What Exactly Is a Martech Stack?

The TL is a part laundromat, part high-end coffee bar, and it’s just around the corner from this year’s Martech conference at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. It’s the type of place that can dry your undergarments while also serving you a delicious cup of java.

James Thomas, CMO of ultra-hot marketing technology startup Allocadia, is there, sipping his cappuccino out of a paper cup. The seven-year-old company, with clients including Microsoft, GE and Phillips, provides insights into things like the return on investment for sponsored events. It also aims to show what type of return brands get when they advertise on Facebook, among other things.

Thomas, a curly-haired man with a slim build from Vancouver, is giddy because in a few hours Scott Brinker, editor at ChiefMartec.com, host of the Martech conference and godfather of all things marketing technology, will crown Allocadia for having one of the best “martech stacks.”

I don’t know exactly what a so-called martech stack is, so Thomas explains.

“Think about a car,” he says. “It has a collection of parts and technology, but ultimately, its job is to get you from point A to point B.”

“A martech stack, in this case, is a number of different technologies from a number of different companies that’s meant to attract and retain customers in the most efficient way possible.” To combine into a machine, that is, that gets marketers all the way from point A to point B.

Allocadia is just one of 5,381 different companies that operate in the marketing technology space, up from 150 in 2011 by Brinker’s count. And nearly all of them are laser-focused on providing brands data in areas like workflow management, content, social media or analytics.

Over at the Martech conference expo hall, 4-year-old email marketing company Iterable claims they’re snagging clients like AT&T and Yelp away from behemoths like Salesforce because it’s easier to use and take less time to integrate data than competitors.

“Say someone starts creating a profile on CareerBuilder, but exits out before uploading their resume,” an Iterable salesman says. “That’s a hole in the funnel. We specialize in plugging that hole by messaging the person on whatever device they’re on. We get them to come back to CareerBuilder and finish building their profile.”

Wrike, which specializes in workflow management, says its customers include Tesla, Sony Playstation and Hulu.

“It just blows my mind when I go on LinkedIn Jobs and see how many of them require applicants to know how to use Wrike,” says a sales associate. “Slack is one thing when you’re managing one or five people, but how do you manage hundreds for a big project? That’s where Wrike comes in.”

Companies like Allocadia, Wrike and Iterable are among the 30 or 40 — sometimes more — different parts that make up a marketing technology stack. Outfits like these are aggressively pursuing a new breed of marketer called “chief marketing technology officers,” whose primary duties include selecting different vendors to assemble the stack. Microsoft, for one, has added such roles to build out its stack.

“It’s chaos,” Thomas says of choosing vendors to make an optimal martech stack. “We’re making it really hard for marketers.”

To hear Thomas explain it, picking which vendors to work with is difficult because there are so many, and most can’t easily integrate with one another.

The whole idea of having a martech stack is to create a one-to-one relationship with the consumer. And imagine knowing when the best time to reach that person is, on which device and with what creative.

That’s martech’s sales pitch, and legacy brands like Nestlé, for example, are buying into it. Microsoft recently described the companies that it has pulled together into the marketing stack that it uses for its own marketing, which consists of several dozen different companies. An operation of such scale, Thomas says, would cost at least $15 million per year.

And that’s not including the cost of maintaining a team with the chops to integrate and make sense of all the “Big Data” that’s going to come through.

“The idea of the stack is to bring order to the chaos,” Thomas said. “There’s so much data and things like AI are helping make sense of all of it, but we’re still one or two years away.”

Each stack is built around a “core” — think Marketo, for example. But it then branches off into different areas like data acquisition and management, content creation, SEO and social. None of this is integrated into one giant, easy to use platform, either. Instead, teams are put in place for each of the branches, experts at using and understanding each of the different companies’ offerings. Data from the different branches eventually gets plugged into the “core” of the stack.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it and it’s still too early for many brand marketers to start worrying about what their martech stack will look like. Ultimately, though, they’ll get there, according to Thomas.

“The people who say, ‘Half my money spent on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’ are going to get fired,” he said. “Why? Because the technology to measure it is already out there.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Allocadia was two years old. The company is seven years old.

