and asked them about the impact of technology on the craft of marketing and their response got us curious about what folks in the marketing technology industry made of this discussion.

For this interview, I sat down with Carlos Doughty, Founder and Marketing Technology Lead at MarTech Alliance, who for over a decade has been at the sharp end of marketing technology, both client side and as a consultant.

Carlos is also the force behind the successful Martech Festival, that this year is bringing the godfather of Martech Scott Brinker to London.

If you get the opportunity to meet Carlos, you’ll find he talks with an incredible enthusiasm for our craft and the tools we use, and I knew he’d have an opinion and insight into the trends our little band of CMOs had discussed. I wasn’t disappointed.

In this interview I refer to this article from last months issue and this is a response to that – suggest you check that out first.

Is the bubble bursting on Martech?

Christine Bailey mentioned the famous Scott Brinker mega-graphic and that she “shudders” when she sees it, you guys commented on your blog that the pace of vendors being added to that graphic has slowed and of course IBM has divested itself of its marketing suite – what’s your take?

The landscape is a great piece of content marketing for highlighting the complexity of martech, but who cares really that its only grown a small amount this year. Its exploded from 150 solutions 8 years to 7k, which is the point that matters. Marketing technology needs to be a core pillar of any CMOs marketing strategy if it isn’t already.

IBM divesting is the clearest sign they don’t want to fight a battle they can’t win against Adobe. Tapping out now to double down on AI, hybrid cloud, blockchain, and focus on the IT industry makes sense.

IBM divesting is the clearest sign they don’t want to fight a battle they can’t win ..to double down on AI, hybrid cloud, blockchain, and focus on the IT industry makes sense

Will we realize the promise of personalization?

Personalization is a hot topic right now, Jeanniey Mullen expressed her excitement – do you think the industry will delivery on Jeanniey’s dream and the hype that’s been around the topic for so long?

Yes and no.

There is a fine line between relevant, timely and personalised, ‘hyper personalised’ vs automated spam and being hyper creepy. Really understanding customer intent and contextualising communications to be relevant without being intrusive is the difference. This means not just collecting and unifying your data which triggers personalised updates, but thinking carefully about the decisioning you apply to your activation in how you communicate and about what.

This is where a CDP at the heart of your marketing stack is critical, as well as the ‘human’ thinking about the taxonomy. 

Are we losing the human touch?

A lot of the push back against marketing automation is that it’s removing the human touch, both John Andrews and Ted Rubin touch on this – do you think automation and being human are mutually exclusive for brands?

Kinda. ‘Semi-automated’ can help be the balance, for example some sales tech solutions (although no reason a marketer shouldn’t be using these) centred around pipeline management can help bridge this challenge. For example you have predefined workflows with templated messaging that a human manually reviews and updates with specifics to that individual.

That said this isn’t a scalable an option so I think the trade-off is often in deciding at what point you have an automated personalised or one to one experience. This will naturally depend on the nature of the business and product/service being sold.

Is it making us lazy?

Both Robert Rose and Ted Rubin suggest that tech is making marketers lazy – do you agree?

I don’t like blaming tech for anything, it might expose us for what we really are, but we still have a choice. Until there is a robot uprising that is. 

I don’t think marketers have become more/less lazy, broadly speaking tech has led to marketers having more breadth of responsibility and introduction of more marketing channels. As such this has diluted focus and depth of understanding which may appear lazy, but actually more jack/Jackie of many/some/none.

What about trust?

In the Green Room conversation Wendy Bryant-Beswick talked about trust, particularly in the context of recent European legislation, what do you think is the responsibility of the martech vendors here?

I think only partial responsibility is on a martech automation vendor. It’s the their customers that own the data and manage the messaging.

Thanks Carlos!

Learn more about the MarTech Alliance, the Martech Festival and follow Carlos on Twitter.

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