Into the Pool #4: Marketing Suites

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Maybe it’s the Jack Daniels. Like pouring water on a Gremlin and bad stuff happening, this month the parties got a bit rowdy. And while we promised we wouldn’t do it this time, we just heard Truscott shout “stand aside” as he again takes aim at the Rockstar CMO pool with another hunk of marketing crap.

This month, with the theme of OK ComputerIan Truscott has been hanging with one of our marketing technology rock stars, Darren Guarnaccia. We're taking bets on the size of splash that single vendor marketing suites are going to make as he offers up his bugbear. Don’t agree? Let us know why.

When we went backstage with Darren, CMO at Lytics and regular contributor to Rockstar CMO, we asked what he’d throw into the Rockstar CMO swimming pool. His reply was suitably technology-focused. Aside from being a B2B marketing leader, he's been working in the marketing technology world since the original dot-com boom and was part of the executive team that grew Sitecore to the marketing software heavyweight brand it is today. 

Darren’s contribution to the Rockstar Swimming Pool:

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“Single vendor marketing suites. When's the last time you saw a Stackies award winner with a homogeneous stack? Never. Everyone has best of breed architectures and uses the best tools for the job. There is no single vendor stack that will solve all of marketing.”

What’s he referring to? Here’s a description from Scott Brinker, the self-styled Chief Marketing Technologist, a bit of a rock star in the world of marketing technology and VP Platform Ecosystem at Hubspot:

“If you’re new to this, a ‘marketing stack’ is the collection of software that a marketing team uses to ply their trade. The Stackies is a fun awards program at the MarTech conference where we invite marketers to send in a single slide that illustrates their marketing stack in some conceptual way.”

I’m not sure if making the hell that is most large organizations’ marketing back office look pretty in a single slide for a “fun award” proves anything about the effectiveness of these solutions, but a brief flick through some of these Stackies nominations and winners and you can see Darren’s point. 

For example; Cisco’s Stackie entry lists 43 different solutions that make up their marketing technology stack and it would be absurd for a single vendor, however large, to lay claim to being the right solution for each of these needs.

Yet, the large vendors, like IBM, Oracle, Adobe and SAP continue to peddle this bullshit. They may not say “single vendor marketing suites”, but these old rockers of the marketing technology world slap on the ‘Marketing Cloud’ lipstick and lay claim to be the end-to-end digital marketing solution, once size fits all.

The truth is that they are mostly a rag tag bunch of acquisitions and core technology that are often not quite so integrated – either technically or as business units – as you might expect. Adobe acquired over 10 companies to claim their place on this stage, and the work to create harmony for its clients from so many different technologies, cultures, locations, sales and services models is a challenge that is not solved by giving everyone the same colored slides and business cards. It’s a significant business transformational project that is played out client project by client project. 

Better, as Darren alludes, to choose the right solution for the job and rather than spend the rest of time (and your marketing budget) trying to make this one-size-fits-all suite work for you, build the solution that fits your needs (not theirs).

Wow, maybe the Jack Daniels is wearing off, but we are not just chucking stuff into the Swimming Pool for fun, we are providing proper marketing technology advice. If you have one of these leviathans in the office for a sales pitch, buyer beware.

So, there you go Darren – single vendor marketing suites is off the balcony. It was heavy as shit and has created a huge wave across the sun loungers. 

Don’t agree? Let us know why.


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Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott is an accomplished B2B content marketer, having held marketing leadership roles within global software vendors in both the US and Europe, before growing a content marketing practice within an international agency, developing a methodology that enabled clients such as Nasdaq, General Motors and American Express to realise the value of content marketing. Ian is applying this same passion for content as head of marketing for censhare AG.

Go backstage with Ian here, or read more of his articles


Read more from The OK Computer Issue

The regulars are here, Ted Rubin, Robert Rose, Ian Truscott and Darren Guarnaccia, who this month are joined by tech entrepreneur John Andrews, Helene Dancer digs into the algorithms and we ponder the Paranoid Android... read more.


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Ian Truscott

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