Source: http: //adage.com/article/digital/martech-stack/308976/

Digital Fintech Asset Management reimagined, from the Demand Side

Yesterday, I read a report that Gen X are ahead of Gen Y, as it relates to their engagement with #Digital #Retail Asset Management. #Fintech and banks jumped ahead from the supply side, each with their individual nuances.

Most are not surprised. It is the slice of the Gen Digital pie after all. A counter school of thought which I subscribe to is: Gen X jumped on the ETF style #robo-advising, in some cases human-‘aided’. OK, super. All the hype has been about Gen Y, the millennial as the demographic and its audience. So, why has this not transpired as projected, a conundrum indeed.

The supply side has been nitpicked, sliced, diced and almost sautéed to a burn with no minimums, rock bottom asset management fees, with an attempt to capture the market share strategy.

This supply side audience is apparently the shale rock, and it has yet to deliver some more oil from the untapped pockets.

On the demand side, the pundits have yet to sit with the behavioral psychologists or the Customer experience guys. Most all are casting the bets on User Experience. I wonder what more can the pundits deliver.

The demand side yet, dares to inquire – Are the #millennials being served with the couture retail asset management fusion flavor which catches and captures their style, their fancy, their persona, their social diet.
The highlighted left side of the image (CC McKinsey) above is seemingly a blank slate.

The opportunity exists. As long as the unmet needs, mostly unidentified and undelivered, are set to a higher bar first, well thought of, well understood and applied, this time with a realistic #personas, experiences alone shall not deliver the forecasts.

Social Media Monetization Curve Alarm

A KPI to consider if the level of social maturity has been achieved, where upon Social Monetization is a firm possibility and execution is warranted.

Monetization Pursuance Initiative (MPI)  = # of positive non branded posts/total net *100

The % is likely going to be more for non-regulated, than regulated. In either case no one size, fits all.

Such a KPI forecast and a watch is sure to alert you, that the goal post is in view. Keep a watch.


Ernest Paul, Head of Social Media at Cigna developed the ‘Monetization Pursuance Index’ on the 24th of January a Key Performance Indicator index for Social Media.
This specific KPI allows commercial brands to determine if their social media engagement has achieved a level, in par with a level of Social Trust with the customer, and an environment for a monetary transaction exists.
The formula to calculate the Monetization Pursuance Index (MPI) is as follows:
Monetization Pursuance Index (MPI) = # of positive non branded posts/total net *100
There exists a greater likelihood for regulated industries to score lower. This should be considered quite normal. This is very much in line with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for regulated industries.
The % is likely to be greater for non-regulated brands as social engagement and trust is developed early.
The ‘MPI’ index serves as a watchtower to alert the brand that the social monetization goal post is in view.

Innovation – not talking drones – updated 6/24/15

I t is the innovation decade and sweetening of the e commerce value proposition continues. This time it is not drones.

Innovation often seems to emerge with a vengeance when outside forces encroach on industry revenue, as with legislation. There are few companies who see through this matrix and insert themselves early to solve, innovate and genuinely take a page out of Ideo’s book.

Digital innovation thankfully is not restricted by geography. With a billion plus strong users in China and plenty of capital influx there are some companies to closely watch, considered upstarts by some and frequently ignored by others. They are vehemently beginning to flex to connect the dots and making the experience simpler, nimbler and easing the customer journey.

Tencent, the 4th largest internet company behind Google, Amazon and eBay is attempting to marry messaging with Smart TV, along with a seamless payment solution; messaging to mobile to the living room with an integrated wallet solution. This brings social TV to a whole new genre; within one interface chat, watch and pay.

Can we put this on the watch list together? What would impress me is a purchase decision channeled by my brain wave (chip in my brain not an option); not to forget a confirm and accept prompt for my brain. I would not be pleased if my dreams were misread and during my morning jog I find a Lambo sitting in the driveway with a bow on it.

Keep me posted on efforts underway…I am optimistic.

