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Is it time to re-evaluate your ‘open platform’?

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/TechnoVectors)

The digital customer experience (CX) is high on the agenda of all companies seeking to differentiate their brand from the rest of the pack. Yet these advancements can boggle even the most tech-savy marketer. Alexa first launched on the Amazon Echo in 2014, a voice activated personal assistant which has revolutionised the technology industry. Who would have thought that an audio-only device could completely change the way an average person interacts with technology?

While the list of marketing technologies (martech) has grown rapidly, and the latest technology gives today’s marketers completely new opportunities for digital and data-driven communications, marketers’ jobs haven’t got much easier.  With the latest technology placing higher demands on the marketing department, businesses are unable to keep pace with evolving consumer behaviour and the marketing landscape.

Is technology integration the key?

There are an overwhelming number of marketing channels available and a brand’s success is becoming increasingly dependent on how quickly and effectively they can use these new channels, including voice assistants, mobile apps and AI based technologies – all of which are revolutionising the interaction between companies and their customers. Technologies that were once novelties are becoming strategic imperatives, but are today’s marketers equipped to embrace them?

Many marketers believe that because top marketing cloud vendors claim to have opened their platforms to integrations with the latest point solutions, they are well positioned to take advantage of these new marketing pathways. Scott Brinker explores the three trends driving the Second Golden Age of Martech; ecosystems, experts and engineers which are all changing the nature of martech. These three developments are made possible because so much of marketing technology is now turning to a cloud-based platform ecosystem.

Open Platform misconceptions

Open marketing cloud platforms allow marketers to integrate software from any of the martech solutions, providing a better customer experience and ultimately guarantee success.

Yet, while many of today’s marketing cloud vendors claim to be open to integrations,  this promise is often only fulfilled if you stay within their ecosystem - and that ecosystem is inherently limited and self-serving. Products outside of their network are met with hurdles that can stifle innovation and make the best tools for marketers impossible to use.

Many platform providers have vastly expanded the scope of their solutions in order to keep up with advances in technology. But are marketers selecting the best option available? Even the most prolific organisations can’t deliver the absolute best solution for every marketing application. This is why personalisation continues to elude top brands, which - despite vendor efforts like the Open Data Initiative - can’t seem to share customer data across technologies and touchpoints in meaningful ways. Personalisation is now becoming a top marketing tool, tailoring content to its intended audience. The number of options available to consumers can often be overwhelming but personalised marketing helps to bridge the gap between endless amounts of choice and the needs of consumers.

Why should marketers use open innovation?

Marketers have spent most of their careers within vendor roadmaps, but now is the time for marketers to embrace new technology and to venture off the beaten path. According to Brinker’s most recent landscape supergraphic, marketers have the benefit of more than 7,000 potential tools. What does that mean to you? Your marketing cloud “core” must be agile enough to accept any of them into the fold, at any time.

Leading proprietary marketing clouds have made a lot of progress toward their goals of allowing open data sharing and integrations across a broader landscape of marketing tech, but calling them ‘open’ is a misnomer that can have devastating ramifications for a marketing team that makes big investments only to realise later that it can’t deliver the experience their customers demand.  Implementing new solutions that automate simple tasks, streamline data collection and analysis, and even open the door to solutions that tap into the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence has become a strategic priority for all marketers.

Marketers have barely scratched the surface of open innovation. Yet as consumers become increasingly empowered and sophisticated in the way they make purchasing decisions, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand exactly what customers want, and then take those insights to develop and deliver an engaging customer experience.

There’s a lot to be excited about when looking at the future of martech, but there’s also a reason to be wary. In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, the tools a business uses can make or break its next marketing campaign – therefore it’s important that businesses are making the use of the tools which are available to future-proof its success.

Today’s landscape of digital platforms, extensive customer data and diverse marketing technology solutions can help to create an opportunity for marketers to identify, target and engage with customers. Marketers are now having to re-evaluate their strategies in order to create differentiated engagement experiences. In fact, open source marketing is an essential tool which is now proving to be more accessible than ever before and as a result, marketing is continuing to evolve.

Lynne Capozzi, CMO, Acquia

As Acquia’s chief marketing officer, Lynne Capozzi oversees all global marketing functions including digital marketing, demand generation, operations, regional and field marketing, customer and partner marketing, events, and corporate communications.