Update July 2015

Close to a year ago I had written a post about Ten Cent, a messaging company in China.  There are a lot of Fin/Ins companies who have been behind the curve with social and digital transformation while a limited few finance & insurance companies have forged along  with  JV’s/partnerships and acquisitions type relationships

Close to a year ago I had written a post about Ten Cent, a messaging company in China.  There are a lot of Fin/Ins companies who have been behind the curve with social and digital transformation while a limited few finance & insurance companies have forged along  with  JV’s/partnerships and acquisitions type relationships.

Two observations from a year ago

  1. Ten Cent and like + (Socially & digitally transformed with mobile and tablet experiences in the cross hairs for millennials), these connected Fin/Ins companies’ are forming these collaborations and have begun to emerge in social and mobile. Kudos!!.
  2. Ten Cent is still a bull.

However it is an Alert! –  For global fin/ins companies to innovate with new demographically regional/state /country specific product designs which are uniquely positioned for the millennials. Innovation, Sales. Social + Digital Marketing + UX should have a  tighter bond.

Where is the ROI?, not the beef

I was going back in the time machine and recalling one of the jobs I had out of college with a degree in Commerce – working as a Cost accountant in manufacturing. It was a numbers oriented job working on the AOP, boring ledgers and keeping tabs on the monthly variances from paint to man hours. Development of the AOP meant precision. Every imaginable fixed and variable cost from power to man hours, from paint to parts would play a role into the projection. The past several years historical and cyclical trends and actuals would finally finesse the dreaded AOP. My presentation of the AOP to the boss blissfully matches the ‘woman sitting in the chair with the boss’ image accompanying this post. Notice the stiff arms? Well, that was me.

The following fiscal year would prove if the projection met the 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds test. I would track the variances monthly and would have a beaming smile some months. End of the fiscal year a minimal $ true up was all that was needed. It felt good.

Ok, enough of this accounting conversation. I am really a marketing guy inside, which I thank a mysterious unscheduled meteor shower.

Fast forward the time machine ## years to the digital, search and social marketing world which I thoroughly and passionately enjoy. I sometimes hear a whisper in my ear gently reminding me how crucial the ROI component is to the meticulously and creatively developed marketing campaigns we endeavor to run all year, for the enterprise.

It is a stamp of approval to the thoughtfully planned fiscal year ‘marketing roadmap’ as well as the ‘marketing plan’; providing the confidence to the business, and perpetual smiles for the marketing group.

There are indeed market variables abundant in digital, search and especially in the very dynamic social media ecosystem. An ideal world – each digital and social channel pumping real time analytics to the analytics hub with built in campaign ROI assumptions. These efficiencies help make the MOR’s robust and very KPI oriented.

Result = serving, understanding and knowing the customer in this omni channel world.

Shhhh, it is about attribution and ROI, not ROO (return on objectives) which seem to breathe new life into the next fiscal marketing year.

Upselling and beyond, a balancing act

Was thinking about sending some food stuff (online seller name, intentionally left out) to my sister whom I have not seen in a long time and do my impulsive ‘family good’.

I did a ‘food stuff’ search for a deal and promptly landed via an affiliate link, on to a ‘major food site’.

Still intent on proceeding and encouraged by a $39 deal, I, in mechanical fashion moved through to ‘Add to cart’ to complete the transaction. To my not so shocking surprise I was presented with an upsell for $39 + $ 19.99. Still enthusiastic with a Czech pilsner comfortably urging me on, with finger flickering hesitation, I waved myself through – ‘Why not, I feel the love”. I clicked on “Add”. Yes, I felt good.

It was at that moment that things began to unravel – an ‘Upsell and Beyond” deal popped up for an additional $79 ‘food stuff’ combo”. I was perplexed and confused. I almost had it in my grasp. Almost.

Could we refrain, and not get carried away with the ‘Upsell and Beyond’ selling strategy?. The Pilsner only works for so long. I had it and I lost it. I hate it when that happens.

I know I have not been a customer before with this ‘major food seller’, so predictive analytics, even with cookies would not have kicked in, perpetuating this unfortunate eventuality.

All in a Sunday afternoon, where I wanted to do a little bit of good. Alas, it is unfortunately no more. I ‘xed’ out of the browser tab. The moment had elapsed and my attention had shifted.